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Best of John Grochowski
The trinity of slot machines28 November 2013
Most of the biggest, brightest, sexiest games with licensed themes are revenue-sharing games. But the core games are workhorses. Most casino slot directors prefer that the bulk of their floors be filled with games the casino owns. To keep players coming back, the themes, graphics and, perhaps most important of all, the math models have to be right.
Here are a few of the new core games slot players can look for in the coming year.
Cool Jewels, WMS Gaming: In the next four of five months, WMS plans to introduce 34 games in its new Blade slot cabinet, which shortens the distance between its two high-resolution video screens, involves the player with direct and indirect emotive lighting, offers smoother reel animation and even brings video streaming capabilities to the slot floor.
One of those 34 is Cool Jewels, a cascading reels game where wilds next to each other lock and move down the screen together. In an exploding jewels event, the value of the explosions increases as the round continues. At the max bet level -- the only way to play when you’re testing the game for free as I was at Global Gaming Expo -- each jewel was worth 20 credits early in the round, but 500 at the end. That can make for some huge-paying spins.
Baby Dolls, WMS: Another new WMS concept is called Mega Symbols. In Baby Dolls, the game’s three characters are a rock band, with a blonde lead singer and two guitarists, one with red hair and one with blue. There are six reels, with the first and last being three symbols deep, and the other four each four symbols deep. When a Mega Symbol hits, it fills all four middle reels. In my test, the blonde singer Mega Symbol game up, and a single image of her face filled 16 spots. Mega Symbols games pay both left to right and right to left, so if you have the Mega Symbol, a matching symbol either on the first or last reel will bring a big winner.
Centipede, International Game Technology: The latest in IGT’s Reel Edge series with skill-based bonus events, Centipede has an old-school video game feel. In the bonus event, you use a joystick to move into position, then one of four buttons to fire at the crawling centipede, eliminating some segments for bonuses and sending the remnants on their separate ways. I did destroy the first centipede to move to level 2, but alas, could not advance again. I still got a nice bonus, and a lot of fun.
Winner’s Choice, IGT: Winner’s Choice. In a multigame extravaganza where players get four sets of reels at once, they can play the same game four times, or they can mix it up, even playing four different games. Available in the first release are Cleopatra, Treasure of Troy, Siberian Storm, Dazzling Diamond Queen, Super Lotus Flower and Wolf Run.
There’s a two-level mystery progressive jackpot, and some cool extra features. In one bonus event, a wheel shows the silver and gold progressives, as well as icons for each of the six games. You could win one of the jackpots, or you could win free spins on any game -- even one you don’t have active. IGT hopes that will introduce players to unfamiliar games, and maybe even make some new fans.
Jungle Riches, GTECH: Launching a new play mechanic called Trigger Tiles, Jungle Riches gives the background on each symbol a clay tile look -- until you start winning and shattering the tiles. On winning spins, the background behind the winning symbols shatter. One all tiles on the screen have been shattered, you go to a bonus event. You know just how well you’re progressing toward the bonus by how many tiles remain on the screen. And you’ll learn to love scatter pays when they eliminate tiles on the fifth reel that otherwise would stay intact until five-of-a-kind payoffs.
King of Bling: Iced Out, Incredible Technologies: The second King of Bling game, is a blast, with a couple of new features, One is Iced Out, triggered by diamond symbols on the first two reels. The diamonds are held, and everything else goes into respin mode. The diamonds dance, bounce, sway and spin in time to the music, and the tempo picks up as the wins mount. The respins continue as long as they bring more diamonds, which lock into place. The goal is to ice out the screen, covering it in diamonds.
The Bounce 2 Nite feature involves bouncing a flashy car. Touch the front left bumper, and it raises and bounces down with a crash, revealing bonus credits. Touch other areas of the car, and they bounce too. The awards are random, not determined by where you touch the car. Focus groups just liked making it bounce.
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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.
Best of John Grochowski