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Everlasting slots

6 October 2009

It happens when players walk down the aisles of casino slot floors every day. A hot new game catches your eye. You give it a try — and you like it. You like the game play, you like the bonus rounds, maybe you have a couple of pretty good wins. You seek out the game each time you go to the casino. You become old friends.

And then one day it's gone, replaced by some flashy new slot with new bells and whistles.

But some slot machines transcend that. They don't disappear in a few months, or even a few years. There's staying power in titles like Double Diamond, Jackpot Party, Blazing 7s, games that keep their loyal following year after year after year.

These are the ever-lasting slots, the games that never go out of style:

Double Diamond, IGT: With its classic, elegant look, its diamond symbols and its jackpot multiplier feature, the three-reel Double Diamond slot machine has been with us for nearly two decades since its late 1989 introduction.

The format seems simple now, but it's led to a whole family of games. The Double Diamond symbol doubles winning combinations. Get a Double Diamond and two single bars, and you get twice the payoff of three single bars. Make it two Double Diamonds and a single bar, and you double the payoff twice — you get four times the payoff for three bars. And three Double Diamonds, well, that's good for the machine's top jackpot.

Double Diamond wasn't the first game with a multiplier, but it has had remarkable popularity and staying power. It's led to sequels such as Double Diamond Deluxe, a "nudge" game in which bar symbols with diamonds either drop down to the payline from above if the diamond points down, or nudge up if the diamond points up. Triple Diamond followed, as well as Triple Double Diamond, the video slots Double Diamond 2000 and Double Triple Diamond Deluxe with cheese, and recently a five-reel mechanical version of Double Diamond. And Double Diamond is frequently used as a base game on IGT progressive and bonus systems such as Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks.

Blazing 7s, Bally: Talk about lasting popularity. Blazing 7s has been with us since the 1970s. It was developed as a rapid-hit jackpot game, with 7s symbols on fiery backgrounds and a volatility that has proved so appealing to players that Blazing 7s in various incarnations has remained a Bally staple through electro-mechanical games to reel-stepper slots with microprocessors to today's video slots.

Jackpots come fast and furious on Blazing 7s, originally designed as a dollar progressive three-reel game. The top jackpot for three Blazing 7 symbols starts at $1,000, and the high frequency of payoffs means the jackpot usually hits before it reaches the $1,200 threshold that requires IRS paperwork. That's intentional — designers thought about that very issue as they worked on the math for the game.

Three-reel mechanical versions of Blazing 7s remain mainstays on casino floors, but you can also find seven-reel Blazing 7s games on Bally's CineVision wide-screen video games, and the five-reel blazers on the popular Hot Shot Blazing 7s progressives. And in the latest Bally innovation, putting multiple reel-spinning games on the same machine, Bally turned to its old standby for the Blazing 7s Multislot.

Jackpot Party, WMS: Find a game platform WMS has used, and you'll find a version of Jackpot Party. There's just something about the bonus round that says "party time!" The player picks gift boxes to tally up bonuses until a package containing a "pooper" ends the round. I've rolled up thousands of credits, picking winner after winner. And I've been crushed when the first box picked was some old party pooper, putting a rapid end to my fun with minimum credits.

It's all part of the game, and it's a game that goes on and on. Originally introduced as a three-reel mechanical slot, Jackpot Party played out its bonus round on the orange Dotmation screen that WMS put on many of its early mechanical games. On video, Jackpot Party has been amazingly enduring, still strong after a decade of play.

Reel 'em In!, WMS: The game that turned Americans on to the possibilities of five-reel video slots with bonus rounds was the original Reel 'em In! The bonus round was simple — the video screen changed to a scene of fishermen in boats, and the player touched the screen to select one to drop a line in the water. After a frenzy of splashing water, the angler would reel in the catch — the bigger the fish, the bigger the bonus.

Simple enough, but enduring. WMS followed up with Reel 'em In Cast for Cash, which added another video screen to the top box. Now you could not only watch your fisherman drop the line in, you could watch the feeding frenzy among fish below.

As WMS has built its Community Gaming line, it's gone a familiar route with Reel 'em In: Compete to Win.

And why not? For while some games are hits today and gone tomorrow, others have the right stuff to reel you in year after year.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski