Slot machine manufacturers are never averse to adorning their games with a little Hollywood glitz. Graphics, film clips, sound effects and themed game symbols and bonus events promise extra entertainment, and that’s half the battle in getting players to give the game a try.
The coming year will be no exception, with these hot new titles slotmakers touted to the casino industry in late September at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas:
- Iron Man from WMS Gaming has plenty of images, sounds and clips from the movie. Bonus rounds are iconic. Slot players will love seeing the Jericho missiles fired onto the screen to create winners. The playing field has 5 reels, each 12 symbols deep. The center 5x4 section is the bonus zone. You need the bonus characters to land in the zone to launch the bonus events. When Black Widow shows up, you want her in the bonus zone.
- International Game Technology introduced a couple of versions of Avatar. One was on the Center Stage platform with a huge dual screen overhead. It has multiple bonus features, including free spins, credit awards and scatter pays. Players can customize the games, change the sound and reel backgrounds, and earn experience points to unlock bonus events. You can create a log-on identity so you can pick up where you left off next time you play.
A second game, Avatar Treasures of Pandora, was shown in IGT’s Crystal Core cabinet with a 42-inch LCD display. video screen crystal core cabinet. The button panel also is a touch screen -- a dynamic button panel -- with one physical button called the Super Button. It’s a versatile device. You can push it like a button, move it like a joystick, even spin it around. I tried one bonus event, Willow Glade, where you could touch areas on the panel to move to different areas of the glade to make pick’em bonus selections.
- Back to the Future kicks off IGT’s Enhanced Content line with a concept that’s sure to attract attention from operators as well as players. Video slots’ peak popularity usually lasts only six months or so. IGT is moving to maintain popularity by building the sequel game into the original release. At first, only Marty’s Game will be available. But after six months, operators will be able to unlock Biff’s game. At that time, default graphics on a idle machine will be Biff’s game, but players will be able to choose either variation.
- Bally Technologies continually finds new ways to use its U-Spin technology, where you can touch a reel on the screen or on the iDeck virtual button panel and give it a spin. Titanic is all decked out in U Spin features. Bonus events are selected through a representation of the engine order telegraph -- the wheel-shaped ship’s control marked off in segments including stop, slow, half and full, For game purposes the segments correspond to awards and events. In a demo, a quick flick took me to the segment marked “Safe.”
That launched the Safe Bonus, which started with another U Spin, this time of the combination dial on the ship’s safe. It landed on a number for a credit award, than opened into a finely appointed ship’s room for a pick’em bonus. When you win big, the celebration includes the famous moment in the movie when Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson stands on the prow and shouts for the planet to hear, "I'm king of the world!" Slot-playing kings and queens also see coins flying across the screen during the classic movie scene.
- Slotmakers don’t ignore the small screen. Aristocrat Technologies turned to TV to debut its new Wonder Wheels series. Batman, based on the 1960s TV series, was a showstopper. Adam West, who starred in the series as Bruce Wayne/Batman, signed autographs at the Aristocrat booth while the crowds tried out the game.
Side-by-side machines each have a wheel above to spin for bonus launches, then one large wheel that serves both machines for the big prizes. Land on Batman or Robin on the first wheel, and it takes you to the big jackpot wheel.
Video and animation will take you right back to the days of the campy Caped Crusader. The Dynamic Duo climbs up the wall as bonuses mount. Along the way they confront old enemies -- Julie Newmar as Catwoman, Cesar Romero as the Joker and Burgess Meredith as the Penguin among them. It’s flashy, over-the-top fun.
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).