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New machines unveiled

5 November 2015

A period of merger and consolidation among gamemakers led to a different look at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this fall. There was no separate GTECH booth after its merger with International Game Technology.

The Cadillac Jack brand was on display at the American Gaming Systems booth after their merger. Multimedia Games merged with the cash handling solutions provider Global Cash Access, and the combined company was rebranded as Everi.

One of the most aggressive companies around has been Scientific Games, which in separate transactions acquired two slot giants – Bally Technologies and WMS Gaming – as well as WMS’ sister company Williams Interactive and new table games leader Shuffle Master.

And, as it happened, the Scientific Games booth drew some of the biggest crowds of the expo with a show-stopper of a game, its new The Simpsons slot machine. Scientific Games knew it had a real eye-catcher – it was featured right at the aisle leading to the booth, where every passer-by was sure to take a look. And to celebrate, Homer and Marge characters handed out Lard Lad doughnuts – with sprinkles, of course.

The Simpsons is big and beautiful, loaded with features based on the long-running animated TV favorite. As the theme music plays, animation, clips and audio feature Homer, Marge, Apu, Mr. Burns, Moe, Chief Wiggum and plenty of TV regulars.

It’s all on the Gamescape cabinet that practically envelops the player in Simpsons atmosphere. Look straight ahead, and instead of one screen, you have a triptych – a main monitor for gameplay flanked by two narrower screens that provide show scenes and track your bonus event. Up top is a 40-inch top screen that curves back toward you. And the virtual button panel is a touch-screen display that integrates it all.

When a spin of the video reels bring the same character to the four corners, it launches that character’s bonus. It also changes the scene. In the Apu bonus, the top screen takes out outside the Kwik-E-Mart, while the side screens set the scene inside. The Homer bonus takes you to the nuclear power plant.

A motion sensor makes you part of the game. In the Homer bonus, to add multipliers and wild symbols, you start by moving your hand over the sensor to guide Homer’s hand to catch sprinkles falling off a doughnut. Then you go into a free-spin bonus.

There’s so much here that no one will be able just to pass by The Simpsons. Whether you play or not, you’re going to have to stop to see what’s going on.

  • Earlier this year, Nevada legalized full skill-based gaming. Just what shape that will take when implemented was a hot topic at G2E. Once regulations are in place, we’re likely to see both hybrid games with video slot reels but skill-based bonuses, and fully-skill based games that look nothing like today’s slots. Instead, they’ll more closely resembles game apps that appeal to the millennial generation.

Scientific Games showed Space Invaders, a slot-style base game with a skill bonus based on the arcade favorite. It’s a natural entry for the company, give that Bally has previously marketed games with skill-based bonuses under older regulations that allowed up to 4% of a game’s payback to come from tests of skill.

Under that regulation, Bally was one of the first companies to market skill-based slot bonuses in Pong and Breakout. Once the gaming commission sets new parameters, Space Invaders will give Sci Games an easy early entry into the market as manufacturers ponder how best to use the new law to appeal to younger legal gamblers.

Look for John Grochowski 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:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski