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G2E 2007, Part 3: What's New at AC Coin?18 December 2007
With games such as Monopoly Big Event from WMS Gaming and Wheel of Fortune Super Spin leading the way, "communal gaming" has moved alongside "time on device" among the hottest buzzwords in the slot machine industry.
At November's Global Gaming Expo, manufacturers from around the world jumped onto the bandwagon carrying community-style games in which the slots become a social experience as players cooperate or compete in shared bonus events. WMS extended its Community Gaming line with the fun new Bigger Bang Big Event and Press Your Luck games. IGT added eBay and a smaller, five-player version of Wheel of Fortune Super Spin.
And right there in a booth jammed with shared-event games was AC Coin, known for its creative top-box bonuses such as Slotto, Bankroll, Popcorn and Seaside Fries.
Communal gaming as done by AC Coin usually involves a top box event on steroids, as in the Super Slotto game shown at the 2006 G2E. Instead of a top box with lottery-style Slotto balls labeled with bonus credits and multipliers, Super Slotto has a giant dome in the middle of a circle of machine, with oversized Slotto balls blowing up, down and around the dome come bonus time.
This time around, AC Coin extended the concept with a variety of communal games in a variety of styles. AC Coin has a working alliance with IGT, so the base games are IGT slant-tops, with the five-reel Double Diamonds game being the workhorse. The community bonuses, though, are pure AC Coin top box magic.
At the large scale --- though taking up less space than the IGT's nine-player Wheel of Fortune Super Spin, there was the eight-player Super Pirates Bonus Island, a seven-seas themed game with giant dubloons scattered around the floor of the center dome. In that dome, Slotto-style "cannon balls" gets the bonuses booming.
Others include smaller four-player pods. Sticking with the Slotto-style games, Mushroom Mojo is a four-machine grouping with a center dome covering a giant mushroom. At bonus time, the Slotto balls pop from the mushroom.
Not all is Slotto at AC Coin, of course. The company had a big hit several years back with Empire, which featured a top box with a King Kong-like ape climbing up the Empire State building to the bonus zone. In the community style Empire, the building is four-sided, and everyone can see the ape climbing for bigger bonuses.
The four-player pods are essentially four slant-top slot machines pushed together, each directly across from another. To fill the spaces at the corners and unify the whole, AC Coin has designed wedgelike panels, each with an LCD panel displaying game name, graphics and animation. It's an eye-catcher for passers-by, making everyone part of this communal games community.
In a different style of community gaming, AC Coin showed Slingo Bonus Deluxe, playing off its popular single-player Slingo games. Three slant tops are placed in a row, 9 feet wide, with a 42-inch plasma screen ringed with a lighted band overhead, for the Slingo-style bonus round. The bright lights and plasma displays make for an eye-catching display. The same goes for Super Big Game Show Bonus, with the game show round played out on overhead plasma. There's no missing these fun-to-play games no matter where they are on the slot floor.
Not everyone is going to play the communal games, of course, and AC Coin showed plenty of bonus fun on its single-player games, too. It put an IGT Double Diamond base game to good use in Diamond Time, complete with a Bankroll-style roller bonus round that creates an optical illusion.
"Watch, and tell me when the roller stops," vice president of sales and marketing Chirs Strano urged during one bonus round.
The lights flashed, the roller rolled --- and when the music and lights stopped, the roller appeared to move just a fraction longer.
"You can do a lot of things with lights," Strano said. "They're a huge part of the interactive experience. In Diamond Time, the lights are faster than the eye. The eye still sees the roller moving."
A couple of other games that caught my eye were The Masked Seven: Casino Hero and Here Comes the Ice Cream Man. Each has a 3-D effect in the top box. Masked Seven is a five-reel mechanical base game, while in the bonus the costumed hero rises up close to the glass to save the day from the criminals behind. Here Comes the Ice Cream man, shown with a three-reel, nine-line game, moves the title hero across the glass to point to ice cream treats bearing bonuses on the roller behind.
Layering that extra fun onto regular slot games is what AC Coin does, and does well. That the top box fun is morphing into center dome fun can only add to the excitement and variety and the casino industry strives to make slot play more of a communal experience.
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 email@example.com.
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