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Best of John Grochowski
Bally's U-Spin technology is a winner14 December 2010
When Bally Technologies showed off its U-Spin technology at G2E 2009, Bally was pretty sure it had a winner. It did. Since an April roll-out, more than 1,200 Cash Spin games have been installed.
At G2E 2010 in November at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Bally showed a number of U-Spin games, ready to follow up on the success of Cash Spin, the first in the line. The designated follow-up is called Hot Pick, and it's a game with a difference.
Like Cash Spin and all U-Spin games, it incorporates a video wheel that the player can spin by touching the screen, dragging and releasing. Keep your finger on the wheel and you can drag the wheel up or down — forward or backward, if you prefer. You can move it fast or slow, and when you finally release the wheel, the speed of its turn will reflect the speed with which you drag your finger.
That's kind of the same game play we've seen in Cash Spin, but there's a difference.
"In Hot Pick, we're enabling players to choose their own volatility," said Laura Olson-Reyes, Bally's director of corporate communications. "If they want a lot of time on device and frequent small wins, they can choose that, or if they like to bet more for the opportunity for bigger wins, they have the opportunity to choose that too."
The "choose your volatility" feature applies to the frequency of the bonus event as well as the prizes available on the bonus wheel. There are six levels of volatility available, represented by different symbols. When you go to choose, you can touch a single bar for the lowest volatility, with the most frequent bonus events and the lowest totals on the wheel. Touch a Wild symbol instead, and watch the numbers on the wheel change as the game shifts into the highest volatility level. Of you can choose 5-bar or various 7 symbols to pick a level in between.
Do you want a lot of chances to spin the wheel, or do you want the chance at a really big jackpot when the wheel comes up? You get to choose.
Bally is giving a few different looks to the wheel. On Cash Spin and Hot Pick, you basically spin the wheel up or down. Vegas Hits brings two wheels to the game, stacked high on its Digital Tower cabinet. You drag your finger up or down on an on-screen wheel, and the spin high above in the top box reflects your speed and direction on the screen.
And then there's Golden Pharaoh, a game with a wide-area progressive jackpot and a different kind of U-Spin. This time, you get a side view of a wheel, and instead of spinning up and down you're spinning left to right or right to left. Golden Pharaoh also includes another innovative new feature, the Directional Wild. When a compass-like wild symbol turns up on the video reels, a pointer rotates around the symbol. When it stops, it indicates a direction, and all symbols in the indicated path turn wild, leading to extra wins.
The main event, of course, is U-Spin, and regardless of whether you spin up and down, left to right, whether the numbers are on the side of the wheel or on the face, U-Spin is cool technology and a lot of fun to play.
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U-Spin was by no means the only cool technology at the Bally booth. The new iDeck turns the button panel into something extra. One physical button remains — Bally developers figured slot players still would like to push that button to spin the reels. The rest of the panel is an extra video screen. During regular play, you get touchscreen buttons for choosing how many lines and credits to play, a help button and a cash-out button.
At bonus time, the iDeck can be something else. It can bring its own randomly occurring bonus events — a feature Bally calls U-Win. On games under the OK Jalapeno theme — choose the Hot and Spicy game, or Mild and Wild — U-Win was set up to let players rub a magic lamp on the iDeck for bonus credits, or to touch the iDeck and spin a wheel.
On Betty Boop's Love Meter, the iDeck becomes an integral part of a bonus event. In the How Hot Are You bonus, images of hands appear on the panel. You place your hands on the iDeck outlines, and the outlines change colors a la the mood ring fad of the 1970s. Then a meter in the top box rises, from lovable to romantic to sexy to wild to smokin' and beyond. The higher it rises, the hotter your bonus.
With more than 300 games at Bally's Global Gaming Expo booth, there was something for every slot player's taste. The extras such as U-Spin and iDeck ramp up the fun.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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