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Here Come The Slots


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A sneak peek at the NEW slot games
in store for the coming year

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Here Come The Slots

  1. 1. lot manufacturers are in the business of trying to outdo each other in creativity year after year with new games in all of the popular slot and video poker genres. But perhaps the larger task every year at this time, when all the manufacturers roll out their new games at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, is trying to outdo themselves. Every September brings a breathtaking new array of multiline video slots, high-profile progressive games with famous brands and uncanny new twists to the classic reel- spinners. Every year, slot operations officials ask themselves what the slot-makers could possibly come up with to top last year’s array of new games. And every year, no one comes away from the big trade show disappointed. The slot manufacturer’s first commandment is Thou Shalt Not Bore, and trust us, they are all observing it with religious fervor this year as they continue to strive to keep you planted in your seat with their new slot games. Strictly Slots is unique in that it is the only major player publication granted annual access to all the slot manufacturers’ newest ideas—before they are announced to players, before they are revealed to other media, often before they are even placed into cabinets for prototype display at the trade show. We give you this still- top-secret information for one reason: to get the playing public pumped up for the coming year of new game launches. For the past few years, most of the major manufacturers have introduced powerful new video formats, radical new cabinet styles, and generally, game formats that offer intriguing twists. This year’s lineup of new games will invariably capitalize on all of these technological advances and offer a wealth of features and twists that you have not seen before. So sit back and enjoy your peek into the future at the games that will be coming to a casino near you during 2004. We have arranged them in alphabetical order by manufacturer, since each and every slot-maker is offering great innovation, and in our view, all of them deserve equal emphasis. The bottom line for all the new slot offerings is fun—and you’re in for a lot of it within the coming year. That said, let the games begin! A sneak peek at the NEW slot games in store for the coming year HERE COME THE
  2. 2. ACCoin&Slot Pleasantville, NJ-based AC Coin & Slot is still the exclusive distributor for slot leader IGT in Atlantic City and the Caribbean, but for the past few years, the company’s role as a developer of innovative new bonus slot games has been just as important. The most successful bonus concept for AC Coin has been Slotto, the lottery-style sphere that has served as the bonus apparatus for several games both by AC Coin itself and in partnership with IGT. Games using this bonus feature use a base slot to trigger lotto balls, each bearing a bonus amount, swirling inside the sphere. One or more of the balls drop into a chamber that, in a patented electronic sleight-of-hand, registers a bonus amount for the player. This year, the company rolls out several great new slots using the original Slotto sphere, plus a few variations on the bonus method that are sure to turn many heads on the slot floor. Among the new games with the traditional Slotto sphere is I Spy, a reel-spinning slot carrying a theme based on the popular 1960s hip spy television series starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. On the video side are two new partnershipgameswithIGT:Bewitched: The Nosey Neighbor is a sequel to last year’s monster hit based on the popular 1960s sitcom. The game features an IGT iGame Plus multiline video base game with hilarious primary and second-screen bonus features involving the bits from the show in which neighbor Gladys Kravitz tries to convince her husband, Abner, of the strange goings-on next door, where beautiful witch Samantha Stevens lives. One brand-new iGame video slot using the Slotto sphere is Laverne & Shirley, based on the hit 1970s sitcom starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. There are some intriguing games, though, that will use modified versions of the famous Slotto sphere. Alien Adventure places the sphere in the middle of the top box as a huge planet, surrounded by hovering spacecraft. The player stops the“orbit”toselectoneofthespacecraft,andabonus award is based on the lotto balls inside the sphere, which all look like planets bursting forth in sort of a “Big Bang” theme. A new Slotto version of a slot based on the 1950s sitcom “The Honeymooners,” called The Honeymooners—Baby, You’re the Greatest, is being released at the G2E show. In this game, the base reel-spinning slot triggers swirling bonus Slotto balls inside a beautiful, translucent heart-shaped top- box display built around the Slotto sphere. The display vibrates and pulses with light to give the impression that the heart is actually beating. The slot game itself features audio clips from the legendary Honeymooners series, which, along with reel symbols and the fantastic artwork, wrap a theme around the undying romance between Ralph and Alice Kramden, the show’s two main characters. Two other new Slotto-style games are definite must-sees for the coming year. Bingo Nights wraps a disco-music theme (with appropriate lighting and sound effects) around a Slotto sphere molded into a dead-ringer for a bingo tumbler. When the bonus round is initiated, the tumbler itself begins rotating just like a real bingo tumbler would. The triggering