Electric Or Magnetic Patents (Class 273/121A)
  • Patent number: 6149153
    Abstract: An automatic propelling feature for a pinball game having a playfield supporting a rolling ball and a plurality of targets thereon, comprises a propelling member, mounted to the playfield, for propelling the ball toward the target; a ball guide for guiding the ball to the propelling member; one or more sensors for detecting the ball along the ball guide; and processor circuitry, responsive to the sensors, for recording initial timing samples in a memory in response to the ball passing through the ball guide and being accurately propelled by the ball propelling member, operated by a player, toward one of the targets. In response to a predetermined number of the timing samples being recorded in the memory for at least one of the targets, the processor circuitry operates the propelling member based at least partially on the recorded timing samples and attempts to propel the ball toward the "qualifying" target in response to the ball passing through the ball guide.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 28, 1999
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2000
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventor: Lyman F. Sheats, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6059288
    Abstract: A ball locking device includes a plurality of posts arranged to retract into or extendabove apertures in the game playfield. In the extended position, the posts form a cage which confines a game ball therein. The posts are arranged, for example, in a circular pattern and spaced from one another at a distance less than the diameter of the game ball. A solenoid, in conjunction with sensing devices, controls the movement of the posts to capture the ball in play or to release the captured ball at an appropriate time during game play. The locking device is hidden from the players view when in its retracted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 9, 2000
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: John A. Popadiuk, John W. Skalon, Ernest Pizzarro
  • Patent number: 6047962
    Abstract: An amusement game includes a number of elements in a cabinet defining pinball play, including a playfield and flippers for propelling a ball onto the playfield. At least one control device operates the flippers and other features of the amusement game. The control device is manually engageable in at least two different fashions for producing at least two types of control signals. One of these types of control signals is for controlling the flippers and another of these types of control signals is for controlling other features of the amusement game.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventor: John A Popadiuk
  • Patent number: 5992848
    Abstract: A pinball machine having a vertically displaceable ramp play feature. The ramp moves between an upper position in which it does not interfere with gameplay, and a lower position in which the lower edge of the ramp rests on the playfield. When the ramp is in the lower position, balls can be directed up the ramp towards a suitable target, such as a raised playfield.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1999
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: John Krutsch, Patrick Lawlor
  • Patent number: 5944309
    Abstract: An illuminable ramp assembly for a pinball game having a playfield supporting a rolling ball thereon comprises an elongated molded plastic housing and a ball ramp extending alongside the housing. The housing encloses a power supply, a gas tube, protective end caps, and cushioning supports. The gas tube is powered by the power supply. To effectively suspend the gas tube within the housing and, at the same time, provide the gas tube with shock resistance, the protective end caps are mounted over opposing ends of the gas tube, and the cushioning supports are intermittently located along the length of the gas tube. The cushioning supports partially encompass the gas tube and are interposed between the gas tube and the housing. The ball ramp includes an entry end and an exit end. A switch capable of detecting the presence of the rolling ball is preferably located near the entry end of the ball ramp.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 31, 1999
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: John A Popadiuk, John W. Skalon
  • Patent number: 5938195
    Abstract: A serpentine ramp is rotatable about a horizontal axis between its center and its upper end to lift a pinball from a lower play surface to an upper play surface. A ball is directed from the lower surface into a ball receiving portion in the lower end of the ramp. This closes an optical switch causing the ramp to rotate between a receiving position and a discharge position. A ball disposed in the receiving portion rolls on the ramp to its upper end and then onto the upper surface. A second optical switch is closed by the return of the ramp to the receiving position which terminates the operation of the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 17, 1999
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games Inc.
