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Best of John Grochowski

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New slots and veteran players

24 December 2017

Reaching out to new generations while keeping current players happy is a constant challenge for the slot machine industry.

Not every player is going to attracted to every game. Video slots with free-spin bonuses command the majority of play, but pick'em bonuses have a niche as do wheel-spin games, mystery progressives, community-style games and even three-reel games.

A developing niche consists of skill-based slots, with one innovative new example being Beat Square from Konami Gaming.

Beat Square, named Best Slot Product for 2018 in Global Gaming Business magazine's Gaming and Technology awards, gives extra awards for players who can keep the beat. Field tests in a limited number of casinos are expected early this winter, with a full rollout in 2018.

Instead of traditional slot reels, Beat Square has 16 buttons arranged in a 4-by-4 grid. Konami has a selection of modern, rhythmic music, and when you make your bet, buttons on the grid light up in time to the music.

Your task is to hit the buttons as they light up in rhythmic patterns. More than one can be lit at a time — you'll want to use both hands as you get in the groove. The more correct beats you tap, the higher your score and the bigger your win at the end of the round

While you're focusing on the beats, friends and passers-by can check your progress on a tall overhead display that includes a video stream of your hands as they dance across the buttons.

Video gamers will recognize a kinship to the non-wagering game "Dance Dance Revolution." That's a Konami game that's been a big hit on home gaming systems, and it points to a strength for Konami as it enters the skill-based gaming market. The company has a large library of hit home and arcade games with casino potential, such as the Frogger slots that were introduced earlier this year.

Beat Square will be available both for single-player and tournament play. It's a concept that figures to resonate most strongly with younger players, but older players up for a test of rhythm and reflexes can have a good time, too.

  • Konami also has been drawing on its library of home gaming favorites by adapting Castlevania to slot machine formats. Two new Castlevania slots, Labyrinth of Love and Ring of the Heavens, are on their way for the coming year.

The original Castlevania for home gamers is a series of horror-based action-adventure games featuring Simon Belmont, descendent of a family of vampire hunters.

Castlevania: Labyrinth of Love stays with the horror theme by taking you to a mountaintop castle on a stormy night. Through the symbols on reel spins and in bonus events — including a progressive bonus — you confront the undead.

Bonuses include free spins as well as battles inspired by the arcade and home games. If luck is with you, you can emerge a legendary hero and watch your credit meter mount as you battle monsters of the night and the undead.

Dedicated home/arcade gamers get an audio bonus: classic 8-bit music from the original video game.

Castlevania: Ring of the Heavens has an unusual symbol-driven progressive bonus during play on the main reels.

Among the symbols is a feature wild, and whenever it appears on the first and fifth reels, it take you to the Castlevania Feature. There, you follow the game's hero through a trial against the dark forces to see how big your bonus will grow.

These are games of chance, not skill-based like Beat Square. But there's a lot of flexibility and entertaiment in the Konami library.

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:

> More Books By John Grochowski