symbols on the reels also activate a partially filled bingo card, displayed on a small color LCD video screen on the front of the slot. The player presses a button to stop the bingo tumbler and send one of the balls into a chamber. They light up spots on the bingo card until a bingo is achieved, triggering a bonus award for the player. It is a great mix of live action, animation and sound to replicate the live bingo experience. The other modified Slotto game is not only a must-see,it’samust-smell.Popcornturnsthe Slotto sphere into a popcorn popper. When the bonus is triggered with a reel symbol, the chamber starts churning yellow and white Slotto balls around to the sound of a popcorn popper, and yes—the smell of buttered popcorn comes out of the machine. The bonus round flashes lights around an indicator for a small, medium or large bag of popcorn—which means one, two or three Slotto balls,respectively,willfallintothebonuschamber. The player presses a button to stop the flashing on his bonus award and the Slotto-ball “kernels” flow out the top of a mechanism inside the chamber just like popcorn does inside the popper when it’s ready. One, two or three Slotto balls then fall into the chamber to indicate the bonus award. Finally, one of AC Coin’s most creative bonus top-box games in years is coming to players this year in the form of Super Bonus Hot Dogs Deluxe. The top box of this reel- spinner is shaped like an old-time hot dog stand, and behind glass are two rows of mechanical, smiley-face hot dogs. When the bonus is initiated, they bob up and down out of their formations to reveal bonus amounts on their hot-dog bellies to the tune of “Hot Diggity Dog.” After the song, one hot dog remains standing with the player’s bonus amount revealed. One other fun aspect of this game—another “smell” feature. When the bonus is initiated and the song starts playing, the smell of hot dogs cooking permeates the air around the machine. (We can’t wait to see if casinos start opening hot dog stands near banks of these machines to satisfy hungry players.) AC Coin & Slot Service Co.
  3. 3. Aristocra Aristocrat’s U.S.-based research and development team has rolled out a parade of new slot products, bonusing systems and unique progressive links during the past few years. In the coming year, Aristocrat is launching scores of new games for these product groups and more. In the now-standard MKVI video platform, one of the best is King of the Nile. King of the Nile’s Egyptian pharaoh theme is woven into a nine-line or 20-line video slot featuring sharp 3-D animation, graphics made up of more than 1.6 million individual colors, and a remarkably high hit frequency, thanks to a collection of free-spin bonus events and a multilevel main bonus. The title King of the Nile symbol is wild, and doubles any winning combination in which it lands. Pyramid symbols on the first, third and fifth reel (if two land, the last reel spins an extra long time to heighten the anticipation) trigger a free-spin round in which all wins are tripled. At the end of the free spins, a second screen appears to give the player an option to keep his accumulated bonus, trade it for a mystery multiplier of the total wager, or replay the free-spin round for a possible higher or lower bonus. This is an incredibly lucrative bonus round. Aristocrat is also re-introducing some of its most popular video slots from the older MKV platform on its new, enhanced-feature MKVI platform. In a series dubbed MKVI Classic, new life will be pumped into games including Queen of the Nile, Wild Cougar, K.G. Bird and Penguin Pays. Aristocrat is showcasing nine games in its new Reel Power series, which offers a novel wagering setup: Players activate reels with wagers of five coins each—a minimum of 25 credits to activate all five reels, and additional bets in multiples of 25 up to max-coin wagers of 200 or 500 coins. Once the paylines are active, all jackpots are scatter-pays. Once all five reels are activated, there are up to 243 possible jackpot combinations on any given spin. Three new games are included in the manufacturer’s September introductions: Snapshot, which was highlighted in last month’s “Slot Spotlight” section, carries an amateur photography theme with compelling graphics, sound and animation of clicking cameras and developing photos. There are several ways to win free spins with multiplied jackpots, when cameras, film and flash symbols appear on certain reels, causing snapshots to appear. Tthe snapshots “developed” translate into free spins, and all free-spin jackpots are doubled if all the snapshots are developed. Other new Reel Power games include Queen of Atlantis, a fun penny or two-cent game featuring a mermaid as the main character; and Whales of Cash, featuring an ocean scene. As with the new MKVI games, the new Reel Power games all include scatter-pays, wild symbols and free spins as the main features. Aristocrat’s biggest news for the tourist market this year is the company’s first major licensed brand in a video slot, Jeff Foxworthy: You Might Be A Redneck If... This is a 20-line video slot featuring the popular bits of comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Players make a five-credit “ante” bet that qualifies them to choose from five separate bonus events when the bonus is triggered. A tiny TV monitor in the corner of the screen that serves as a sixth reel triggers that bonus. If Foxworthy’s image pops up on that screen, the player chooses from five bonus games: Bug Zapper, Squirrel Pie, Pig Bonus, Christmas Lights, and the funniest of the five, Pick a TV. In this latter event, two televisions are shown, each displaying a Foxworthy joke. The player picks one to choose either a credit win or free spins. (The