Slots and Themes
Twenty years ago, slot themes from well-known culture exploded. Couple of remain
By Frank Legato
When slot machines knowledgeable their ﬁrst genuine explosion in recognition in the 1980s, there had been no familiar themes to the games. The vast majority of games back then were 3-reel, single-line mechanical reel-spinners. Some of them had distinctive titles, but absolutely nothing inside the game reﬂected a brand or theme. You pulled the manage, the reels went around, and you won or lost.
The ﬁrst brands that actually connected to the game play reﬂected specific characteristics of the games. Bally’s Blazing 7s had a number of winning “7” combinations. IGT’s Double Diamond had diamond- shaped wild symbols that doubled the jackpot.
It wasn’t till the release of IGT’s Wheel of Fortune in 1996 that slots began to reﬂect a theme from popular culture. The base games were those very same Double Diamond or other popular themes. But the bonus wheel—accompanied by the “Wheel… of… Fortune!” audience chant from the Television game show—drew players like wildﬁre.
In the decade that followed, well-liked-culture themes were all the rage in the slot-machine company. The Beverly Hillbillies. Gilligan’s Island. MAS*H. Ghostbusters. Sex and the City.
All of these games drew from the shows or motion pictures on which the theme was based, mainly by taking an element of the well-known ﬁlm or show and making use of it to type a bonus round. But handful of of the games listed above have survived, partly simply because after the novelty of the characters or sequences of the bonus events wore oﬀ, the bonuses were quite considerably like bonuses of any other games.
Some well-known culture themes, of course, have stood the test of time. Light & Wonder’s Monopoly franchise has milked the legendary board game for new iterations considering that it was ﬁrst launched by the company’s legacy manufacturer WMS Gaming, and the company introduces a new iteration of this theme—which could be the perfect theme for a slot—just about every single year.
The identical can be mentioned of the manufacturer’s Willy Wonka series of games. And just look at The Wizard of Oz. It seems there are a lot more iterations of slot games mining the wealthy elements of the 1939 MGM classic than one can count.
Aristocrat’s The Walking Dead series is an additional that has continued to crank out new versions, every with inventive new bonuses, year right after year. The very same can be mentioned of that manufacturer’s Game of Thrones series, which has a version for just about each season of the fantasy show.
And of course, IGT’s Wheel of Fortune just wrapped up its 25th anniversary year as a slot theme, with no much less than 3 new versions of the game introduced last year.
There are nonetheless new popular culture themes being launched that show guarantee of such longevity. Aristocrat’s take on Crazy Wealthy Asians could be a lengthy-lasting game franchise. Everi’s Hot Stuﬀ franchise will continue to mine the common devil comic-book character.
Even so, by and massive, the new games reﬂecting ﬁlms, Tv shows or other aspects of well-liked culture are the very same franchises that have confirmed themselves to be well-liked. In other words, Wheel of Fortune, Willy Wonka and the other games highlighted above.
New requires on well-known culture have all but dried up amongst today’s new slots. What has taken their spot in the marketplace are the most common proprietary themes from each and every manufacturer. Aristocrat’s Buﬀalo game group has been arguably the most well-known slot theme on any casino ﬂoor for years. Similar longevity has been observed by Light & Wonder’s Asian-themed 88 Fortunes game group.
Or IGT’s Cleopatra, or Stinkin’ Wealthy, or Lucky Larry’s Lobstermania. IGT, in truth, has been among the most effective slotmakers at revising and reviving glorious themes from its previous, if only simply because of the wealth of titles that poured from the firm in the early 2000s, when upward of 70 % of the games sold in the U.S. were IGT themes. Most not too long ago, the company has revived Prime Dollar, a truly excellent slot theme that has survived for decades.
Prime Dollar meticulously reproduces the exact game from the 1990s—a modern day, electronic version of a game with a bonus that originally ﬂashed lights behind bonuses presented as cash on a silk- screened glass prime box. Nevertheless, most new versions of the classic themes utilize the most well-known game characteristics of today’s slot ﬂoor.
Most have some version of the hold-and-re-spin game mechanic that ﬁrst appeared in Aristocrat’s Lightning Hyperlink. Most have “cash-on-reels” symbols, each reﬂecting bonus amounts in the “what-you- see-is-what-you get” technique. Most have free-game bonuses. And, most combine two or far more of these characteristics.
But the winning themes survive, and they’re based not on popular culture, but on the genius of the game designers.
Some newer themes that show promise to last a long time consist of Rakin’ Bacon! from AGS, Cashnado from Everi, Pop’n Pays from Gaming Arts, Crazy Money from Extraordinary Technologies, Fortunate Envelope from Konami… The list goes on.
But in the finish, the slot theme has evolved into reviving what players have shown they really like, and then reviving it again and once again.
Players appreciate what is familiar to them. Slot-makers have responded.
SLOT MANUFACTURER RAMPS UP THE VIDEO VIBES
Aristocrat Gaming recently took its slot oﬀerings to a entirely diﬀerent venue. The slot manufacturer announced a partnership with Fremont Street Expertise in April. The deal will see the six-block entertainment district situated in historic downtown Las Vegas feature the company’s biggest game themes. A special video is now featured on Fremont’s 136,000-square-foot canopy.
“At Aristocrat, we go large for our consumers and with invitations to play,” Aristocrat Americas President Tommy O’Brien said. “We bring the biggest brands, the greatest games, and the best cabinets with each other to produce memorable gaming experiences as opposed to anything else in the market. Now, we are bringing our most well-liked games to this bigger-than-life format, and what far better way to continue to tell that story than with the Fremont Street Experience.”
The launch attributes fan favored characters entertaining players from the screen to the gaming ﬂoor, taking complete benefit of the canopy’s 1,500-foot length. All videos finish with an invitation to play the games at any of the eight Fremont casinos: Binion’s, California, Circa, the D, 4 Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate and Golden Nugget.