Issued October 19, 2004 to Konami Gaming, Inc.
Here is a fine example of how a game company can similarly participate in the "gaming" industry. Konami's patent is for a bonus wild in a slot machine. The slot machine has rows and columns, as one would expect. The apparent novelty of Konami's machine is that they have incorporated a “bonus” element where the slot machine recognizes the bonus indicator when present in any of the columns, and modifies all the game elements within that column to represent a wild game element, without modifying any of the game elements in other columns in which a bonus element is not present. That catch, as many of us have spent many a penny/nickel/dime/quarter/dollar learning, is that the bonus-to-wild modification occurs only if a wild character in any one of the cells of the column would result in a winning outcome to a sucker, errr, player of the slot machine.
A video gaming machine, comprising: a housing having a display device for displaying a plurality of game elements in a grid having a plurality of cells defined by rows and columns; a memory device for storing a pay-table; a game controller coupled to the display device and the memory device, the game controller being adapted to randomly select the game elements to be displayed in the display device, from a set of possible game elements, and to determine an outcome based on the displayed game elements, the pay-table, and predetermined paylines; and wherein the set of possible game elements includes a bonus element, and wherein the game controller is adapted to identify the presence of the bonus element in one of the cells of at least one column and to modify all of the game elements within the column to wild without modifying any of the game elements in other columns in which a bonus element is not present and only if a wild character in any one of the cells of the column would result in a winning outcome to a player of the video gaming machine.