joke is the funny part. For instance: “You might be a redneck if… you met your wife at a family reunion.”) Aristocrat’s new entry in the Bonus Bank series is Lil’ Lucy, a “lucky lady” character that appears randomly in any of the slots in a linked bank to award the player one of five bonus events: a random credit award; a free-spin bonus round; or one of three second-screen events including a dice roll, a wheel-spin and an award inside a Mystery Chest. Finally, Aristocrat introduces Millioni$er, a new game for the linked progressive Hyperlink system. Hyperlink links games in a bank to a controller, and a set level of coin-in on all the games sends a random bonus event to one of the machines. The bonus event results in one of four levels of guaranteed progressive jackpots. What distinguishes this version of Hyperlink is the top jackpot—$1 million on a penny-denominational game. Various MKVI games form the base slots for this new link. Aristocrat Technologies
  4. 4. Last year, Atronic Americas culminated a four-year drive to establish a global research and development network including U.S.-based game design for the subsidiary of Germany’s Gauselmann Group. The push started with the company’s 1998 licensing in Nevada, and came to fruition last year with the introduction of several new product groups, headed by Hi(!)bility, a sophisticated new video operating system housed in the radical “e-motion” cabinet; and Arizona Magic, the company’s first wide-area progressive product and its first game to feature a mechanical top-box bonus game in its inaugural game, Sphinx Magic. This year, Atronic rolls out a parade of new games in these and its core slot series, Cashline, in one of the most diverse groups of games to be displayed at this year’s G2E show. Arizona Magic is the name of Atronic’s wide-area network in the ArizonaNativeAmericancasinos.Thisyear,thecompanyexpandsits wide-area business with new Indian casino links in the form of California Magic, Michigan Magic and New Mexico Magic. It also expands the product line for these links with games that will also find their way into commercial casinos as stand-alone games in a new series called Towerline. The first two new Towerline (and Magic) games are called Cool Catch and Xanadu Magic. Cool Catch reprises the skiing penguin character from the popular Atronic games I. C. Money and I. C. Cash, with patented game features such as the “one-way” or “two-way” betting configuration. One coin per line results in normal left-to-right multiline play and qualifies the player for the secondary progressive jackpot; two coins per line, or betting “two ways,” adds right-to-left pays, increasing scatter wins and hit frequency, and qualifies the player for the top Magic Jackpot. The game-specific bonus in Cool Catch is triggered by four or more scattered “fishing penguin” symbols. The penguin character appears on the top of the reels to ice-fish for the player’s bonus. Three or more Bonus symbols trigger the Magic Bonus and a shot at the top MagicJackpotwhenplayingtwoways.Thetopboxincludesfivedecks of Magic Bonus Cards, which spin on spindles when the bonus round is activated, revealing bonus amounts or a Penguin Cool Catch card. The player presses one of two buttons to activate a Magic Light, which flashes around the cards until landing on one. If it is a Penguin card, that card respins to a bonus amount and is awarded to the player. If it is a credit amount, it is added to the bonus meter and the process repeats, with the card respinning to either a Collect card or a Magic Card. The Magic Card lands the progressive jackpot. Xanadu Magic wraps similar features around a mystical Chinese theme. In the Hi(!)bility series, launched last year with the game Atlantica, Atronic is rolling out several new games—all with the high- resolution graphics, enhanced game features and dual-screen format of the series and all housed in the innovative height-adjustable cabinet. Topping the list is Xanadu, a sister game to Xanadu Magic. The theme is a mystical Fortune City, played out in a bonus round inviting the player to enter doors to a 3-D. Here, where he selects from tiles to enter the Terracotta Treasure Chamber, to select from warrior statues to reveal bonus credits. From there, the player can achieve additional credits by selecting the statue that unlocks a third screen, the Dragon’s Chamber. Atronic is also releasing several of its most popular Cashline games in the new Hi(!)bility format, including The Sign of Zodiac, Babooshka and Sphinx II. Several new games are being introduced in Atronic’s standard Cashline series as well. A few samples: Gold Seekers features a unique, ongoing, accumulating bonus event. Above each reel are mine carts. When two or more gunpowder barrels line up on the reels, the barrels explode to fill gold nuggets into the corresponding barrels. When three or more mine-cart symbols appear on the reels, the corresponding mine carts are pulled from the top in animation and dumped into the player’s credit meter. Mystery Mask features a Phantom of the Opera-style theme, centered on mysterious characters called the Disguised Man and Disguised Woman. A scatter-pay feature displays candles on the reel spaces that reveal hidden bonus amounts. A “mystery symbol” within those choices opens the door to a second-screen feature in which the player searches through 3-D catacombs for one of the two mystery characters. Running Numbers wraps a storyline around cartoon animals dressed up like gangsters in a number-running racket. In a unique primary game feature, all four-of-a-kind wins pay right to left as well as left to right. In the Spaghetti Bonus, players select a plate of spaghetti to revealabonusamount.IntheLoanSharkBonus,playerspickbriefcases to reveal bonus amounts. In the Running Numbers Bonus, players create their bonus amount by choosing from the “running numbers” offered and placing them into slots to form a three-digit award. Atronic Americas Atroni
