Imagine you’re playing your favorite slot machine somewhere – Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau, London, Monte Carlo…
Suddenly, the lights on the slot you’re playing go crazy! You’ve won the progressive jackpot! Here comes the casino manager with a huge cartwheel of…chewing gum…!?!?
Spinning the reels on Slot City of Farm Casino on your Android, iPhone or Mobile, it’s so easy to forget the humble beginnings of your favorite Dragonplay game – slot machines, aka the ‘one-armed bandit’, ‘fruit machine’ (England) or ‘pokies’ (Australia).
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a car mechanic by the name of Charles Fey invented a game called Liberty Bell. This contraption, recognized as the world’s first fully-functioning slot machine, had three reels, with diamond, spade and heart symbols painted on each reel, as well as the image of the famous cracked liberty bell. Charles Frey developed additional slot machines, including the Draw Power, Three Spinde and the Klondike. He even invented the first draw poker machine in in 1901.
Early game machines gave out chewing gum as prizes. These chewing gums had images of the flavors similar to the symbols on the reels. In the early days, ‘cashing out’ in food was a common technique to avoid anti-gambling laws in several states, and therefore gumball and other vending machines were regarded with suspicion by the courts. Those were the days…
If someone would ask Mr. Frey, circa 1900, what the future of slot machines held in store, it would be difficult to imagine that he would prophesize that his invention would become so widespread, popular and profitable – to the operators.
In 1934, the first electronically-operated machine came along. It was called Paces Races and it featured a mechanical horse race. A mere 30 years later the first fully electronic gambling machine was assembled. Other electronic gambling games quickly followed including ones for dice, roulette, horse racing, and poker (Dale Electronics' Poker-Matic was very popular).
In 1975, the first electronic slot machine was built, yet the mechanical “one-armed bandit” ruled far and wide…until recently, when computerized machines slowly began invading casinos; buttons began replacing the levers and credits and club cards began replacing “hard” cash. Like the cowboy of old, the one-armed bandit is watching helplessly as his once seemingly endless territory is shrinking rapidly than a high roller’s bankroll.
As you can see, the slot machine has a long and illustrious career, filled with ups and downs – mostly belonging to the players, who, having not been paid kindly by the slots, paid back in kind by swearing, punching, even urinating on the poor machine.
So where does our tried-and-true bandit go from here…?
Amazingly, almost without notice, the world of slot machines has already been evolving rapidly:
RISE OF THE MACHINES…
The computer revolution (thankfully non-violent) has brought interactive play to new levels. TV and Movie-themed slots were introduced several years ago, allowing players to spin their way to riches while taking part of an immersive interactive story.
Video slots have invaded gaming halls everywhere, disarming the one-arm bandits from their…well, arm, as well as the standard mechanical reels which have been a stable in casinos since their invention, long, long ago. Have no fear, though: those bandits are still putting up a fight, and you’ll find them easily.
Video slots brings with them brigades of interactive features such as extra bonus games. Unlike the standard, ‘pull-the-lever’ slots, video slots allow the user to play multiple lines, so rather than simply taking the middle of the three symbols displayed on each reel, a line could go from top left to bottom right, or any of the other patterns specified by the manufacturer. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage to a player: while playing more lines gives a higher chance to win –you are usually betting more on the spin.
The popularity of slot machines became such that a wide variety of games in all shapes and sizes became available on home computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Slot City and Farm Casino are just a click away on your Android, iPhone or iPad.
With computer chips now installed in most gaming machines, it allows manufacturers to assign different probabilities to the symbols on every reel. To the player it might give the illusion that he ‘just missed’ lining up all winning symbols…
YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED…
One of the newest type of slot machines, and one which players are not too enthused about, is called the “server based slots.” These slots can be programmed by remote server in a number of ways, including downloading new games or restructuring payouts. And this is something players do not like: For years a myth existed among players that casinos could change the payback of a machine with the flip of a switch. They worried that the casino could tighten the machines during busy times such as weekends and then loosen them up to pay more during the week. With the new server based system this myth could actually become a reality as they can change the payback of the machines through the server.
ALL TOGETHER NOW…
The direction slot gaming is headed seems to point to something called community slots, another result of the “slot machine lab experimentation phase.”
Community slots consist of a set of machines each containing the same game. Each player is playing on their own machine but at random times there will be a bonus event in which all players take part. If one player reaches a bonus level, then the other players will enjoy the bonus as well. Other community-type slots might feature a sort of race, in which the first player to achieve a certain level wins the jackpot for himself.
So what will the future holds for slot machine players…?
The world of slot machines continues to evolve. The two key elements in the industry are social interaction, and – video games. With one eye on the social media and another on the successful video game industry, there is a good chance the future slot will combine elements of both. Well, if you and your friends have Slot City on Farm Casino on your Android or iPhone, you’re probably ahead of the game!
But why stop there? There’s lots of potential for slots games…
How about games such as Psychic Spinning, where don’t see the machine and have to guess where the reels land? Or Reverse Slots, where you can win or lose thousands of dollars on a spin? Or how about Fahrenheit 451 Slot, where not only you must play in scotching temperatures, but if you do win – you get a dose of flames under your seat. It would make a great experiment in how one can jump for joy and swear at the same moment. Then there’s fool’s slot – a slot that pays out in chocolate coins (amusing for stand-byers…but would you like to win 10K that can melt in an instant?). And of course, there’s the Jackpot Error slot, which demands the machine be unplugged just as you’re about to win that big progressive.
Until such games arrive, however (if such games arrive), you can continue to enjoy all the Vegas excitement at Dragonplay!