In modern land-based, online and mobile casinos, slot games are almost always the essential lifeblood. They can generate up to 80% of the total revenue of an establishment, and tend to make up the bulk of the games on offer.
The instant action and potentially massive rewards that can be won for a relatively small amount of money lie at the heart of a slot game’s appeal. They’re great for casual gamblers, those who are just starting to explore casinos, or those who want a change of pace from the more serious table games.
The other thing that makes slots games so appealing and so much fun to play is the fact that so many unique types and themes are involved. Fruit machines are often seen in British pubs and demand a certain amount of skill, classic slots are simpler and are beautiful homages to early machines and video slots involve detailed designs that are all based on a central, unifying idea.
If all this has got you itching to play, you’re not alone! It’s no wonder slot games are so popular, but the games themselves are wonders indeed. And so is the tale of their development. If you can bear to hold yourself back from spinning for a few moments longer, check out the details of the evolution of reel revolutions with us.
You probably know by now that Charles August Fey invented the Liberty Bell, the first slot machine ever, in the late 1890s and that the machines were soon seen in bars around Brooklyn and San Francisco. A mechanic by trade, Fey was in a good position to develop a game consisting of physical reels that spun when a lever was physically pulled.
Slot machines were introduced to Las Vegas in the 1960s, intended to be side attractions to entertain wives and girlfriends of the men playing at the tables. But they were such a big hit that they were soon a main event in their own right. With so much success, further development was inevitable.
Electromechanical Slot Machines
The next step in the slot game journey was the introduction of electromechanical games. These could pay out as much as 500 coins from the machine itself, rather than needing to claim the win from management, or needing the assistance of an attendant.
In the 1980s microprocessors became common in slot machines, controlling the stepper motors responsible for turning the reels or drums that displayed the slot games’ symbols. It was during this time that the games became more complicated too, with more reels, paylines and skills-based side games.
Video Slot Games
When video slot machines first appeared, they were intended to be much more intricate than anything that had been seen before. The more detailed games that had started appearing were gaining serious traction, and this was the obvious next phase.
Improved computing and processing powers allowed for more complex graphics, sounds, bonus rounds, special features and even animations. These were impressive then, and have kept up with technological developments so that they are even more impressive now.
These days, almost all the slot machines that you see on a land-based casino floor are technically video slot machines. Even the simpler games simulate the reels with graphics and animations, and use the same processing capabilities to determine fair results. However, the name “Video Slots” is still reserved for the more complex, theme-based games that are based on myths, legends, comic franchises and other exciting concepts. The vintage-inspired games are referred to as classic or reel slots.
As the name suggests, all the action in a video slot machine takes place on a screen; there are no moving parts. This means that a new system for lining the symbols up into patterns had to be developed and included in the machines’ processing abilities. This was achieved through Random Number Generation.
A Random Number Generator is a special piece of software that uses algorithms to create results completely randomly and fairly. It makes it almost impossible to cheat at slots games, which can be a problem when there are mechanical parts involved. It’s great for players as well as operators, since neither party can try to swindle the other.
Online and Mobile Slot Games
Of course, online and mobile slots games have always been video-based, and have always used Random Number generation. The same classic and video slot styles that are seen on land are played in online and mobile casinos; many of the most popular offline games are adapted to work well in a digital format.
The convenience and choice available to online slots players made the games a major success story following the internet explosion of the nineties, and the development of mobile technology has taken things even further. Android and iOS games are now as functional and attractive as online games, and are the first choice of many busy players.
The Evolution Continues
Land-based and digital slots games grow increasingly sophisticated all the time, and Virtual Reality and wearable devices are already offering some games. You can get inside a slot game or play on your smartwatch while out and about, which was unimaginable a few years ago. Whatever happens next, the sky is clearly the limit!