  5. 5. Bally is another company capitalizing on great success of product lines introduced during the past few years, with new games in its EVO video line, EVO HYBRID reel/video combination line, and itsCashforLifethousand-dollar-a-weekprogressiveline, on the Thrillions wide-area network. However, Bally also is introducing a new reel-spinning progressive line this year called Quartermillion$. The title isdrawnfromtwomajorfeaturesofthewide-areaprogressive link: First, the top jackpot resets at a quarter of a million dollars. Second, while all denominations in the link qualify for that $250,000-plus jackpot, max coin in all denominations equals a three-coin quarter bet—maximum wager is 75 cents, whether it’s in pennies, nickels or quarters. Heading up the EVO and EVO HYBRID lines is a collection all based on characters and bits from the Saturday Night Live television series. While games like Hans & Franz, Coneheads and Church Lady were introduced earlier this year, G2E will offer the first glimpse of two new SNL games: Wayne’s World is an EVO HYBRID game featuring Wayne and Garth, the characters created by Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey who run a public-access cable TV show in their basement. In one bonus round, the player chooses from three guitars to reveal a two- to five-time bonus multiplier applied to the jackpot of the winning combination. The main Wayne’s World Bonus is a pick-a-tile game giving the player the option to keep or pass on the bonus amount up to three times. Operaman, another EVO HYBRID game, features Adam Sandler’s opera-singing news anchor character. All of the new SNL games feature audio recorded by the actual cast members. In the new Quartermillion$ series, two new reel-spinners heading the list of inaugural games are Lucky Wheel Spin & Win and Quartermillion$ In the Money. Lucky Wheel features a bonus wheel mounted in the top box. When the wheel spins, the amount goes to the indicator, rather than vice versa in other games of this style. When a spin of the wheel is triggered, from one to three back-lit arrows light up randomly around the perimeter, with a cumulative bonus award of up to three amounts. In the Money adds the quarter-million-dollar jackpot and the bonus wheel to one of Bally’s most popular ProSlot 6000 reel-spinners. A spin of the wheel can result in bonus amounts up to 1,000 credits or a re-spin feature similar to Roaring 20s, in which the reels re-spin to the same winning combination up to four times. Bally is introducing a total of 10 new games to reprise the popular Bonus Frenzy style of game, in which a fourth reel serves strictly as a bonus applied to winnings on the three main reels. Heading the list is Playboy Playmate Frenzy, which places the Frenzy game inside a bunny cabinet and places the fourth reel in the center of the top box. Whenawinningcombinationlandsonthereelswithabonussymbolon the fourth reel, the jackpot is augmented by a multiplier ranging from two times to 10 times, free spins repeating the win, or various straight bonus credit awards. Bally brings a great collection of new licensed games to the G2E show this year. In the EVO series of multiline video slots, there is Felix the Cat, based on the cult-classic cartoon; S&H Green Stamps, a nostalgic look at the legendary stamp-collecting merchandise catalogues; L’il Abner, based on the classic hillbilly cartoon strip; and Iron Chef, based on the popular TV cooking show. These licensed brands join new EVO proprietary themes such as Captain Jackpot, a game built around a slot superhero who gives a 10-game free-spin bonus round “super power” by injecting a two- to 10-time multiplier into all winning combinations. Bally is also introducing two new EVO HYBRID games for its Cash for Life progressivelink,whichpaysatopjackpotof $1,000 a week for life. New Cash for Life titles include Higher or Lower and King Tut’s Treasure. Other Cash for Life games include a ProSlot 6000 reel- spinner titled Bonus Spin and an EVO video slot called Triple Spin. Of course, these just scratch the surface of what is an amazing collection of new games from Bally Gaming this year. There are several other new EVO video titles. There are new stand-alone ProSlot 6000 reel-spinners. There are giant versions of popular Bally games in a new product line called the Big Series. In all, Bally is displaying 110 different game titles at the G2E show. And the manufacturer is just getting warmed up. Bally Gaming Bally
  6. 6. Leading slot manufacturer IGT is set to once again leave G2E attendees breathless from its variety of new games—an unprecedented 150 in all. Included in these are many standouts, but none more so than the first games in the manufacturer’s new AVP video format. (It stands for Advanced Video Platform. And is it ever.) You must see this new video format to believe it. It truly takes the slot machine to levels never before seen. Nowhere isthismoreevidentthanin Star Wars,oneof the inaugural games on the AVP platform. This game is not to be missed. IGT has captured the grandeur of the original Star Wars trilogy of films, released beginning in 1977. Primary game icons and bonus sequences use audio and video clips from the original movies, along with freshly recorded, game-specific audio from original cast members James Earl Jones (Darth Vadar) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). But the real star of this game is the computer animation in the bonus sequences. IGT used its new HDTV studio (the only facility of its type