Ever since online slots arrived on the scene in the mid-90s, the genre has grown in leaps and bounds. Not only have thousands more games been created; they have also seen the introduction of a plethora of exciting features.
When Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in the late 19th century, it had 3 reels on which were basic symbols, and any winnings came in the form of hand-outs of one kind or another from the proprietor of whatever establishment in which the machine was installed.
There certainly were a few innovations introduced in the decades that followed, especially after slots were electrified in the mid-20th century. However, things got even more exciting when online slots started being developed, and the excitement has continued.
Ways to Win
Until fairly recently, all slot machines had paylines. Symbols needed to form combinations that matched those on the pay table by appearing from left to right on one or more of the slot’s paylines.
Now, however, you can find Ways to Win slots. Such games have done away with traditional paylines, and require symbols to appear on adjacent reels. They may feature 243, 1024, or even 3125 different ways in which symbols can combine.
Random Wild Symbols
Random Wilds were among the first special features to appear in online slots. Like ordinary Wilds, random Wilds can substitute for all other reel symbols except Bonus and Scatter symbols.
However, unlike ordinary Wilds, these symbols only appear on the reels once they have stopped spinning.
Expanding Wild Symbols
If you have ever experienced the power of expanding Wilds, you will know why they are such popular slot innovations. They can also substitute for other reel symbols, but the really exciting part is that, when one lands on a reel, it can expand to fill other positions on the same or on adjacent reels.
This could see you either form a better-paying combination, or land several winning combinations on one spin.
Casino software developers such as Microgaming have introduced Cascading Reels in some of their more recent online slots. When you land winning combinations on Cascading Reels, the successful combinations disappear before being replaced with new symbols.
If the new symbols form winning combinations, those will also disappear and be replaced with new symbols, giving you even more chances to win.
These are just a few of the innovative features now part of many top online slots, and there are sure to be more to come in the future.