A modern slot game is a pretty impressive thing, featuring high definition graphics, interactive soundtracks, and beautiful artwork. For the most part a modern slot game machine will likely look like your favourite mobile device, since a great many people these days play slot games online. Real world casino slot game machines are really just large electronic consoles, and most are no longer particularly impressed with them. They do what they are supposed to; play slot games.
There was a time, however, when slots games were an impressive piece of technology. They were, after all, not simple electronic consoles back in the day, but enormously complicated mechanical contraptions. In fact, if a retro slot game were taken to a modern day technician to be repaired, the poor mechanic would likely not have any idea where to start. And, interestingly enough, the further back you go in time, the more astonishingly complicated slot games were.
Retro Slot Game Technology
The first slot game was invented in 1891, utilising five drums with a total of fifty faces. Keeping in mind the era in which the machine was created, the device was a technological wonder. It utilised extremely delicate and intricate cog and gear systems, and although having a reputation for often breaking and being in need of repairs, the machine was surprisingly robust given how often it was used on a daily basis.
Of course, this early slot game did not pay out in coins, since this was beyond the capability of engineers at the time. Rather, if the slot game paid out, it was up to the bartender of the establishment to provide the winnings. And, the winnings were also not cash, but rather free cigars, drinks, or sometimes even free haircuts. It was not until later that the slot game design would be simplified, and start paying out cash automatically.
Automated Slot Game Revolution
Since this early slot game design meant that a bartender had to keep a permanent eye on the machine, advancements were obviously required. The next step was a simplified machine, using less drums, less potential matches, and allowing for automatic payout. Named the Liberty Bell, this design is often thought of as the grandfather of modern slot games.
The Liberty Bell utilised a matching system using recognisable images, such as the Liberty Bell, and horseshoes, as opposed to playing cards, as the first version had done. Many will notice that these same early images are still used in many slot games today, which is an amazing thought.
Failed Fruit Machine
Fruit is also a common theme for slot games, including melons, cherries, plums, and apples. The concept of using fruit is another thought up by our ancestors, and a tradition carried over to modern slot games. But why fruit?
It turns out that an early slot game design had paid out in chewing gum, as opposed to cash. The design was an attempt by some designers to dodge gambling laws in certain areas. The idea was that if the machine paid in gum as opposed to money, it was not cheating. The fruit images dictated which flavour of gum would be paid out, if matching.
Gambling laws were changed, including the strict rule that any situation where a person is paying money for an unknown result be classified as gambling. This meant the so-called fruit machines were banned, and removed from all establishments where they were feature. The concept of using fruit as matching images, however, remains to this very day. Another tradition passed down over a hundred years.
Modern Vegas Technology
Mechanical machines are no longer used in Vegas casinos, or anywhere in the world. And this is somewhat of a relief; given how often mechanical machines needed maintenance. As already said, Vegas is a strictly electronic world now, at least as far as slot games are concerned. But, the legacy of early slot games still exists, and present in many electronic slot game consoles.
When next you play a modern slot game that uses bells, horseshoes, or types of fruit, remember that this idea was born before you were even a twinkle in your parents’, and even, grandparents’ eyes.
Interestingly, however, many retro slot games have been revived for the digital era. Classic slot games have been ported, in their exact form, directly to the online casino world. Every image has even been perfectly recreated, down the smallest details. No easy task, that’s for sure, and a few modern slot game designers must have had one time consuming task.
So, these old, legendary games can now be played on your mobile device, exactly as they appeared in times long past. See if your favourite online casino has a retro section, and experience a bit of history in this modern golden era of online casinos.