in Nevada) to create Hollywood- quality computer animation using the same “motion capture” technique used in films such as Lord of the Rings. One bonus sequence presents a “light sabers” fight between two film characters, created by layering computer-animated characters over live video created by martial-arts experts. The effect is simply astounding— you’ve never seen a slot like this before. Trust us. The other major AVP release is Wheel of Fortune Special Edition—Triple Action, a prototype of which was shown at last year’s G2E. IGT has tweaked and improved the original game to maximize the benefits of the AVP format and the result is, once again, astounding. Live-action video of Wheel of Fortune co-hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White, along with segments depicting sequences from the TV show in bonus rounds, present images more sharp and clear than even your television set can muster. And these are only two new IGT games. There are 148 more— amazing new stuff in every slot genre imaginable, from iGame Plus video slots to S2000 reel-spinners to new licensed brands in the MegaJackpots progressive line to mechanical top-box bonus slots to an entirenewseriescalledReelTouch.Thevarietyismind-boggling.Here’s just a small taste of what’s in store from the master of the slot floor: Drew Carey Rocks!! If you like to laugh, you’ll love this game. It is an iGame Plus video slot featuring live-action video of comedian Drew Carey dispensing some of his best material. One bonus round is called My Bonus. IGT recorded Carey doing a group of one-liners using the phrase “My bonus is so big…” for this one. Every time the bonus is triggered, you get a different one- liner—lines like, “My bonus is so big it takes longer lunches than I do,” or “My bonus is so big it was overthrown in a coup. It’s now known as the Democratic Republic of My Bonus.” Funny stuff! (Hint: When you’re prompted to press a button to activate a bonus feature, wait a while. Carey will come on the screen and remind you. It is hilarious.) Speaking of classic comedy, don’t miss Reel Respect with Rodney Dangerfield. It’s an iGame Plus video slot in the MegaJackpots multisite progressive line, with a bonus round featuring some of the best comedy in history—one-liners recorded by Rodney Dangerfield in IGT’s sound studio. The jokes all start out with “I don’t get no respect!” and end up with something like “My wife told me Iwasgoingtodrivehertoanearlygrave. I had the car out in two minutes!” 18 Reeler Cash Convoy is a sequel to last year’s iGame Plus video slot based on the long-haul trucker culture. In this version, sophisticated animation techniques are used to create a raucous comedy police pursuit of a long-haul trucker. In a sequence stacking up to the best Hollywood has to offer, the truck eventually forces the police car off the highway and picks up a sleazy female hitchhiker to ride off into the sunset. Elizabeth Taylor: Dazzling Diamonds is an iGame Plus video slot with a new twist—jewelry as the top prize. The reel icons all International Game Technology IGT
  7. 7. depict Liz’ famously elegant jewelry, and the top prizes in the game are actual pieces of jewelry designed or approved by Liz herself. This only scratches the surface of IGT’s new video slots carrying licensed brands. There is Alien, based on the Alien motion pictures and featuring some of the scariest animated sequences ever placed in a slot. There is Animal House, based on the classic National Lampoon spoof of college life. There is Steve McQueen, a new Diamond Cinema video slot featuring a bonus round depicting one of McQueen’s classic movie race car chase scenes. There is American Graffiti, based on the quintessential late ’50s/early ’60s youth culture. There are The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, both hosted by Jim Lange. There are sequels to the best branded games of the past few years, including Beverly Hillbillies—Bubblin’ Crude, new Diamond Cinema slots featuring Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, Regis’ Money Mixer, and two new “I Love Lucy” games, Lucy In Hollywood and Lucy’s Grapestomping. And there is a new Elvis game, featuring the patented wagering setup first seen in Multi-Strike Poker, in which players can win up to four times the normal paytable amount with successive winning spins. But IGT’s game lineup this year also proves that the slot king does not need a brandedlicensetocreateanexcellentnewslot. Great new proprietary iGame Plus themes include games like Nurse Follies and its Hospital Charges Bonus. This bonus round talliestheplayer’sawardaccordingtoitemson a hospital bill—“extra pillow: 125 credits”; “laxative: 75 credits.” Or how about Hot Flashes? This is a game based on—you guessed it—menopause. Reel symbols include aspirins and a Buns of Steel exercise videotape. The main bonus event is the Mood Swings Bonus. IGT also is introducing a complete new suite of S2000 reel-spinners, many of which are part of a new series called Reel Touch. This series is a combination of the former Vision Series and subsidiary Anchor Games’ top-box bonus conversion kits. Where the Vision Series played out bonus events on a miniature color LCD video screen, this series features a giant LCD screen in the top box. Among the inaugural games is Flip Flop Deluxe, a new version of a game first released as an Anchor conversion kit. The bonus round featuring frogs jumping amid lily pads to increment a bonus amount is re- created here in beautiful 3-D animation on a giant screen. There is much, much more coming from IGT in the coming year. Were this a book rather than a magazine, perhaps we could present a more thorough picture of the offerings. But suffice it to say, you will be amazed.
