The patent's inventors are
This patent was filed on
From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that will attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.
"One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a 'secondary' or 'bonus' game that may be played in conjunction with a 'basic' game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome in the basic game. Generally, bonus games provide a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and may also be accompanied with more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio. Bonus games may additionally award players with 'progressive jackpot' awards that are funded, at least in part, by a percentage of coin-in from the gaming machine or a plurality of participating gaming machines. Because the bonus game concept offers tremendous advantages in player appeal and excitement relative to other known games, and because such games are attractive to both players and operators, there is a continuing need to develop gaming machines with new types of bonus games to satisfy the demands of players and operators."
Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "According to one aspect of the present invention, a method of conducting a wagering game is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play the wagering game and displaying a trail including a plurality of spaces and an award value associated with one or more of the plurality of spaces. The method further comprises changing the award value based on an occurrence of a random event independent from the trail.
"According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game on a gaming machine is disclosed. The method comprises receiving a wager from a player to play a slots game and displaying the slots game including moving a plurality of reels having a plurality of symbols displayed thereon. The method further comprising conducting a secondary game when a predetermined symbol or symbol combination has been achieved during play of the slots game. The conducting includes (i) moving and stopping a plurality of bonus reels adapted to display a plurality of symbols thereon and (ii) displaying a game screen having a plurality of spaces that form a bonus trail. The plurality of symbols includes at least one award-value-increasing symbol. At least one of the plurality of spaces has an award value associated therewith. The method further comprises increasing at least one of the award values in the game screen in response to the at least one award-value-increasing symbol being achieved.
"According to yet another aspect of the invention, a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game is disclosed. The gaming machine comprises a value input device, one or more displays, and a controller. The value input device receives a wager from a player to play the wagering game. The one or more displays display a trail including a plurality of spaces and an award value associated with one or more of the plurality of spaces. The controller is operative to change the award value based on an occurrence of a random event independent from the trail.
"Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below."
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Keywords for this news article include: Entertainment,
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