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Best of John Grochowski

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Winning slot machines

25 June 2015

Every spring, "Casino Journal" magazine, a leading resource for casino industry professionals, announces its awards for the 20 most innovative gaming technology products. Many are products important to casino operators, even if they’re nearly invisible to players. Galaxy Gaming’s Spectrumvision solution for detecting marked cards and Infor Talent Science, which uses predictive analytics to identify the right candidates for the right jobs, are potentially important to operators, but won’t grab a player and make him say, “Wow!”

But there always are at least a couple of player “wow” grabbers. This year, one of them is Twist & Win from Multimedia games.

Twist & Win can turn losing spins into winners – even big winners – by taking a segment of the screen and rotating it. Vertical columns can become horizontal rows. Currently available on a game called Sparkle & Shine, the Twist & Win feature soon will be incorporated into other Multimedia games.

Sparkle & Shine is a six-reel game, played on a grid six symbols across and four symbols deep. Symbols include gems, sparkly wilds, and A-K-Q-J-10-9.

An online demo shows a losing spin with a stack of three wilds as the bottom three symbols on the fifth reel. The word “Twist” to the left of the reels starts to shake, as do “& Win” on the right. A rectangle is drawn, four symbols across and two deep, enclosing the second and third symbols on reels two through five.

That rectangle is then rotated 180 degrees, and the two wild symbols that were on the fifth reel and now on the second, helping to form winning combinations.

The smallest possible rectangles to be rotated are two symbols across by three deep, or three across by two deep, but it’s possible for the entire grid to be rotated. Rectangles can be rotated 90 degrees in either direction, or 180 degrees.

Many of the rotations will bring small wins, but the big twist comes when you have a stack of four wilds or four big-paying gems. A 90-degree rotation could give you four of the big payers across the same payline – a nice surprise bankroll booster.

  • Another of the innovation awards went to a game I wrote about when it was introduced at Global Gaming Expo last fall, Konami Gaming’s Neo Contra with Symphonik 3D Sound.

The audio portion is a breakthrough in that it delivers surround-sound without the need for in-chair speakers. I can tell you from experience in testing the game, the sound is terrific – close your eyes, and you’ll think the helicopter is right there.

As for the game itself, Neo Contra is a five-line video slot based on Contra, Konami Digital Entertainment’s game of missiles, machine guns, helicopters and action that was introduced as an arcade game in 1987, then later found big popularity on home game systems.

In a pick’em-style bonus event, Konami has even built in the famous Konami Code, also called the Contra Code. In home video versions of Contra, if you entered up, up, down, down, left, right, BA, start, you’d get 30 additional lives.

In the slot version, when you’re running out of picks in the pick’em bonus, you’ll sometimes see an old-style video controller come on the screen. It’ll enter the Contra code and you’ll get more picks.

It’s innovative and nostalgic at the same time in a slot game loaded with extras. Neo Contra was one of my favorites at G2E, and it’s no surprise to me that the game is an award-winner, too.

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