  8. 8. For the past few years, Mikohn Gaming has been rolling out title after title in its Think Big! series of video slots—games with the company’s signature quality animation and something not found in most slots, a skill factor involving strategy to complete a bonus round or even trivia questions. This year, Mikohn is introducing a contingent of sequel games to its successful Think Big! releases, all with the same quality animation and element of skill of the previous releases. However, the big news from Mikohn this year involves two completely different types of games—a major branded release packed with bonus features, and a game that employs a factor diametrically opposed to skilla for bonus wins: gravity. The big branded release is Garfield: It’s All About Me! Based on the popular comic strip featuring single man Jon and his cat, Garfield, this game includes a collection of hilarious bonus events that capture the spirit of thetheme.Thebonuseventsareplayedoutbothonthemain screen and on a mechanical “pie” bonus in the top box. In Mission: Refrigerator, the player chooses a four-square path to the refrigerator for Garfield while master Jon sleeps. Each square the cat touches causes either a credit award or a noise. If Garfield reaches the refrigerator without waking Mikohn Gaming Konami Gaming has only been in the U.S. casino market for two years, having been created in 2001 as the North American subsidiary of amusement-game giant Konami of Japan. The U.S. subsidiary has used those two years to refine its North American product, gaining a reputation along the way for creating some of the best video graphics in the business. That point was driven home last year with games like Mariachi Madness, with its bonus round featuring flaming peppers and a dancing mariachi character with an evil grin that are almost spooky in their visual intensity; and Rocky, the manufacturer’s first branded license, with a bonus round depicting one of the famous fight scenes from the series of Sylvester Stallone films. This year, Konami introduces a suite of new games that drive home the manufacturer’s prowess in video animation once again. Scar Fish is a 10-line video slot with a theme built around animated gangster fish characters with names like Frankie Flounder and Mack the Mackerel. The slot features three separate second-screen bonus events. The first is a simple on-screen shell game, initiated when Frankie the Flounder symbols land on the reels. The symbols animate and turn into shells, and the player picks one for the bonus, repeating the process three times. The other two bonus events are interconnected into a two-level game. Reel triggers cause the screen to depict the Mack the Mackerel character throwing knives at several objects. The player receives a multiplier of his total bet for each object hit, but on the third throw, if he hits an Advance symbol, it triggers a second- level game called Carmine the Carp. The screen shows Carmine in a pawnshop, and the player selects items for additional multipliers until revealing a Fish Cop symbol, which ends the round. Floppy Shoes is a great game featuring a circus clown theme. In one second-screen event, items are shot into a clown’s pants by cannons to accumulate a bonus award. In the other, the player picks clowns to stuff into a miniature clown car to accumulate the award. In Buzzin’ Bee Band, the theme is a jazz band made up of bees that tour the country in a bus. The main second-screen event displays a game board, with the Bee Band on a tour bus. A wheel spin determines the spaces the bus will travel to reveal bonus awards or a trip to the Honey Dome for the gig (and high-level award). In Cash Inferno, the player has opportunities to put out fires for bonus awards in two separate events, all played out in amazing animation. Konami Gaming MikohKonami
  9. 9. Jon up, the player moves to the higher-level bonus, played out on the top-box wheel. The other second-screen bonus event is called Target Practice. The screen shows Garfield weighing a pie in his hand, with three potential targets in the background—Jon, his girlfriend, Arlene, or Odie the dog. The player is prompted to “choose a victim,” which reveals a bonus award. A trivia question then appears on the screen, with two possible answers. The player chooses an answer, and Garfield flings the pie. If the answer is correct, the pie hits the victim, and the second-level wheel game is triggered. The top-box wheel game, initiated by success in either of the main bonus rounds, is called Slice of Life. An indicator spins around all the slices on the pie in the top box, landing on one for the bonus award. These bonus events are augmented by two primary-game events: A popcorn symbol under Garfield’s image above the reels causes him to animate and sneak down to eat the popcorn. If he lets out a burp, several reel symbols become “unglued” to reveal bonus awards. In the Fifth Reel Stuck feature, the fifth reel randomly keeps spinning after the other four have stopped. Garfield hits it, and it stops to reveal an additional bonus award. Mikohn’s other new game style this year is the launch of a series called Gravity Pays. These are reel-spinning base games with a tall pachinko-style top box. Reel triggers cause a ball to shoot to the top and fall through the pegs of the pachinko board. A video indicator under the physical pegs of the board changes the bonus amounts