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Slot Machine Games -- Background and History

Copyright (c) 2006-2021

Slot machine games have their modern roots reaching back to the late 19th century with poker machines and the 3-reel Liberty Bell slot machine. Both were the predecessor of video poker games and slot games as we enjoy them today. Even the plums, oranges, bells and bars on slot machine games we see in casinos all over the world can be traced back to that time period. And they began with the effort to sell chewing gum to the public.

Herbert Mills, owner of Mills Novelty, introduced the Liberty Bell Gum Fruit machine that was a gaming device with a gum dispenser attached to it in 1910. Mills had been making gum vending machines since 1898 so the Liberty Bell Gum Fruit machine was a natural transformation for him. The gum flavors that were lemon, orange, plum and spearmint were used as symbols on the reels. The bell, which was the symbol of the highest payout possible on the original Liberty Bell device created by Charles Fey, stayed with this version. The bar symbol was actually a picture of a stick of gum that came out of the packets of gum dispensed by the machine. In that same year, Mills came out with the Operators Bell device, which substituted a cherry cluster for the spearmint symbol. Even though the reel strips for the devices had a copyright by Mills, competitors "borrowed" the format. Other manufacturers such as Caille and Watling not only used this format, but added apples, pears, pineapples and strawberries to their versions. Eventually the English branded them as "fruit machines". Mills added the watermelon symbol to the reels in 1937.

Reel symbols catch the eye of the player, but why do people play slot machine games at casinos? People enjoy gambling for a number of reasons. For one, many like the fun of gaming regardless of whether they win or lose. Most enjoy this during vacations or on business trips. And winning while playing can't be discounted because people hope for some monetary gain in the short run at the casino. Plus the excitement of the casino adds to the reasons why people gamble. Sights, sounds, the presence of millions of dollars combined with lavish mega-resorts with exotic themes are in themselves a stimulating environment. Also, relaxation is a good reason as visiting a casino hotel can offer relief from the everyday stresses of life. Guests receive lots of pampering and get away from their daily routines during their stay.

Understanding the needs and motivations of players has stimulated slot machine game manufacturers to keep coming out with new and fresh ideas. Over the years, as technology evolved, so did their results. During the mechanical age (1890's to 1920's), the types of games available were variations in regular slot and draw poker machines. Very little did change over the next few decades for slot machine games.

In the 1970's, Fortune Coin led the change in the landscape of gaming by introducing the first full-color multi-line video slot machines and the first full-color video poker machines to the gaming industry. Solid-state circuitry began to replace the mechanisms of slots and allowed new games to be played. International Game Technology (IGT) soon after purchased Fortune Coin. The level of benefit and success of that acquisition is seen today as thousands of "Draw Poker" video machines were placed in casinos and bars throughout Las Vegas and other cities, capitalizing on the popularity of poker machine games that began in the early 1890's.

The 1980's saw a move from solid-state circuits to microprocessors, which allowed new directions for games. One was the giant jackpot carousels like the Hilton Hotel's "Pot-O-Gold" which linked machines together and created the opportunity to win million dollar jackpots. In 1986, IGT introduced a statewide "Megabucks" progressive slot system in Nevada which combined microprocessor-powered gaming machines with modern communications in order to link gaming machines across the state. This allowed players the chance to win multi-million dollar jackpots. With the 1990's, the multi-game machine came into being giving the player a choice of playing spinning slot reel games, a number of poker games, keno, and video blackjack on one single machine. Other advancements during this time period include:

  • Multi-hand video poker games like IGT's "Triple Play Draw Poker" which gave the player the chance to play multiple hands of poker in a single play
  • Interactive bonus games which have become standard on video slot games
  • Multi-denominational game play allowing a choice in the amounts wagered per game

    Today, gaming manufacturers are continuing to find new ways to heighten the player experience. At the time of this writing, Bally's has created the "Hot Shot Progressive" which takes 5 of their most popular slot games and places mini-versions of them on the machine. When the player gets the bonus round, they can play these mini-versions to have a chance to win up to five progressive jackpots on the same game. WMS Gaming has come up with a "Powerball" themed slot game in which a player can win up to 9 jackpots with one spin. And in the Blue Lagoon version of their "Hot Hot Penny" slot game, the player can play a free spin bonus that awards free spins at 3x pay, which can be infinitely re-triggered. Plus in the Hot Hot Penny mode, the bonus frequency increases by over 2x by re-spinning all non-bonus symbol reels along with receiving additional free spins in the form of bonus picks from 3 to 36 additional spins. These are examples of how slot machine games and their creators will continue an exciting legacy of innovation and creativity, giving players new reasons to come back for more.


    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Tom Howze is a webmaster for sites that relate to the World Series of Poker with resources for Free Slot Games and Online Casino Gaming.

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    Article Statistics
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    Total Views: 1701

    Article Rating: 2.25 of 5
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    Last Distribution Date:
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    Internal ID: #3854





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