Slot games have been a staple of the gaming world since their introduction at the beginning of the 20th century. Early slot games were often used as trade stimulators and gave out chewing gum as prizes; three cherry symbols equaled cherry flavored gum, three melons won melon flavored gums. The games were such a part of the slot culture that modern day machines still include the iconic fruit symbols, cherries, oranges, melons and plums, as homage to the early games. Such games are call fruit reels, or “fruities”, and are found in virtually every casino, land based or online, in the world.
Playing the slots is the most popular activity in the casino due to the ease of play and the possibility of winning very large jackpots.
Advances in technology made it possible for game developers to replace the old machines which were purely mechanical with machines that were totally computer control, called video reels, or games which had a combination of video and mechanical elements.
These technical advances also allowed game developers to introduce a number of new features such as progressive jackpots, animations, free games, bonus features, and special music. It also opened the door for themed slot game.
Slot games developed around particular themes have become incredibly popular to the degree that each year players and the industry alike look forward to the introduction of new games which traditionally occurs at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas every September.
The most popular slot games are from the movie and television world.
Movie themed slots are among the most popular. While movies like The Hangover have spawned games which have proven to be fairly popular, it is the superhero movies that rank at the top. The Marvel themed games, such as Iron Man and Spiderman online slots, are among the most popular of all slot games. The Marvel slots benefit from a fan base who started as comic book fans and have made the movies some of the most profitable ever and who have also made Marvel merchandise and games a billion dollar industry. The superhero games routinely feature characters from both the movies and comics, and video and sound clips from the films as well.
Television shows fall into two genres; series and game shows. The Sex in the City and Sopranos slots are good examples of this genre. Like the movie themed slots the games often use clips from the shows and special icons to trigger bonus events. Often game developers will also try a classic program as they did with the I Dream of Jeanie slots. The Jeanie slot failed to gain a great deal of loyalty with slot players, as happens with many of the retro titles, and has all but disappeared from the casino floors.
The games based on television game shows are the most popular of the TV inspired slots. While Deal or No Deal, The Price is Right and Jeopardy, have proven to be big hits, they all pale in comparison to Wheel of Fortune which according to many casino executives it the most popular slot game in history. While the stars of the TV show, Pat and Vanna, are absent the game is frequently part of a progressive jackpot network which payout life changing amounts. Like the superhero slots mentioned earlier, Wheel is one of the games whose popularity is expected to far surpass the average of 18 months to 3 years.
One of the pluses of slot technology is that the technology that powers the land based games is used in the online games, with many of the game developers testing the games acceptance and creating a buzz about the game online before making it available to brick and mortar casinos.