around as the ball falls. The slot in which the ball lands—and the resulting bonus award—is not predetermined; it depends on gravity. Dumb luck—the opposite of a skill-based bonus. Inaugural games in this series are Kazoingo and Liberty Ball. To these new game styles, Mikohn adds some great sequels to its previous Think Big! games. There are two new versions of Clue, based on the famous murder-mystery board game. Clue: Unusual Suspects features a primary-game bonus in which characters toss knives at each other from their reel position, and a second-screen event in which the player is given hints to guess which suspect in a 3-D mansion scene committed a murder. The bonus round then progresses to a second-level bonus in which the player guesses the weapon used. Clue: Most Wanted is a reel-spinning slot with another pie-style mech-anical top-box game, triggered by a bonus symbol on a special fourth reel. Finally, Mikohn is releasing a new version of its hit game Battleship, based on the legendary sink-the-ship board game. In Battleship Treasure Quest, the player must determine whether the enemy sub is directly above or below his sub. The battle continues with each “hit.” Getting all the way through the board triggers a higher-level Shore Leave bonus round.
  10. 10. Three years ago, Shuffle Master Gaming launched its new video platform, a LINUX-based operating system that pushed the ability to create graphics and multiple game features to new levels. But it was last year that the capabilities of the new video system really came to fruition, with games like The Amazing Spider Man and Budweiser. Thisyear,thetalentsoftheirgamedesignersand the capabilities of its superb video platform once again come together in a dazzling display of video animation, remarkable graphics and loads of bonus features in a new suite of video slot games. Heading the list of Shuffle Master’s 2003 game introductionsis Chicago,anamazingreproduction in a video slot of last year’s Academy Award-winning motion picture. Shuffle Master has always done game themes in a masterful way, and trust us, they got this one right. The game’s music, images and bonus features capture the dark humor and cynical wit that were the hallmarks of the film. There are three main bonus events, each reproducing aspects of the film. When triggering symbols land on the reels, the player is shown a menu of the three bonus games, and gets to pick the one he wants to play. In Making News, the player is shown the editor of the fictional Chicago Gazette, framed in photo negatives. The player is asked to choose a negative of a picture for a sensational lead story for the next issue. Each selection draws a reaction from the editor, in a word balloon: “Another murder! This will sell millions of copies! I’ll pay you 135 credits for it!” Jail House Confession re-creates the production number in the film that showed tiers of jail cells with silhouetted beauties each giving her versions of the crimes that got her locked up. The player selects cells— the women slither back and forth before the choice; the animation is remarkable—and gets a bonus amount for each alibi (example: “He fell into my knife…10 times”) until one of the convicts owns up with a “true confession,” ending the bonus round. Tap Dancing re-creates Richard Gere’s summation dance as the defense lawyer before the jury in the trial of the main character. The player selects jurors and is paid an accumulating bonus for each juror who stands up and shouts “Guilty!” The bonus round ends when a “Not guilty!” verdict is shouted. Don’t miss this game. Other notable games include Isn’t It Romantic? According to New Games Project Manager Alex Hartl, his staff polled all the women who work for Shuffle Master to create a game for women, and this is it. The generic female theme in the 15-line video slot is communicated in soft colors and reel symbols depicting flowers, boxes of candy, champagne and the like. Five wedding bells yield the top jackpot. In the main bonus event, Cupid shoots arrows at reel symbols on the triggering screen to transform them into wild Valentine hearts, and the player is paid the resulting win—even if it’s the top jackpot. A secondary bonus event occurs when three roses line up on the middle reels; the player picks one for the bonus award. Getting Wild is Shuffle Master’s answer to the resurgence of the traditional reel-spinner. It is a video slot, but it is formatted to look like a traditional reel-spinning game. There are four reels and a single payline, with a unique twist—if a bar symbol lands on the fourth reel, all bar symbols become wild. This jacks the hit frequency far beyond any traditional single-line slot game. Also new from Shuffle Master: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus re-creates the humor from the best- selling book of the same name. Parlay Poker is a unique video poker game that deals two hands at a time and gives the player the opportunity to make a parlay bet. If both hands are winners, the player wins the paytable amounts for those hands plusapayoffontheparlay bet. Finally, the company has used its license to create games based on Marvel Comics to create the ultimate Marvel slot game: Heroes and Villains. This game is loaded with bonus events andstorylinesinvolvinga cavalcade of superheroes and super-villains from the pages of Marvel Comics. Shuffle Master Gaming ShuffleMaster
