I don’t really like slot games as much as I like other casino games. Admittedly, I like the art used in slot games, and I often like the designs of modern slot games, but the act of spinning reels and hoping for the best… I’m not particularly fond of. A person can perform significantly better in games like blackjack, based on how skilled they are. But, slot games are going to tick through the same statistical chances of winning, regardless if you happen to have two PhDs and a lifetime achievement award in slot game awareness.
The fact is, however, that slot games happen to be the most played both in the online and real world casinos, by a massive margin. In fact, casinos rely on slot games for about 80% of their revenue, which means that people sure are playing one hell-of-a-lot of slot games.
So what, I asked myself, is the appeal of slot games? They may not appeal hugely to me – although I do have some not-so-secret favourites – but they certainly appeal to a great deal of people, as they are the world’s most popular casino games by far.
The Psychology of Winning
I like winning. But then, so do you. In fact, there are very few people on earth, beyond perhaps monks who have shunned all concept of ownership, who do not like winning. It’s a concept that is hardwired into the human brain, and for very good reason. If we didn’t like winning, I daresay we would have gone extinct a very long time ago, around about the time a caveman surrendered to a sabre-toothed tiger, based on not particularly feeling like winning.
Winning comes with the basic concept of gaining something. Your life, in the case of the caveman, or perhaps a possession, say money, for the more modern caveman.
Interestingly though, winning and gaining something have become associated with a certain amount of fanfare in these modern days of technological and digital wonder. If winning, we expect some bright lights, fireworks, and an energetic melody. Else, how could we be sure we were winners?
Modern slot games do an incredible job of letting you know you’ve won. And, as already said, we modern Neanderthals do so love a bit of winning. Even if, in the case of slot games, we didn’t do much beyond tapping a spin button.
Now, I’m not saying that slot games are not a perfectly good way to spend a bit of free time. They can, and often do, pay out pretty good sums of cash. And, I love good sums of cash as much as the next person. But, let us never forget that a slot game is nothing more than pure luck boiled down, dressed up with lights and pretty colours, and made to appear as something more than just rolling a pair of dice, and hoping for the best.
But then again, I guess that may just be the appeal of the whole experience. I can’t deny that there is something very relaxing about being given a statistical chance of winning, and simply embracing it. Blackjack requires that you focus, have all your wits about you, and deal with the very real knowledge that making a bad decision will result in you paying for it. With your wallet.
Sometimes, some days, a person just likes to be able to sit back, let fate take the reigns, and tap a button marked “spin.” At least, should luck not have been on your side for that particular spin, you’d know that there is very little you could have done to change the outcome. And that, we all have to admit, is a pretty liberating and soothing thought.
Evolving Design Complexity
What’s most fascinating to me, personally, is how much time and effort can be put into dressing up slot games. They are all still nothing more than a spin of the dice. But, I would be lying if I said the ever more complicated and beautiful designs didn’t dazzle me.
The artwork and audio designs are absolutely phenomenal in some slot games, and knowing that the game is still, at its core, simply a mathematical equation ticking off, is mind blowing. It’s like taking a dice and painting an artwork the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel on each side, for no other reason than it made the dice look more appealing. Well, I suppose it’s more like painting the dice to look beautiful, and perhaps hiring a full orchestra to play enchanting music every time the dice roller managed to roll a seven.
At the end of the day, I’m personally still always going to pick blackjack or poker over slots, regardless of how beautiful they look. I will say this though; there are certainly worse ways to unwind at the end of the day, while taking a stab at winning a bit of extra cash. It sure beats the hell out of winning via having to wrestle sabre-toothed tigers.