    Inventors: Python Anghelo, Raymond Czajaka, Dan K. P. Lee
  • Patent number: 5924690
    Abstract: A drop target for a pinball game includes a movable target element operably connected to a target driver. The target driver is controllably movable in response to energizing pulses from a game controller. A releasable latching mechanism moves in cooperation with the target driver and, when attached to the target element, communicates movement from the target driver to the target element so as to move the latter between a raised and lowered position. The target driver in one embodiment comprises a single solenoid including a coil and a plunger concentric with the coil. The plunger and target element move to a raised position in response to the game controller applying an initial energizing pulse to the coil. Thereafter, the game controller maintains the target in its raised position by applying a variable pattern of energizing pulses to the coil.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Assignee: Williams Electronic Games Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas M. Kopera, Matthew C. Coriale
  • Patent number: 5915693
    Abstract: A game ball cradle is positioned upon the playfield of a pinball game. A player-controlled solenoid plunger mechanism "pops" a ball positioned within the cradle into the air. A wire form jump rope is rotatably connected to an electric motor. The jump rope is positioned so that when it is rotated, it will pass under a game ball that has been properly "popped" by the player. A switch indicates to the game microprocessor that the jump rope has completed a revolution. Optical detectors indicate to the game microprocessor that the game ball is within the cradle so that the electric motor may be activated and, upon completion of a successful "jump", the player's score incremented and the speed of the jump rope rotation increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 29, 1999
    Inventors: Peter J. Piotrowski, Brad D. Cornell, Dwight Sullivan
  • Patent number: 5913516
    Abstract: A play feature for a pinball game features a multimode target with a variable trajectory ball ramp. The multimode target features a pair of distinct targets mounted upon the playfield of the pinball game in a rotating fashion. The multimode target may be rotated between positions whereby each of the distinct targets is exclusively accessible by the game ball thus providing the pinball game with more than one mode of play. A variable trajectory ball ramp is positioned upon the playfield and is curved and banked towards the multimode target. A pinball properly negotiating the ramp may strike the multimode target so as to increase the player's score. The multimode target may oscillate and the distinct targets may feature a number of sub-targets as well as oscillating barriers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1999
    Inventors: Peter J Piotrowski, Brad D. Cornell, Dwight Sullivan
  • Patent number: 5890715
    Abstract: A pinball machine which can be electrically linked to other pinball machines to allow the machines to communicate. Features on the pinball machines are synchronized to make gameplay more attractive to players. Cooperative or competitive gameplay can be provided between the pinball machines, but achievement of goals on the two machines is synchronized to maintain similar gameplay on both machines at any particular time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 6, 1999
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: George A. Gomez, Thomas W. Uban, Thomas M. Kopera
  • Patent number: 5833236
    Abstract: A wrecking ball play feature for a pinball game includes a crane disposed upon the playfield of the pinball game. A wrecking ball is suspended from the crane by a cable so that it may be impacted by a game ball rolling upon the playfield. After being struck by the game ball, the wrecking ball swings in a pendulum-like fashion so as to strike targets near the crane, thus increasing the player's score. Alternatively, the wrecking ball may block a passage, the access of which by the game ball increases the player's score. The wrecking ball may be raised or lowered so that the pinball game features two or more modes of play. In one embodiment, the wrecking ball is raised and lowered by pivoting the crane arm about a pivot connection with the crane tower by way of a solenoid connected between the crane arm and the playfield. In another embodiment, the wrecking ball is raised by retracting the cable into the crane arm by way of tilting a crank to which the cable is connected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 10, 1998
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Barry Oursler, Dwight Sullivan
  • Patent number: 5806851
    Abstract: An interactive play feature for a pinball game includes a shooting position on an inclined playfield and a target spaced apart from the shooting position. A shooting mechanism is responsive to input from a player for propelling a game ball from the shooting position toward the target. The game ball normally follows a path of travel from the shooting position to the target when propelled by the shooting mechanism. A blocking member is movable to a blocking position in response to the game ball reaching a desired position, wherein the blocking member obstructs the path of travel of the game ball to prevent the game ball from reaching the target.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: George Gomez, Thomas M. Kopera, Thomas W. Uban
  • Patent number: 5797600
    Abstract: A pinball machine comprises a frame which carries a playfield, a chute and a driver for launching balls onto the playfield through the chute. A spent ball-receiving aperture in the playfield communicates with a sloped trough positioned under the playfield. The trough is of a length to hold a plurality of balls, preferably more than three balls. An upper end of the trough communicates with the aperture, while the lower end of the trough is positioned adjacent to and below the chute and the ball driver for launching. A solenoid or the like is positioned to vertically elevate the ball occupying the trough lower end, typically by striking it to cause the ball to fly to a new position in the chute for launching. Sensors are present to determine the number of balls in the trough. A microprocessor and other electronic means are present for actuating the solenoid or the like for vertically elevating the ball to the chute for launching.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: Sega Pinball, Inc.
