FINDING A SLOT
by Paul Doocey
November 18, 2012
Plants vs. Zombies Gargantuar slot from Spielo International
At times, it was hard to distinguish
the difference between a Hollywood backlot and the trade show floor of this
year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, such were the number of
celebrities and costumed characters parading the aisles. Indeed, in addition to
the de rigueur Las Vegas showgirls and booth models, G2E visitors had a
chance to glimpse cartoon zombies, Oompa Loompas and stilt-walkers. Astute
observers may even have caught sight of one of the many television, movie,
music or sports icons at the show, a list that included Gene Simmons and Paul
Stanley of KISS, the Harrison family of Pawn Stars fame, The Hoff (David Hasselhoff) and boxer Evander
All or most of this cast of characters was at G2E for one primary reason—to promote themed slot machine games. As usual, G2E did not disappoint when it came to showcasing and unveiling the latest games and systems from slot suppliers large and small. Walk the G2E show floor long enough, and product and technology trends between the various slot vendors became evident. Below you will find a brief review of those slot technology and game trends that resonated among the editorial staff of Slot Manager.
Providing operators the ability to
easily and efficiently host floor-wide bonusing and tournament events appeared
to be a core object for many slot systems providers this year. One of the
companies leading the charge in this area was Konami Gaming, which unveiled
SYNKROS, the next generation of its successful KCMS casino management solution.
The more robust system allows gaming operators to connect, capture and control
customer interaction throughout a gaming facility, thereby creating more
opportunity to target market and improve player worth. Among the slot tools
offered by SYNKROS are true-time bonusing through its Super Series of multi-level,
multi-themed, floor-wide progressive community games; true-time tournaments;
real-time player communication through slot displays and windows; connectivity
to operator and patron mobile devices; electronic point redemption; and a host
of back-office functions such as security and alerts, cash control management
and advanced analytics.
Konami was not the only provider showcasing improved slot management systems and user tools. Spielo International’s GALAXIS management solution featured upgrades for its bonusing, marketing, communications, promotions, cashless and analytics functions. The company also introduced SYSTEM2Go, a complete lower-cost slot floor management solution alternative suited to multi-site club markets and smaller casinos. Bally Technologies licensing deal with NASCAR included the creation of a virtual racing application for the company’s Elite Bonusing Suite. This fast-paced, floor-wide community-bonusing event for iView and iView Display Manager (DM) brings the sights, sounds, and thrill of NASCAR racing to casino floors on any slot game, from any manufacturer, anytime—driving increased coin-in, new-card signups and carded play. International Game Technology’s Advantage, Casinolink and sbX give operators the critical tools for floor-wide management. IGT’s Universal Game Adaptor allows operators a seamless way to deliver the Service Window technology to legacy games. Game Applications and Intelligent Bonusing offer news ways for operators to differentiate themselves. Multimedia Games displayed its TournEvent of Champions, a new adjunct for its TournEvent 4.0 system that allows operators to hold and manage statewide slot tournaments.
The A560st Slant Top cabinet from Ainsworth Game Technology
Other companies emphasizing cabinets include ACS, which showed the latest touches to its AXCESS line, such as a new sound system for its 22V line and a 5x5 mechanical stepper that enables game designers to produce video-style games in a traditional mechanical-reel setup for its 32V series. Ainsworth Game Technology unveiled its new A560st Slant Top that provides state-of-the-art technology with its dual widescreen LCD platform, powerful Quadtronic processor, compact storage, premium sound system and an intuitive player interface supporting a 15-button play deck with a programmable button option. The Roadrunner platform from American Gaming Systems features an accelerated video frame refresh rate, producing crystal-clear graphics and superior game play. This platform also allows AGS to develop both Class II and Class III titles that will give players the identical entertainment experience. Incredible Technologies displayed an updated version of its popular Breeze Slant-75HD cabinet at G2E.
TOP BOX TWISTS
Peter & Wendy slot from Cadillac Jack
Crazy Taxi Fare 4 All from Aristocrat Technologies
Other attention-getting large scale games included Aristocrat Technologies’ Let’s Make a Deal from Freemantle Media in the new Modular Video Platform. Wayne Brady hosts this incredibly entertaining game as players trade prizes at the risk of receiving a Zonk. Aruze Gaming America continued to showcase its wall-length Paradise Fishing and Amazon Fishing concepts, which include Reel Feel Gaming Technology, as well as a “Choose Your Bait” option that allows players to attract the types of fish they want according to their own play style. Spielo International’s Deal or No Deal community game franchise was augmented with Deal Or No Deal Join’N Play 2, which features a community bonus that occasionally becomes a Super Bonus, where the top briefcases have their values doubled, leading to much larger banker’s offers and wins. Crazy Taxi Fare 4 All from Aristocrat Technologies is a new connected game. Players get more for their fare with four mini features, three time-triggered community bonus features, and five levels of progressive jackpots. Crazy Taxi Fare 4 All draws in players with premium product packaging, LCD buttons, overhead signage and a surround sound chair.
IN THE BUBBLE
Bally Technologies’ NASCAR slot
The past couple of G2E trade shows
have seen slot manufacturers introduce “skill” play to slots, mostly in the
form of arcade-style games such as rifle target shooting and skee-ball bowling.
Bally Technologies has taken the next step in this evolution, displaying games
at G2E 2012 that have integrated skill-game aspects into traditional slot play.
For example, Pirate’s Quest features a bonus round where the machine’s iDeck
turns into a device that allows you to aim cannonballs and sink enemy ships for
prizes. In Texas Dice, bonuses include the use of touch-and-flick technology to
either shoot targets or throw simulated dice.
Once again, popular video and mobile
games served as inspiration to many slot producers. Spielo International teamed
with PopCap Games, a division of Electronic Arts, to show slot games based on
three internationally recognized PopCap franchises—Plants vs. Zombies, Zuma,
and Bejeweled. With Sumo Kitty, Bally Technology utilized an Angry Birds-like
slingshot to help determine prizes during bonus rounds. Aristocrat’s Crazy Taxi
Fare 4 All is based on the popular Sega video game theme. SM
is editor of Casino Journal magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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