Every new slot machine has three missions. It must have a way to shout out “play me!” to any passing players. Once it grabs you, it must keep you in your seat. And it has to provide the fun that will keep you coming back for more.
Slot manufacturers have a deep bag of tricks to make all that happen. Exciting game themes, sometimes licensed from pop culture icons, progressive jackpots, free spins, interactive bonus events, music and video all are part of the package in modern slots.
How to best take advantage of the available tools? Thatâ??s where the slot designerâ??s imagination comes in. Here are some of their hottest ideas for 2013- games sure to command playersâ?? attention.
PIRATEâ??S QUEST, BALLY TECHNOLOGIES
Why youâ??ll love it: You have control as you take aim and see if you can shiver their timbers.
Weâ??ve seen Bally turn touchscreens into fully interactive fun with U-Spin in wheel-spinning games such as Vegas Hits, and now in U-Race in the new NASCAR game. In Pirateâ??s Quest itâ??s U-Aim, and you touch the iDeck to aim and fire your cannons at the enemy. Itâ??s a 40-line video slot that figures to be perfect for pennies, and it features a free spins bonus as well as the target practice. The big prize â?? 7,500 times your line five skull-and-crossbones symbols on a payline during the free spins feature.
PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES, SPIELO INTERNATIONAL
Why youâ??ll love it: The bonus event is fun akin to online social gaming. If you play on Facebook, you know the drill.
Spielo always has some fun takes on the slots, and I laughed my way through Plants vs. Zombies. Thereâ??s a three-level progressive jackpot, and a bonus event that lines up plants at one end of the graveyard, and zombies at the other. Can the zombies make it past the plants? It depends on which defenses come up randomly for the given round. In one trial, my poor daisy was no match for the oncoming zombie. Plants vs. Zombies comes from the casual games world under its new license with PopCap games.
BEJEWELED, SPIELO INTERNATIONAL
Why youâ??ll love it: If youâ??ve played Bejeweled as a casual game, this is your chance to test your skill with cash on the line.
Another game in Spieloâ??s license with PopCap, Bejeweled has three skill bonuses and three corresponding chance bonuses. Do you want to make your own choices, swapping adjacent gems to make groups of three while trying to clear the board? Or would you rather let automated selection do the trick? I find the skill-based play more fun, but thereâ??s no reason to be intimidated if youâ??d rather just let the slot results speak for themselves.
SUMMER DAYS WITH SIDE ACTION SCRATCH & WIN, MULTIMEDIA GAMES
Why youâ??ll love it: Every spinâ??s a potential bonus spin with a virtual scratch-off card beside the regular video reels.
Multimedia likes to give its players a little something on the side. Weâ??ve already seen slot games with a five-card stud poker hand on the side that gives you an extra chance to win on each spin. Summer Days kicks off the Scratch & Win feature, with a lottery-style video scratch off card. The Side Action technology scratches off a prize space while the reels are spinning, and very often thatâ??ll add a little extra scratch to your credit meter. Those who make bigger bets earn more scratch-off cards.
WILD A-GO-GO, MULTIMEDIA GAMES
Why youâ??ll love it: Expanding wild symbols grow into go-go dancers who bring some wild wins.
One of the most popular games Multimedia has ever had is Carnival in Rio. This brings the carnival back home and places it in the 1960s, with all the dances of the era. The dancers are in silhouette, just as in the Rio game, and cover a reel space from top to bottom as they shake out jerk, the swim and other â??60s dances. Youâ??ll want to get up and dance yourself to the winning beat.
MONEYBALLÂ® WITH INVASION FROM OUTERSPACE, MULTIMEDIA GAMES
Why youâ??ll love it: Full of fun bonus games like The Alien Attack and MoneyBall Pinball Bonus
Players can earn up to 2500X the bet per line in the Alien Attack! Bonus when five UFO symbols land scattered on the reels. The MoneyBall Bonus kicks this game into high gear, when three MoneyBall symbols land scattered on reels 1, 3 and 5. Players are awarded three shots on one of four differently-themed top box play screens. Players select in which direction they want their ball to launch at the top of the screen and watch as the ball hits pins, bumpers, multi-ball triggers, 3X fireballs, or a ball lock. Each shot will end up in a prize bucket at the bottom of the screen and award credits!
SMOKINâ?? HOT JACKPOTS TOP SHELF, MULTIMEDIA GAMES
Why youâ??ll love it: Watch as the flames get hotter and hotter with the Progressive Heat Up feature; see how close each progressive tier is to hitting based on the size of its flames.
Chase the progressives on this traditional style, 3 reel mechanical game. It features an 11-tier progressive and the new, ground-breaking Progressive Heat Upâ?¢ feature on an oversized top box. Top Shelf symbols are wild and getting one Top Shelf symbol will multiply non-progressive line pays by 2x. Landing all three Top Shelf symbols on paylines 1-4 will award the 2nd level progressive, and all three Top Shelf symbols on the 5th payline will award the top progressive! Top Shelf, for the classic players who like their drinks neat and their slots â??reelâ?.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, WMS GAMING
Why youâ??ll love it: The visuals and the synchronized motion effects bonus battle vs. the Green Goblin will get your Spidey sense tingling.
From comic books to TV to the movies, the Amazing Spider-Man has kept fans enthralled with its blend of adventure and heroâ??s angst. Now WMS is rolling out its Spider-Man slot machines, and the result is amazing. With WMS’ advanced Sensory Immersion 2.0 format with synchronized motion technology and CPU-NXT3 operating platform, there are some pretty incredible effects. During free spin bonuses, the effects chair is synchronized with film clips in an event that can have up to eight reel sets spinning at once, all collecting extra credits. And the highlight battle between superhero and supervillian is breathtakingly fun.
MONOPOLY LEGENDS, WMS GAMING
Why youâ??ll love it: The classic board game turned slot- get the bonus events from four other WMS favorites into a neat Monopoly package.
The â??legendsâ? involved are classic WMS video slots. In bonus events, you could find yourself taken to Goldfish, Jackpot Party, Zeus or Reel â??Em In. A spinning wheel tells you just what game youâ??ll be playing at bonus time. Bonuses from the other WMS favorites are given a Monopoly spin. If the wheel takes you to the Reel â??Em In bonus, itâ??s Mr. Monopoly out on a boat, dropping a line into the water as he fishes for you prize.
KNIGHT OF LA MANCHA, ARUZE GAMING
Why youâ??ll love it: Tilting at windmills â?? with a chance to win.
When trying this game for the first time, I couldnâ??t help laughing out loud when Don Quixote went tilting at windmills â?¦ and the windmill crumpled to the ground, stones, mortar and all. Sancho Panza jumped in triumph. Is the windmill supposed to lose? Thatâ??s just one of a number of bonus events that include both free spins and second-screen pickâ??em-style games.
THE MUNSTERS FAMILY PORTRAIT, INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGIES
Why youâ??ll love it: The special portrait feature builds extra excitement into watching the reels.
Instead of the standard five reels that we usually see on video slots, there are nine reels full of Munsters characters and icons, including the actors from the spooky 1960s sitcom. But only five of the nine are used to determine your outcome on each spin. Thereâ??s a five-reel frame for this portrait, and it slides back and forth over the full reel set. Wherever it stops, it frames the five reels that are going to count for that spin. Those reels are bright and in full color, while the other four are dimmed. For us old-timers who took math before iPads, or even pocket calculators. The effect is like a slide rule, using the slide to frame your calculation.