    Inventors: Edwin Cebula, Joseph E. Kaminkow
  • Patent number: 5772205
    Abstract: A system for determining switch condition in an amusement device having at least one triggering switch is provided. The system comprises a first circuit for generating a first reference electrical signal, a second circuit linked to the at least one triggering switch for generating a first condition electrical signal, and a comparing circuit connected to the first circuit and the second circuit for comparing the first condition electrical signal to the first reference electrical signal and for generating an output electrical signal indicative of said switch condition based upon the comparison. Specifically, the output electrical signal will indicate if the switch is open, if the switch is closed, if the switch is electrically connected (wiring intact), or if the switch is electrically disconnected (wiring broken).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Inventors: Mark J. Coldebella, William Pfutzenreuter, Greg Topel
  • Patent number: 5772206
    Abstract: An amusement game having a solenoid operated rotating play feature. The solenoid comprises a bobbin having a bore around which is disposed electrical windings for use in creating an electromagnetic force and a plunger disposed within the bore. The plunger is linked to the rotating play feature and is movable in response to the electromagnetic force. The bore and the plunger are sized and arranged to allow the plunger to move laterally within the bore to accomodate the rotational movement of the play feature as the plunger moves in response to the electromagnetic force. An unhanded bracket is supplied to mount the play feature to the playing surface of the amusement game which is adaptable to carry a variety of end-of-stroke sensing switches.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Assignee: Capcom Coin-Op Inc.
    Inventor: William C. Pfutzenreuter
  • Patent number: 5741010
    Abstract: An apparatus provides interlevel play for a pinball game having an inclined playfield. The apparatus includes an elevated surface mounted above the playfield for supporting a rolling ball thereon. The elevated surface has an aperture therein for receiving the rolling ball therethrough, and a trap door is movable between a closed position and an open position. In the closed position, the trap door extends substantially the length of the aperture to support the rolling ball thereon. In the open position, the rolling ball is allowed to be ejected through the aperture and onto the elevated surface. An ejecting mechanism is also provided for ejecting the rolling ball from underneath the elevated surface, through the aperture, and onto the elevated surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 21, 1998
    Inventor: Mark Weyna
  • Patent number: 5707059
    Abstract: A pinball game is provided with a control system which enables a game player to choose between a novice mode of play and a normal mode of play. In novice mode, game play proceeds for a predetermined time, regardless of the number of game balls played and selected game features, such as the tilt sensor, may be disabled. Game bonuses and free games may be made unavailable in novice mode to encourage experienced players to play in normal mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1995
    Date of Patent: January 13, 1998
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Dwight Sullivan, Kenneth Fedesna
  • Patent number: 5700008
    Abstract: A game of skill, such as a pinball game is integrated with a game of chance, such as a simulation of a board game. A micro-processor based control system permits play of the game of chance when a player achieves game objectives in the skill game. The game of chance is played using random number selection to determine the "moves" on the simulated board game. The player may continue the game of chance until he wins the game or he may stop at a designated point and return to the game of skill. The game of chance simulation may include a plurality of lights arranged in patterns to simulate board game paths.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 23, 1997
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick Lawlor, Matthew C. Coriale
  • Patent number: 5673913
    Abstract: A pinball game in which an electromagnet is positioned on or below the playfield. A computer-controlled circuit is connected to the electromagnet and is operable to detect and control the pinball in response to changes in the magnetic field of the electromagnet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 7, 1997
