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20 November 2014
By John Grochowski
Bally Technologies has had loads of hot slot machines, including some of the flashiest, most popular licensed themes to hit casinos in recent years. But Mike Trask, senior manager for corporate communications at Bally, isn’t sure he’s every seen something quite like Wonder Woman.
“We’ve had Titanic, NASCAR, Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, Pawn Stars and Betty Boop galore, and when you look at things like social media, I’m just amazed at how excited people are for Wonder Woman,” Trask said during our conversation at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. “There is just this extremely passionate base of people who grew up with that show. Lynda Carter [who starred on the 1970s TV hit] is such an icon. There’s kind of a Bo Derek-type way of everyone remembers being young and watching Lynda Carter play Wonder Woman.”
Wonder Woman already is in casinos in two versions, Wonder Woman Gold and Wonder Woman Wild, both on the advanced Bally Pro Wave cabinet, with its curved, concave screen. Both have three-level progressive jackpots, with rollover values at $10, $100 and $1,000 when configured for penny play. The minimum bet is 50 cents – a penny for each of the 40 paylines, plus a 10-credit bonus bet. The bonus bet enables event those who bet the minimum to be eligible for the progressive jackpot.
The biggest difference between the two games is in graphics. Wonder Woman Wild uses images and film clips from the show’s first season, which was set during World War II. The second season fast forwarded Diana Prince – aka Wonder Woman – and her paramour Steve Trevor into the 1970s, so Wonder Woman Gold has that ’70s look.
In a free-spin bonus, Wonder Woman Gold adds wild symbols, while Wonder Woman Wild uses wild symbols to randomly substitute when A, K, Q and J symbols land on the screen. Both have a choose your volatility option, so when you got to the free spins bonus, you can choose either more spins with fewer wilds, or fewer spins with more wilds. All the while, the “Wonder Woman” TV theme plays, and the video, animation and spinning reels make it multimedia fun.
Bally jumps from 1970s TV to the 1990s and 2000s with another new slot machine, Friends. It’s due out early in 2015 on Bally’s new Pro Theatre cabinet configuration. That puts two games on the Pro Wave side by side, then tops them with a 55-inch horizontal video screen.
The release of Friends follows close behind the 20th anniversary of the show’s first airing in September 1994. It’s has a wide-area progressive jackpot – think $1 million plus on multi-casino links. .
“This year is the 20th anniversary of the first episodes, so really cool timing,” Trask said. “People who were in their 20s and watched all 10 seasons and hundreds of episodes, they are now moving toward that true slot player demographic.”
“It plays like a Bally game, and we think that’s a good thing,” Trask said. “The game works off the wheel with our U-Spin play mechanic. So when players hit the bonus they will touch and spin the wheel on the screen. There are four free game features off the wheel bonus. Each is based on an episode of ‘Friends,’ and they are episodes people certainly will remember when they see them.”
You won’t always go to a free game bonus when you get to spin the wheel. Sometimes you’ll win credit awards or pick’em bonus events.
Also being released on the Pro Theatre configuration is Duck Dynasty. I’ve never watched the A&E reality series, but I did have a good time testing the slot machine, firing arrows onscreen for Willie’s Archery Bonus and casting with the guys in the Gone Fishin’ Bonus.
And then there’s The Blob. Based on the 1958 horror movie that starred a young Steve McQueen – then billed as Steven McQueen – The Blob brings thrills, chills and potential big wins to your screen. It’s another wide-area progressive game, this time on the Bally ALPHA Pro V 22/22 Hammerhead cabinet, with a 22-inch vertical screen for main game play, and a 22-inch horizontal screen on top to give it that hammerhead look. It’s a configuration has worked well for Bally on wide-area progressive games such as Jackpot Empire.
“The Blob” film has a place in Trask’s heart.
“’The Blob’ is kind of this cult classic,” he said. “People may not have seen the movie but they know the Blob. It was filmed in Phoenixville, Pa., and I have been to Blobfest, in my Pennsylvania era. Every year the theater in the area where it was filmed, just outside of Philadelphia, does Blobfest.”
During free game features the Blob can enter and attack. But the creature is no destroyer of bankrolls. It leaves behind wild symbols and bonus credits.
Said Trask: “You’re definitely going to want to see the Blob envelop your screen.”
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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