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G2E 2007, part 5: New slots from around the globe1 January 2008
Gaming is a worldwide industry these days, and so is providing the games people play in casinos. At November's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, slot manufacturers from around the globe showed off their own innovations in the games we'll be playing in the coming year.
Before we move on to developments in table games next week, let's take one last look at some of the new slots that'll be on their way to casinos soon:
ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES: Licensed in Nevada just six days before the show, "The Sopranos" was well positioned to make its mark on conventiongoers. A bank of the machines was placed in the Las Vegas Hilton, in the corridor attendees passed each day on the walk over to the convention center. It's an eye-catcher, with video of Tony and the boys in the top box and a five-reel video game below.
An Australian company and an innovator in low-denomination, multi-payline, free spin slots, Aristocrat burst open new possibilities with its Xtra Reel Power games. In the successful Reel Power games, players bet on reels instead of paylines, leaving 243 possible winning combinations.
Other manufacturers have copied that format, so now Aristocrat has kicked it up a notch. It's combined the Reel Power format with the five-reel, four-symbols-deep screen used in 50 Lions. That extra symbol per reel means Xtra Reel Power can offer 1,024 ways to win. All those ways to win give game designers a multitude of possibilities to offer high hit frequency along with plenty of volatility to bring players the free-spin bonuses they like.
ATRONIC: Before Americans had ever heard "Deal or No Deal," Atronic was on the bandwagon with a video slot machine based on the TV game show. It wasn't just a case of hurry up and wait. The Atronic Group, with home offices in Germany, comprises Atronic International, Atronic Americas and Atronic Systems. The international group was able to market the games to Europeans who had already seen the show, then take advantage of the popularity when "Deal or No Deal" came stateside.
At G2E, Atronic showed a new reel-spinning version of Deal or No Deal, part of its new Passion slots line. Atronic is well known for its video slots, but is new to mechanical reels. On the Deal or No Deal Passion reel-spinner, shown as a dollar game, the basic game is a three-reel mechanical, with a fourth reel activated with a maximum bet. That fourth reel brings multipliers and bonus rounds. In addition to a progressive jackpot, there is the famous Deal or No Deal briefcase bonus.
Atronic brought out some of its most popular titles in the push toward spinning reels. In addition to Deal or No Deal, Passion slot games shown at G2E included a new Game of Life theme along with Sphinx, a longtime hit on video slots.
Video slots remain a strong focus, of course, and on its ergonomic, large-screen eMotion cabinet, Atronic's offerings included Game of Life Getting Paid. The game is a rapid-hit, single-level progressive that includes a fun pick-'em style bonus round. Go to the round, and you can collect a "paycheck" for bonus credits or get a chance at the progressive jackpot.
ARUZE: A smaller company once known as Universal Distributing, Aruze showed off a unique "Rescue Pay" feature on games including "Frankie's Riches." With eerie horror movie-like characters and a "Where's the Ghost?" bonus round, Frankie's Riches is fun to play in itself. What sets it apart, though, is the Rescue Pay feature. If you don't hit a big payoff within a certain number of spins, you get money back.
On the Frankie's Riches version of Rescue Pay, a three-reel game with a fourth bonus reel that is hidden during regular play, 700 games at maximum bet without a pay of at least 30 times the max wager will bring a "rescue" payoff of 40 times the max bet. It's a way of keeping players involved and excited even during a dry spell.
CASINO TECHNOLOGIES: I'd never heard of this Bulgarian company before G2E, but it was hard to miss its booth. The Elton John impersonator at the white baby grand piano made it certain people would at least stop and listen, and maybe even have their picture taken.
When I went to have a look, I was greeted by public relations and advertising manager Rosita Stefanova, who was eager to show off Piano Roulette, "our hit of the show."
Most of the Casino Technologies games were five-reel video slots, but there, set into the top of the piano, was an automated roulette wheel. All around the rim were individual electronic betting stations. You could touch the screen to make your bets and watch the wheel spin. If your numbers came up, credits were added to the screen. If not, well, at least you could listen to Elton play and sing.
In a world of gaming, it seems, there's always room for something a little different.
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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Best of John Grochowski