    Assignee: Sega Pinball, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael D. Toler, Ward L. Pemberton
  • Patent number: 5664777
    Abstract: A play feature for a pinball game permits the storage of a number of game balls and release of the balls at high speed and in quick succession back onto the playfield for multiple ball play. A rotor element having a plurality of vertical vanes is disposed within a circular housing having a conical lip. The base and vanes of the rotor, together with the conical lip, define receptacles for receiving game balls. When a predetermined rotor speed is reached, the balls travel upwards on the conical lip and outward against an outer wall of the housing. The stored balls are conveyed successively to a discharge channel where they return to the play field at high speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 9, 1997
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Dennis P. Nordman, Winston H. Schilling, Edward F. Hicks
  • Patent number: 5664775
    Abstract: A ball-shooting game machine includes a vertical game board having a front side with a vertical partition member mounted thereon for dividing the game board into a game zone and a ball guide zone. The partition member has a distal upper end which is spaced from an upper edge of the game board. A magnetic ball shooter is disposed behind the game board and includes a magnet disposed adjacent to the ball guide zone, and a drive assembly for moving the magnet between a first position adjacent to a lowermost portion of the ball guide zone, and a second position adjacent to an uppermost portion of the ball guide zone. When a metal game ball is in the ball guide zone, movement of the magnet from the first position to the second position will result in corresponding movement of the game ball from the lowermost portion to the uppermost portion of the ball guide zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 9, 1997
    Inventor: Aqee Kao
  • Patent number: 5657987
    Abstract: A pinball machine is provided and generally includes a power supply for supplying unfiltered, unregulated DC voltage, a solenoid for activating a play feature device such as a flipper, a microprocessor for controlling game play activities, a clock associated with the microprocessor for supplying a first interrupt signal thereto, a memory device associated with the microprocessor having stored therein a plurality of duty cycle settings, each of the duty cycle settings comprising a predetermined pattern of ON and OFF states, a voltage detection circuit linked to the microprocessor and connected to the power supply for providing to the microprocessor a voltage value indicative of the level of the DC voltage, wherein the microprocessor utilizes the voltage value to select one of the plurality of duty cycle settings, and a driver, responsive to the microprocessor, connecting the power supply to the solenoid for controlling the flow of current thereto based upon a corresponding one of the states of the predetermine
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 19, 1997
    Assignee: Capcom Coin-Op, Inc.
    Inventor: William Clark Pfutzenreuter
  • Patent number: 5632482
    Abstract: The invention comprises a multilevel, vertically oriented pinball game arranged in a cabinet that occupies a minimum of floor space. Because the smaller game cabinet limits the depth of the playfield, a single horizontal playfield would not provide the play or challenge of a standard game. To overcome this drawback, the pinball game of the invention includes a plurality of vertically displaced playfields. The playfields are arranged such that the player plays vertically between the playfields as well as playing horizontally on the individual playfields. Each playfield includes a number of play features such that even though the game is contained in a smaller cabinet it will provide a typical number of play features. At least one player controlled flipper is provided on each playfield to allow the player to control the ball when on that level. A wide variety of ramps or other ball transfer devices can be used to convey the ball between the playfields.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 27, 1997
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventor: Python Anghelo
  • Patent number: 5611534
