From Fruit Machines to 3D Video – A History of Slot Games
Published on by Adam
The satisfying tug on the slot machine’s arm, the blur of brightly coloured symbols and the thrilling clatter of coins that signals a win – slot machines have long been a ubiquitous part of casino gambling, popularized in no small part thanks to their depiction on the silver screen. But we have come a long way from the big, bulky machines lined up on casino floors. Today we will be taking a look at the evolution of slot games, from old school entertainment to cutting edge virtual technology.
The very first slot machines
The precursor to the slot machine as we would recognize it today was designed in New York in 1891. Sittman and Pitt developed a gambling machine that was based on poker – five drums held a total of 50 card faces and players would insert a nickel, pull the lever and hope for a good poker hand to spin into place.
Winners were not paid in cash. These machines were most often found in bars, who would determine what prizes were on offer. A pair of kings might win you a free beer, for example, while a royal flush might mean a free cigar.
Because of the large number of possible wins, it was nigh impossible to make the machine capable of an automatic payout, just because there were too many winning combinations in the poker-based game. This led Charles Fey of San Francisco to come up with a simpler automated mechanism, some time between 1887 and 1895. The new machine, called the Liberty Bell, had 3 reel in the place of the original’s 5, with a total of 5 symbols. This meant that reading a win was simplified and allowed Fey to develop a functioning automatic payout system.
Back then, the payout was not money but chewing gum. This is where those familiar fruit symbols come in – your prize was determined by whichever winning combination of fruit symbols appeared. The fruit, as well as the Liberty Bell, have remained popular even in modern-day slots.
As casinos carved out a home on the world wide web, so too did the games and entertainments they offered. Slots are particularly well suited to their new virtual home – computer code makes it possible to replicate the random element of games across websites, while the format lends itself well to new and creative design features.
You will find plenty of retro-inspired titles in casinos’ game libraries today – it is obvious that the allure of the old-school slot machine is still strong in this day and age. But there are plenty of interesting new slots to play too, with themes like luxury living (particularly in jackpot games) all the way to farmyard escapades, fantasy adventures and ancient mythology.
Updated features also make these games more exciting. Today, slots have wilds, scatter symbols and all manner of unique bonus combinations that make each game stand out in its own way, as well as increasing players’ chances to win.
Play slots online
NetEnt has proven itself a master of slots game development, releasing themed video slots regularly and to great enthusiasm from fans. Here are just a few of the many casinos you can visit to play video slots.
Try the brand new Ikibu to try your luck on Spinata Grande. Or perhaps head to the heavyweight Casumo, where you can do battle on Warlords: Crystals of Power. Blast off with When Pigs Fly at GDay Casino or enjoy that retro feeling on Fruit Shop at YakoCasino.