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Best of John Grochowski

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I love skill-based games!

13 November 2014

I’m not exactly the target demographic, but I’ll admit to being a sucker for slot machines with skill-based bonuses. International Game Technology has given us a number of skill-based bonuses in its Reel Edge series, including Blood Life Legends and Centipede. The latest is Race Ace, previewed Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Race Ace has a Mario Kart feel. You pick a car and character, then press a button on the console to accelerate, and use a joystick to steer your car around the track. Along the way, you can collect speed boosts, weapons to derail opposing drivers and shields to protect you from malevolent foes.

When IGT core games product manager Nick Nistler asked if I wanted to give it a go, I was game.

“It’s very easy to understand,” he said as I took my seat. “When you get into the bonus, you pick a racer and then you race two laps around the track.”

My rust showed from the start. I was right on the joystick, but gave the field a head start when I was a split second slow in hitting the accelerator. And once I got going, I spent a lot of time scraping walls and sending sparks flying.

I never did get to No. 1, but I was better than middle of the pack, picked up good-sized bonus, and had a lot of fun.

“This is a very niche type of product, and we understand that,” Nistler said. “Ideally, this would be placed in a high-traffic spot near a center bar, where young people like to be, or maybe outside a nightclub.”

IGT had dozens of new games on display, including Ellen, featuring images, video, animation and sound from Ellen Degeneres. There are two versions in the initial release: Dance Party, a 432-ways-to-win game, and 12 Days of Giveaway, a five-reel video slot with traditional paylines.

In one Dance Party Bonus, a stack of Ellen symbols on the first reel sends an animated Ellen dancing across the screen, adding more Ellen symbols as she goes for potential big wins. And in 12 Days of Giveaway, fans of Degeneres’ talk show will know the Wheel of Riches bonus before they even play – and you get to spin the wheel by touching the screen, dragging and letting it fly.

Among the latest Wheel of Fortune innovations is Power Wedges, where the players can see exactly what they need to do to be eligible for a big wide-area progressive jackpot. If you bet 100 or 200 credits, the video bonus wheel has wedges for bonus credits, but none for the progressives. Bet 300, and there’s one progressive wedge, bet 400 and there are two progressive wedges, and a max bet of 500 credits brings four jackpot wedges to the wheel. The bigger the bet, the bigger the jackpot opportunity.

For reel-spinning fans, there’s the new S3000 cabinet, a big leap forward from the S2000 cabinet that dominates current mechanical reel games. Each machine has more than 600 LEDs that not only command attention when the machine is idle, but which can be integrated into gameplay. The top box has a touchscreen that can be used for bonus play, and the LEDs and screens at neighboring machines can be integrated into one big light and sound show.

IGT says there will be 24 new games along with 30 legacy games coming to the cabinet in the coming year.


Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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:

> More Books By John Grochowski