    Abstract: A metal substance detection system which comprises a matrix sensor (20) having a group of transmission lines (22) and a group of reception lines (26) and a signal processing system (170) which drives the matrix sensor for detecting the presence and position of a metal substance. The signal processing system scans the transmission line group and the reception line group; it sends a signal current to the former and receives a reception signal from the latter for detecting the presence and position of a metal substance based on the reception signal. If some lines of either the transmission line group or the reception line group are prespecified as unscanned lines, the signal processing system skips the lines of the corresponding line group specified as the unscanned lines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 18, 1997
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Ace Denken
    Inventors: Takatoshi Takemoto, Kazunari Kawashima, Shigeru Handa
  • Patent number: 5605329
    Abstract: A metal body detecting device having a sensing matrix (20) and a signal processing system (170) for driving the sensing matrix. The sensing matrix comprises a plurality of transmission lines (22) and a plurality of reception lines (26) arranged in rows and column respectively, and a wiring board (17) for supporting these lines. Each of the transmission lines and reception lines consists of a pair of lead wires formed of an outward path and a return path being in parallel each other. The pair of lead wires is connected at one end, and are used, at the other end, as an input and an output end of a signal. The wiring board includes a transmission terminal unit (23) and a reception terminal unit (27) and an area on which the transmission lines and the reception lines are wired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 25, 1997
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Ace Denken
    Inventors: Takatoshi Takemoto, Kazunari Kawashima, Shigeru Handa
  • Patent number: 5583435
    Abstract: A sensor of the invention has a plurality of transmission lines (22) being energized for generating a magnetic field, a board for supporting the transmission lines (22), a plurality of reception lines (26) being electro-magnetically coupled with the transmission lines (22) for detecting a magnetic flux change made by the approach of the metal object, and a board for supporting the reception lines (26). The transmission lines (22) and the reception lines (26) are made of conductive thin films formed on their respective boards having sending and returning paths. The transmission lines (22) and the reception lines (26) are laid out in a direction to cross each other with the boards between.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 10, 1996
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Ace Denken
    Inventors: Takatoshi Takemoto, Kazunari Kawashima, Shigeru Handa
  • Patent number: 5580052
    Abstract: The play feature of the invention comprises a planar surface which is rotatable above the playfield of a pinball game between a ball receiving and a ball discharge position. An electromagnet is attached to the planar surface. A ball detector, such as an eddy current sensor, is mounted to the playfield adjacent the housing to detect the approach of a pinball to the electromagnet. The magnet can be energized to suspend a ball from the planar surface which is then rotated to a ball discharge position where the magnet is deenergized to discharge the ball.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 3, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: John A. Popadiuk, John W. Skalon
  • Patent number: 5558327
    Abstract: A wand for a pinball game which carries a pinball from one position to another by electromagnetism. The pinball rolls along the bottom surface of the wand as the wand is rotated to move the pinball from one position to another. A platform is provided to orient the pinball with respect to the wand whereby side-to-side movement of the pinball is minimized.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 24, 1996
    Assignee: Capcom Coin-Op, Inc.
    Inventors: Bryan P. Hansen, Roberto Hurtado
  • Patent number: 5544880
    Abstract: A pinball machine comprises a playfield, a shooter for propelling balls on the playfield, and a figure having at least one movable limb. The limb is movable between a first position where the limb is capable of receiving and holding a ball, and a second position where the ball is propelled from the limb onto the playfield. A motor/solenoid and shaft are provided for moving the limb between the first and second positions to propel the ball from the limb, and then to retract the limb back to the first position. A ball delivery trough is positioned to deliver balls to the limb in the first position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1996
    Assignee: Sega Pinball, Inc.
