Slot Machines

Industry leaders rolled out their new machines for the coming year at the end of 2005. Almost all the big offerings for this year are exploiting new video features and themes. “Video” is the big word this year.

Not all of these roll-outs made it onto the floor though, because when a theme used is deemed by the authorities to be too attractive to minors (for example, “The Simpsons” theme), the machine is banned. Not all of the new video slots that have just hit the casinos this year are based on movies or television however. Let’s take a look and check out the hot new slots in 2006.

Little Green Men
Brought to us by IGT, a hot up and coming new design company that is coming into its own right now within the industry after several years on the sidelines, due to its specialization in the application of video technology. After small forays into the market in previous years they just hit the jackpot with this big hit which can now be found in casinos far beyond Nevada.

The theme here is of course – you guessed it – little green men from beyond the solar system in a galaxy far, far away. There are two bonus games which is a new departure for an IGT-designed slot machine, and the now ubiquitous nine line win line feature is also there.

Jumpin’ Joeys

This offering comes from the Australian company Aristocrat and you would guess this from looking at the machine, because it has a kangaroo theme (“joey” is Australian slang for a baby kangaroo). Aristocrat has already had considerable success with two previous machines which just like this one also have animal themes.

Somewhat predictably, here the baby kangaroo acts as a wild card on the win lines, and the bonus round includes animated joeys happing around all over the place. The most interesting and unique thing about this machine is that it features twenty – that’s right, twenty – win lines.

Although in the U.S.A. it is still unusual to see more than nine win lines on a slot machine, twenty has been the norm in Australia for a while and industry experts think we will see the import of this trend. Bear in mind though, you will not see Jumpin’ Joeys in Las Vegas, due to licensing issues.

Video Yahtzee
Following the success of the Monopoly crossover to the slot machines, here comes Yahtzee, one of most successful board games of all time with fantastic name recognition in the crucial demographic group of gamers that matters the most in terms of profits.

However, this success is not based just on the crossover factors like name recognition. Players and industry experts alike agree that the Mikohn/Sigma team have created something really quite special through clever use of video and design. The machine features two yahtzee-style bonus games where the player is made to feel as though he or she is rolling dice by some nice animation.

Betty Boop’s Love Meter
This is without doubt one of the biggest hits of the year, even though this has come as a surprise because this machine has no video content at all and only one bonus game. The machine’s theme is of course the sexy singer Betty Boop and she is the factor that is doing the selling.

When a player wins on a reel, the bonus game flashes lights up and down a “love-o-meter” tower at the top of the machine, and when the flashing light stops on the winning prize the voice of Betty Boop rates the player as the prize is paid out. This machine is brought to us by Bally Gaming.

Monkey Business
This is just what we have come to expect from Anchor: a complicated and very attractive game with a big video screen and spinning wheels everywhere, creating a total environment which overwhelms the player and provides an intense and enjoyable gaming experience. There are also several bonus features that a player can win. A big success!

Reel ‘Em In Cast For Cash
This is part two from Williams, a successor to their original offering of the same name. The outstanding feature is a big double video screen, but it continues with the fishing theme and provides no big surprises. Comfortable to play and proving quite successful in the casinos.

Easy Street
This has a great bonus game feature that kicks in once you win. Casino bosses congratulate CDS on designing a machine that draws a lot of interest from players just on the strength of the bonus feature. When you get onto the bonus game, a video board lights up and you become a piece in the board game, you throw dice to move around the board.

If you navigate successfully around the board, you move onto part two after picking up some winnings. In part two your piece (Chance the Dog) drives down Easy Street with the chance to pick up further jackpots.

Who Dunnit?
This is a crime themed machine with a bonus that takes the player to the video screen of a fictional crime scene. Solve the crime and win the jackpot. It is not a big hit yet in the casinos but is performing moderately well for Williams.

Spin Poker
IGT in conjunction with Action Gaming have come up with a truly revolutionary slot machine here. It is, effectively, what can only be described as a slot machine version of a poker game. The player spins the reel and receives a line of cards which he or she can then treat like a poker hand, choosing which cards to retain and which to discard, spinning the wheel again in order to receive new cards.

Some casinos are reporting anecdotal evidence of poker players “crossing the floor” over to this slot machine even if they never played slots before. Another really interesting feature of this machine is the wide range of stakes allowed by players per bet – just like real poker. The machine allows single wagers ranging from a quarter of a dollar to two dollars.

Video Wheel of Fortune
Everyone agrees: players, casino executives, and industry journalists and other experts all say this is the hottest slot around. IGT finally hit the jackpot with this machine after making several unsuccessful attempts in the past to convert the “Wheel of Fortune” concept from the famous television game show into a video featured slot machine.

The smartest design feature is that on average over forty percent of all spins (and there are several within the game including bonuses) bring some sort of win for the player, and this is probably the key to its immense popularity. The game is really two games in one, each with a separate bonus system, which adds up to a very attractive package for the player.

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