Well, another Global Gaming Expo (G2E) show has come and gone. As I write this the event is almost four weeks in the past, but it already seems much longer to me.
Still, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s G2E. To be honest, I approached G2E 2014 with some trepidation, given the current state of the gaming economy (fair to lousy) and the recent spate of merger activity among the gaming vendor community, which I thought would somewhat dampen the overall mood of the show and maybe curtail some of the booth displays. I am happy to report that this was not the case. Sure, executives of the companies involved with mergers were understandably tight-lipped, but the atmosphere was light and the products featured in the booths were as plentiful and as interesting as ever.
And now thinking back on the event, I find that quite a few slot games still stick out in my mind. So without further ado or fanfare, here is my list of top slot products from G2E, in no particular order:
•Wonder Woman slots from Bally Technologies—I was 12 years old when the TV series on which this slot is based debuted, and remember it for what is likely all the wrong reasons (a suggestively-clad Lynda Carter). However, the colors and styles associated with the mid-1970s show translate really well to a slot machine format and the game was fun to play. Also, Randy Green, the publisher of this magazine, absolutely adores Lynda Carter. I don’t think I would hear the end if it if I did not include the game on my best of show list.
• Wheel of Fortune reboot from International Game Technology (IGT)—The Wheel of Fortune game has been around forever, a testament to its popularity and the great job IGT has done keeping the content fresh over the years. The company outdid itself this year showcasing the game in new formats and cabinets that allow the wheel to be larger, the colors more vibrant and the game play to be more interactive. I especially liked the new mechanic that replaces traditional slot reels and lines with mini-versions of the actual Wheel of Fortune wheel.
• The Arc and Behemoth cabinets from Aristocrat Technologies—The sheer size of the video screens on both of these cabinet formats (roughly 84 inches for each) made for a very memorable play experience. Add in the unique nature of the dedicated game content (I really liked the Game of Thrones format where the Lannister and Stark reels fight each other for dominance) and you have a winner in my book.
• Hammer Festival from Konami Gaming—An animated, blue-eyed monkey with a large hammer that batters down a stack of coins during the bonus round and can be recharged in a similar fashion to video games? What’s not to like?
• THE FLINTSTONES from WMS Gaming—I was a Flintstones kid growing up. The nostalgia element alone attracted me toward this game; actually playing the game made me a fan.
• The 3D game series from GTECH—Last year, GTECH blew me away with their Sphinx 3D slot machine. I wasn’t sure they could top that, but then this year they introduce four additional 3D offerings—Bejeweled 3D, Dreams of Asia, Aladdin’s Fortune and Dragon Temple—all of which feature even sharper and more breathtaking three-dimensional experiences than the original game. A job well done by GTECH.
So those are my top slot experiences from G2E. I apologize to all the worthy slot companies and games I missed, but that is the promise and the curse of G2E; everything appears to be a winner, until you turn your head and see something even more exciting.