    Inventor: John D. Borg
  • Patent number: 5533726
    Abstract: The improved player feature of the invention comprises an arm mounted for rotation about a vertical axis. An electromagnet is attached to the arm's outer end which is capable of suspending a ferromagnetic ball. Located below and along the path traveled by the magnet are a plurality of play features such as ramps, chutes, outholes and the like. A ball elevator is provided to bring the pinball to the electromagnet. The electromagnet is rotated over the play features. When the magnet is aligned with a desired play feature, the player presses a button to deactivate the electromagnet thereby dropping the ball onto the desired feature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 9, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Dennis P. Nordman, Winston H. Schilling
  • Patent number: 5529294
    Abstract: The lighted stand-up target of the invention comprises a housing attached to the playfield and a target switch pivotably mounted to the housing. An array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) are positioned on a printed circuit board mounted within the housing. The target switch is actuated each time that it is struck by a pinball. In response thereto, the LEDs are lit indicating the number of times that the impact target has been struck.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 25, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Dennis P. Nordman, Armando X. Zuniga, Steven J. Vornsand
  • Patent number: 5524887
    Abstract: A multi-directional ball popper for a pinball game provides an unpredictable path for the game ball as it emerges from the popper. A pair of solenoid plungers are provided on the underside of the game playfield and aligned with respect to the ball position when it rests in a recess on the playfield. A centering plate is provided to ensure precise alignment of the ball with both of the plungers. A switch is provided in the ball popper to detect the presence of the game ball. An optional guide element is provided above the playfield in order to guide the ball to one of two elevated surfaces after the ball emerges from the popper.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 11, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: John Trudeau, Edward F. Hicks
  • Patent number: 5518236
    Abstract: A play feature for use in conjunction with a pinball game having an inclined playfield over which a ball may roll is provided. The play feature includes a ball directing member defining an entrance pathway, a first exit pathway, and a second exit pathway. The entrance pathway is provided to direct the ball along a first predetermined line, the first exit pathway is provided to direct the ball along a second predetermined line, and the second exit pathway provided to direct the ball along a third predetermined line. At least one electromagnet is operatively associated with the ball directing member for causing the ball, upon activation thereof, to alter its course of travel along the first predetermined line to a course of travel along the second predetermined line. Optionally, a second electromagnet may be used for causing the ball, upon activation thereof, to alter its course of travel along the first predetermined line to a course of travel along the third predetermined line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 21, 1996
    Assignee: CAPCOM Coin-Op, Inc.
    Inventor: Robert S. Morrison
  • Patent number: 5516103
    Abstract: A ramp element is provided on the top of a drop target member so that when the target is activated and moved to its lower position, the ramp is accessible by the game ball and may travel thereover to reach elevated game features. A series of ramp elements may be provided in a row so that when all targets have been lowered, there is provided a ramp of increased size providing increased access to the elevated game feature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 14, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Patrick Lawlor, John Krutsch
  • Patent number: 5509655
    Abstract: The present invention includes a ball shooting mechanism for shooting a PACHINKO ball into a play field, a variable display apparatus capable of variably displaying a plural kinds of identification information, and a starting condition determining means for determining satisfaction of game starting conditions satisfied under such conditions that a coin is deposited and the like in accordance with manipulation of a start button by a player. In response to a determination output of the starting condition determining means, the ball shooting mechanism is driven and controlled to automatically shoot a ball, and the variable display apparatus is, after variation of display thereof is started, is controlled to be stopped so as to draw and display a display result thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 23, 1996
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Sankyo
    Inventor: Shohachi Ugawa
  • Patent number: 5507488
    Abstract: A ball diverter located in a ramp or other ball path is moveable between first and second positions and is used to selectively divert a pinball between two paths. The player uses buttons located on the game cabinet to control the position of the diverter and the path travelled by the ball. The mechanism for moving the diverter includes two solenoid coils which are arranged such that the diverter can be held in either the first or second position indefinitely without either solenoid being continuously actuated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 16, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Brian R. Eddy, Robert C. Friesl
  • Patent number: 5497994
    Abstract: A pinball game using a pinball adapted to be propelled along a playfield is provided. The pinball game includes a target mounted above the playfield and first and second movable objects mounted above the playfield which are movable between a closed position wherein the first and second movable objects are disposed substantially adjacent to each other and an open position wherein the first and second movable objects are disposed substantially apart from each other. A solenoid having a plunger movable between an extended position and a retracted position in response to contact of the target by the pinball. An arm rotatable about a pivot point having first and second ends displaced from the pivot point is linked to the plunger at a point spaced from the pivot point. A first link connects the first end of the arm to one of the movable objects and a second link connecting the second end of the arm to the other of the movable objects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 12, 1996
    Assignee: CAPCOM Coin-Op, Inc.
