Well, I have just put another Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in the rearview mirror. If you count World Gaming Congress, the predecessor event to G2E, I have been to almost 20 annual gatherings of the best and brightest gaming minds and products in Las Vegas. I’d be lying if I said I could still distinguish one such gathering from the other.
Although I may find each G2E becoming more and more arduous (which I’m sure has a lot to do with my advancing age), I still find G2E to be informative, challenging and, yes, fun. I’m not just talking about the networking breaks and after-hours parties where having a good time is to be expected, even encouraged; I also find myself deriving pleasure from going to sessions and walking the constantly expanding and evolving show floor and seeing what is new and different and determine, at least to myself, if it is a trend or a flash in the pan, something with legs or an item that although full of sound and fury, in the long-run signifies nothing (yes, I just went all Shakespeare on this column).
Also fun is being able to write about the slot games I happen to find interesting at G2E, something I have done in countless October and November issues over the years. So without any further ado, here are a few of my favorite slot discoveries from 2015 G2E:
Frogger from Konami Gaming—There has been much talk over the past six months about skill-based gaming and how it may be incorporated into the slot machine experience. Initially at least, it appears that a number of slot vendors have decided the best approach is to borrow from the arcade experience of the 1980s. It may be a winning approach, if the new Frogger slot from Konami is any example. To be clear, this machine does not involve any skill elements as of yet. But what it does have is a pretty neat marriage between modern slot functionality and arcade feel and play. I especially love the way that during bonus rounds, an animated bulldozer pushes the slot-like game off the screen to reveal the graphics, symbols and movements of the original Frogger video game. And for all the angst over skill slot games, I also like the response of Steve Walther, director, product management-games for Konami, to the whole situation….that the technology, engineering, design, graphics and so forth of the modern slot machine are such that when skill games rules and regulations are finally settled and operators decide they want such machines, games such as Frogger can be easily adapted.
Spin Ferno from IGT—There are cries for a more social gaming atmosphere from various voices across the industry, yet one potential solution for this issue already exists in the form of slot tournament technology. TournEvent from Everi is undoubtedly the product most people associate with slot tourneys, but other vendors are also delving into the technology. At G2E, IGT showcased its Spin Ferno tournament concept for its linked S3000 mechanical reel slot machines. Considering the popularity of slot tourneys among older patrons, bringing the technology to stepper slots seems a good idea.
The Simpsons from Scientific Games—I always thought The Simpsons would make great fodder for a slot game. I’m happy to see Sci Games do such a wonderful job with the concept.
Downton Abbey from Aristocrat Technologies—On the other hand, when I heard about this, I could not imagine how this show could be represented on a slot. Big props to Aristocrat for figuring out a way to make it happen that works both stylistically and thematically with the English period drama.
Her Majesty from Everi—Every now and then a quirky game catches the eye, and for me this year it was Her Majesty from Everi, which depicts an Elizabethan era queen beheading courtiers and catapulting sheep projectiles at invading armadas. Long may it reign.