Online slots are probably the casino games that have changed the most in the last 100 years. This is especially true when you look at how many online casinos have influenced the adaptation and evolution of slots.
Slots are massively popular and that popularity grows as developers keep innovating. Let’s have a look at early and iconic slot machines that managed to change the industry forever.
With cumbersome mechanical parts, early slots weighed a ton and the maintenance was expensive, but they clicked with gamblers in the American west who probably only had Poker, Blackjack and Baccarat to keep them occupied, interspersed with the occasional game of Roulette.
- The Gambling Machine – Developed by Sittman and Pitt all the way back in 1891, this was the first example of what would evolve into the slot machine. Players would drop a coin and spin the 5 drums to attempt to make a Poker hand. Each drum featured 50 cards.
- The Liberty Bell – 3 reels, 5 symbols, automatic payout, this is where tall the design elements fell into place and the slot machine was born. This device appeared in 1895 and in a few years it spread across gambling establishment across the US and found its way to Vegas.
- Money Honey – Slot machines remained essentially unchanged until 1963 and the release of this iconic slot by the equally iconic Bally Arcade Company. It offered a huge (for the time) 500 coin jackpot and featured advanced electromechanical design elements.
The Digital Age
Once technology came knocking, casinos were only too happy to answer the call.
- Fortune Coin – This slot machine by the company of the same name started operation in 1976 and it was the world’s first digital slot machine. This eliminated almost all of the old mechanical parts and made slots much easier to maintain and refurbish.
- Reel ‘em In –Looking back, it is hard to imagine that a second bonus screen in a slot game was a feature that only was introduced in 1996 when WMS released Reel ’em In. Today bonus screens are almost an industry standard.
- Cleopatra – Playing a massive role in influencing online slot themes, Cleopatra offered players an irresistible combination of bonus features, 5 reel 20 payline and sheer playability. Many sequels and ports later, this slot is still as popular as when it was launched in 2005.
Today we have a new level of gaming innovation driven by the market, not the casinos. Online slots have no mechanical or moving parts so they can be built from the ground up with minimal effort. Well, in comparison to building a physical slot machine from the ground up.
- 3D Slots – Many online slots have upgraded their look from 2D graphics to 3D models. Many of the bigger slot companies can afford to hire 3D graphics teams to create a slot experience that combines storytelling and feature-packed gaming.
- Licensed Slots – Even though there have been many artists and actors that lent their names to casino games, today’s online slots have taken this to the next level. Licensed slots piggyback on massive media licences today and the association with popular films and series almost guarantees success for the slot developer.
- VR Slots – Although we have yet to see a working commercial version of a VR slot experience, this will quite likely be the next industry-shaking innovation that casinos will deliver to players. VR technology offers an unparalleled level of immersion and convenience by offering players a virtual world to explore in their real money gaming activities.