    Inventors: Bryan P. Hansen, Rick Morgan
  • Patent number: 5496030
    Abstract: A pinball machine is provided and includes an inclined playfield for supporting a rolling ball. The inclined playfield has associated therewith at least one flipper, an exit lane, and a drain hole. A door mechanism having a retractable door is positioned adjacent to the exit lane and a holding area is positioned behind the door for allowing a ball to be stored therein whereby the ball is prevented from continuing down the exit lane and into the drain hole. A kicker mechanism is also associated with the holding area for launching the ball from the holding area back through the exit lane and into the play area of the playfield. A first switch is positioned upon the playfield and is operable through contact with the ball for causing the door to move from a first position wherein the ball is prevented from accessing the holding area to a second position wherein the ball is allowed to access the holding area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 5, 1996
    Assignee: Capcom Coin-Op, Inc.
    Inventor: Claude A. Fernandez
  • Patent number: 5494286
    Abstract: An electromagnet is mounted beneath the playfield. Sensors, such as optical switch pairs, are positioned on the playfield in operative relation with the electromagnet to detect the ball and to produce a signal in response thereto. The microprocessor, in response to such signals, briefly pulses the magnet to accelerate the ball or energizes the electromagnet for an extended period to grab and hold the ball. When the ball is held, the magnet is thereafter deenergized and briefly pulsed to propel the ball on the playfield. In one embodiment, a plurality of electromagnets are provided along a ball path which are operated sequentially by the game microprocessor to move the ball from magnet to magnet in a stepped manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1994
    Date of Patent: February 27, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence E. DeMar, Edward A. Estes, Brian R. Eddy, Patrick M. Lawlor
  • Patent number: 5480149
    Abstract: The invention consists of a pair of flippers located adjacent the bottom of the playfield. A pair of ramps or other similar ball conveyors are provided where each ramp delivers the ball directly to one of the two flippers. A third ramp is provided that connects the first ramp with the second ramp such that a ball riding on either the first or second ramps can bypass the flipper associated with that ramp and be conveyed via the third ramp to the opposite flipper. Automatically operated gates control the access of the ball to the third ramp such that the game can control to which flipper the ball is delivered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: January 2, 1996
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventor: John Trudeau
  • Patent number: 5474292
    Abstract: A ball diverter mechanism for use in directing a ball in a pinball game having an entry path and first and second exit paths. The ball diverter mechanism comprises a solenoid having a plunger movable between a first position wherein the plunger is extended and a second position wherein the plunger is retracted, a first ball contacting surface linked to the plunger, and a second ball contacting surface also linked to the plunger. When the plunger is in the first position, the ball will engage the first ball contacting surface and travel under the second ball contacting surface to cause the ball to be diverted from the entry path to the first exit path. When the plunger is in the second position, the ball will engage the second ball contacting surface and travel over the first ball contacting surface to cause the ball to be diverted from the entry path into the second exit path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 12, 1995
    Assignee: Gamestar, Inc.
    Inventors: Python V. Anghelo, Robert S. Morrison
  • Patent number: 5465965
    Abstract: A rotating pinball bridge and drop is provided which comprises a rotatable cylinder with a hole sufficiently sized to allow a pinball to pass through. The cylinder is rotated by a drive member so that a ball may either pass through or be dropped from the ramp.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 14, 1995
    Assignee: Sega Pinball, Inc.
    Inventor: Norman R. Wurz
  • Patent number: 5464213
    Abstract: A toy simulates an arcade game. A compartment at the top of a box has a transparent bottom and contains game pieces that may be manipulated from a control panel at a front of a box. A mirror in the box reflects the image of the game pieces as seen through the transparent bottom. To play the game, a user looks at the reflection image of the game pieces while he manipulates the controls at the front of the box. Here, the game is a pinball machine in which the transparent bottom has a plurality of upstanding pegs which divert balls into random paths. Any balls which are caught by a manipulation of the controls are diverted into one scoring path. Any balls which are not so caught fall into another scoring path. The invention provides for releasing a selected number of objects at one time to change the required skill level to play. Also, by changing the direction in which the transparent bottom slants, different games maybe provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 7, 1995
    Assignee: C.J. Associates, Ltd.
