Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 237)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on December 13, 2013

U.S. Patent No.8,147,323: Gaming machine with visual and audio indicia changed over time.

JW Note: Wishing a Happy Holidays to all!  See you in 2014!

For more holiday TIW? from years past, click here.  

gamingsanta

What is claimed is:

1. A gaming system, comprising: a gaming terminal having a display for displaying (i) a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome selected from a plurality of outcomes, (ii) one of a first group of bonus games in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within a first time period, (iii) one of a second group of bonus games in response to the special event occurring during the basic game within a second time period, the second time period occurring after the first time period, and (iv) one of the first group of bonus games in response to the special event occurring during the basic game within a third time period, the third time period occurring after the second time period; and a controller coupled to the gaming terminal and operative to (i) associate the first group of bonus games with the basic game during the first time period, (ii) associate the second group of bonus games with the basic game during the second time period such that, during the second time period, the second group of bonus games can be played but the first group of bonus games cannot be played, and (iii) associate the first group of bonus games with the basic game during the third time period such that, during the third time period, the first group of bonus games can be played but the second group of bonus games cannot be played.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein, the first group of bonus games and the second group of bonus games include at least one common bonus game.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of outcomes includes a bonus-triggering outcome, the special event occurring when the randomly selected outcome is the bonus-triggering outcome.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period at a certain time of the day.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period as a function of a number wager inputs.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period after a determination of a favorite bonus game.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the controller is located external to the gaming terminal.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the controller downloads data sets for the second group of bonus games to the gaming terminal to associate the second group of bonus games with the basic game during further time periods after the first time period and the second time period.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the controller is operative to cycle between the first group of bonus games and the second group of bonus games.

10. A gaming system, comprising: a gaming terminal having a display for displaying (i) a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome selected from a plurality of outcomes, (ii) one of a first group of bonus games in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within a first time period, (iii) one of a second group of bonus games in response to the special event occurring during the basic game within a second time period, the second time period occurring after the first time period; and a controller coupled to the gaming terminal and operative to (i) associate the first group of bonus games with the basic game during the first time period, (ii) associate the second group of bonus games with the basic game during the second time period such that, during the second time period, the second group of bonus games can be played but the first group of bonus games cannot be played, and (iii) associate the first group and second group of bonus games with the basic game during a third period of time such that all bonus games from the first group and second group of bonus games can be played during the third period of time.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the controller is further operative to access a memory device storing the data set for downloading the data sets, the memory device being located remotely from the gaming terminal.

12. A method of operating a wagering game having a basic game that provides access to at least a first bonus game and a second bonus game, comprising: conducting, via a gaming terminal, the basic game during a first time period; in response to a triggering event during play of the basic game within the first time period, conducting, via the gaming terminal, the first bonus game but not the second bonus game; transitioning from the first time period to a second time period in response to predetermined criteria; conducting, via the gaming terminal, the basic game during the second time period; in response to the triggering event during play of the basic game within the second time period, conducting, via the gaming terminal, the second bonus game but not the first bonus game, the first bonus game being unavailable during the second time period; transitioning from the second time period to a third time period; conducting, via the gaming terminal, the basic game during the third time period; and in response to the triggering event during play of the basic game within the third time period, conducting, via the gaming terminal, the first bonus game but not the second bonus game, the second bonus game being unavailable during the third time period.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the predetermined criteria is associated with wager inputs.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the predetermined criteria is a certain time.

15. The method of claim 12, further including storing, in a memory device remote from the gaming terminal at which the wagering game is being played, a first data set and a second data set for producing, respectively, the first and second bonus games.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the first bonus game is one of a first group of bonus games and the second bonus game is one of a second group of bonus games.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein each of the first and second bonus games have different bonus game formats, the different bonus game formats presenting different player-selectable options.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the basic game includes a plurality of outcomes comprising at least one bonus-triggering outcome, the at least one bonus-triggering outcome being the triggering event.

19. The method of claim 13, wherein the predetermined criteria is a certain number of wager inputs.

20. The method of claim 13, wherein the predetermined criteria is a determination of a favorite bonus game based on a number of wager inputs.

21. The method of claim 15, further including downloading the first data set from the remote memory device to the gaming terminal, and downloading the second data set from the remote memory device to the gaming terminal.

22. The method of claim 17, wherein the different bonus game formats include bonus game themes indicative of a commonly known societal event.

23. A method of conducting a wagering game, the wagering game including a basic game and at least first, and second, and third bonus games, comprising: storing, in at least one memory device, a plurality of data sets for producing a first group of bonus games, a second group of bonus games, and a third group of bonus games; conducting the basic game at a gaming terminal during a first time period; in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within the first time period, conducting one of the first group of bonus games at the gaming terminal; transitioning from the first time period to a second time period based on predetermined criteria; conducting the basic game at the gaming terminal during the second time period; in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within the second time period, conducting one of the second group of bonus games at the gaming terminal, the first group of bonus games being unavailable to be conducted during the second time period; transitioning from the second time period to a third time period; conducting the basic game at the gaming terminal during the third time period; and in response to a special event occurring during the basic game within the third time period, conducting one of the third group of bonus games at the gaming terminal, the first group of bonus games and the second group of bonus games being unavailable to be conducted during the third time period.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the basic game includes a plurality of outcomes comprising at least one bonus-triggering outcome, the special event within the first time period occurring when a randomly selected outcome in the basic game is the bonus-triggering outcome.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein the at least one memory device is located within a gaming terminal at which the wagering game is being played.

26. The method of claim 23, wherein the at least one memory device is located remotely from a gaming terminal at which the wagering game is being played.

27. The method of claim 23, wherein the predetermined criteria is associated with wager inputs.

28. The method of claim 23, wherein the predetermined criteria is a certain time.

29. The method of claim 27, further including downloading, from the remote memory device to the gaming terminal, the data sets for producing the second group of bonus games to be played during the second time period.

30. The method of claim 27, wherein the predetermined criteria is a certain number of wager inputs.

31. The method of claim 27, wherein the predetermined criteria is a determination of a favorite bonus game based on a number of wager inputs.

32. A gaming system, comprising: at least one input device; at least one display device; at least one processor; and at least one memory device which stores a plurality of instructions which, when executed by the at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to operate with the at least one display device and the least one input device to: receive wagers from a player to play a wagering game having a basic game that provides access to at least a first bonus game and a second bonus game; display the plays of the basic game on the at least one display device during a first time period; in response to a triggering event during a play of the basic game within the first time period, display the play of a first bonus game on the at least one display device; display the plays of a the basic game on the at least one display device during a second time period that occurs after the first time period; in response to the triggering event during a play of the basic game within the second time period, display the play of a second bonus game on the at least one display device, the first bonus game being unavailable for play during the second time period; display the plays of the basic game on the at least one display device during a third time period that occurs after the second time period; and in response to the triggering event during a play of the basic game within the third time period, display the play of a third bonus game on the at least one display device, the first bonus game and the second bonus game being unavailable for play during the third time period.

33. The gaming system of claim 32, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period based on a certain number of wager inputs.

34. The gaming system of claim 32, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period based on a determination of a favorite bonus game.

35. The gaming system of claim 32, wherein the first time period transitions to the second time period at a certain time.

36. The gaming system of claim 32, wherein the plurality of instructions further cause the at least one processor to download, from a remote memory device, a first data set corresponding to the first bonus game and a second data set corresponding to the second bonus game.

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