    Inventors: James S. W. Lee, Chiu K. Kwan
  • Patent number: 5462276
    Abstract: An amusement device has a playfield and a backboard display. The display comprises a display wall having a first image carried thereon, plus a transparent display wall portion. A rotatable arm is positioned behind the transparent display wall portion. The arm is decorated to form an integral part of the first image. For example, the first image may be a cartoon character or other entertainment figure, with the arm depicting an actual arm or leg of the figure and pivotally connected at the shoulder or hip of the first image. Thus, an illusion of image movement can be provided as the arm rotates, typically in response to a predetermined event taking place on the playfield. One or more second images may be carried on one or more panels. The panels are moved between a first position behind the first image and a second position behind the transparent display wall portion. This movement may be coordinated with the motion of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 1994
    Date of Patent: October 31, 1995
    Inventor: Joseph E. Kaminkow
  • Patent number: 5452894
    Abstract: A wand for a pinball game which carries a pinball from one position to another by electromagnetism. The pinball rolls along the bottom surface of the wand as the wand is rotated to move the pinball from one position to another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 26, 1995
    Assignee: Gamestar, Inc.
    Inventor: Bryan P. Hansen
  • Patent number: 5449172
    Abstract: A target for a pinball game utilizing a pinball rolling on a game surface is provided. The target includes a single pallet having disposed thereon a first display and a second display. A mask is disposed in overlapping relation with the single pallet. A pinball activatable switch is used for generating a detection signal. A solenoid is used for changing the overlapping relation between the mask and the single pallet in response to the detection signal between a first relationship wherein only the first display is visible and a second relationship wherein only the second display is visible.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 12, 1995
    Assignee: Gamestar, Inc.
    Inventor: Bryan P. Hansen
  • Patent number: 5421576
    Abstract: A game machine for providing a game, the regularity of which cannot be easily recognized by the player, by making use of a chaotic random number produced by a random number generating means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 1993
    Date of Patent: June 6, 1995
    Assignee: Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Shunpei Yamazaki, Akiharu Miyanaga, Toshiji Hamatani, Norihiko Seo
  • Patent number: 5417423
    Abstract: The play feature for a game of the present invention comprises a multiple kicker ramp including a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal dividers which define parallel ball lanes and a plurality of perpendicular paths between the ball lanes. Balls enter the ramp from the playfield. A ball sensor is provided in each of the perpendicular paths, each sensor associated with a different point value. A multiple kicker element, which is activated by a player controlled switch, is provided in one of the ball lanes to direct a ball to the other ball lane over one of the perpendicular paths to activate its ball sensor. This causes the point value of the activated sensor to be added to the player's score.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 23, 1995
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Barry S. Oursler, Zofia Bil
  • Patent number: 5417422
    Abstract: A pinball game for creating an optical illusion in which a real pinball normally enters a saucer cup held on a stage during a first operating state, During a second operating state, the stage screens are closed and the pinball enters a lift mechanism held behind the stage. A false pinball is displayed in the saucer cup and is raised by the lift mechanism to create the illusion that the real pinball is floating in defiance of gravity. After the false pinball and the real pinball are in the loft area above the stage, the real pinball is guided to a ramp which returns the real pinball to the playfield.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 23, 1995
    Inventor: Bryan P. Hansen
  • Patent number: 5415402
    Abstract: The magnetic ball-walker of the invention comprises an L-shaped arm which rotates in a plane perpendicular to the playfield for transporting a pinball between first and second playfield surfaces. The arm carries an electromagnet on one end and a counterweight on the other, the counterweight maintaining the arm in a ball receiving position. In this position, a ferromagnetic ball received from the first surface can be captured by the electromagnet if energized. The momentum of the rolling ball causes the arm to rotate to a ball discharge position so that the ball can be discharged onto the second surface by deenergizing the electromagnet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 16, 1995
    Assignee: Williams Electronics Games, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert S. Morrison, Edward F. Hicks