  11. 11. Last year, Sigma Game forged new ground by partnering with Harrah’s Entertainment in the launch of the Game of LIFE with a six-month promotion at all Harrah’s casinos. They followed thatupwithasequelcalledTimesofYourLIFE.Thisyear, Sigma continues the LIFE franchise with a third game based on the popular board game about life’s milestones, called LIFE Around the World. Like the other versions of LIFE, the main bonus round is played on a video game board with moves around the board represented on a giant replica of the spinner used in the board game. Where LIFE II had several, brief, pick-a-tile bonus games triggered by reel symbols in the primary game, LIFE III wraps those smaller games into the main bonus round. That bonus round is what distinguishes this new version of LIFE. It is triggered by a “passport” symbol on the reels of the nine-line base game. The passport symbols designate any of four “destinations”— North America, the Caribbean, Australia or Africa. Each destination is the theme of a separate LIFE game board. When the destination is chosen, the video screen displays the game board opening to that destination,withiconsofthelocationspreadaroundtheboardalong with other value squares. Each icon representing the destination carries a bonus award or multiplier, and the other squares designate bonuses such as one of the Life’s Little Games from Life II. Sigma Game has a wealth of brand-new titles to go with this high-profile sequel, though. Two of Sigma’s new slots this year are based on recently purchased licenses. The first, called PBR, is the result of a license the manufacturer secured from Professional Bull Riders, Inc. The multiline video slot’s theme includes the entire culture that has surrounded the PBR tour (which, not coincidentally, stages its finals in Las Vegas every year), including the most popular riders and even the most popular bulls. There are three bonus events depicting PBR lore. One of two second-screen bonus events is called Stars of PBR. Triggering symbols cause the screen to display a collection of drum heads bearing the logos of all the famous bulls from the PBR tour. The player picks one and a bull appears on the screen and jumps through the drum head. After that, the bull begins to buck as a bonus award number rises. The longer the bull bucks, the higher the award. The main bonus replicates the actual PBR bull- riding contests. The player picks one of the tour’s riders, and the animated bull-riding session begins. The number of seconds the rider manages to stay on the bull constitutesamultiplierofthebonusamount—whichisdeterminedby a panel of “judges”—two human judges and one “bull judge”—after the rider falls from the bull. The bonus on the scorecard is multiplied by a number up to eight, corresponding with the eight seconds a real rider must remain mounted on a bull in PBR to qualify. It is all great fun, with the PBR experience replicated in lively animation. There is even going to be a Tournament Version of the game, with promotions supported partly by PBR. Sigma Game’s other new licensed game is based on those novelty mounted fish that come to life when you approach them, turning their head toward you from the mount, lip- synching songs and spouting wisecracks. Big Mouth Billy Bass is a multiline video slot with an authentic Billy Bass animatronic fish perched on top, mounted inside a log cabin on the top box. SigmahaswovenseveralbonusfeaturesaroundBilly,includingLet’s Go Fishing, in which the player selects one of several fishing lures to reveal bonus awards. And animation shows a fishing line dropping into the water to “fish” for Billy Bass (or another game character) and a multiplier to go with the bonus award. Sigma’sothermajorgameintroductionsattheshowwillactually be re-introductions. The manufacturer is applying its 21st century technology—including ticket-printing capabilities, cashless play technology, etc.—to its reel-spinners and specialty video poker games that were big hits during the 1990s. Reel-spinners including Treasure Tunnel, Treasure Wheel and 9-Line Cherries ’R’ Wild will be rereleased in the modern format, each with a small LCD touch-screen monitor allowing the player to select the denomination, and displaying win information and a credit meter. A new line called RetroPokers will do similar re-introductions, injecting new technology into Sigma Game classic video poker offerings such as Sneak Peek Poker, Add ’Em Up and Flush Attack. In addition to ticket printing and other peripheral improve- ments, the new poker versions feature a lot better presentation and sharper graphics of the classic games. Sigma Game Sigm
  12. 12. WMS Gaming has a new video platform— one it has been working on for two years in partnership with slot system whiz Sierra Design Group. The result of this effort, along with the company’s new “Bluebird” cabinet introduced last year, is a suite of new WMS games unlike anything you’ve seen from the manufacturer to date. Heading the list of new WMS video slots is Robin Hood—Sherwood Treasure. This video slot provides a showcase of the capabilities of WMS Gaming’s new video platform. The Archery Bonus features state-of-the-art 3- D animation, as the player is awarded a random number of arrows for Robin Hood to shoot at targets selected by the player. The farther away the target, the greater the volatility—tougher shots mean higher awards with less frequency. It is just one of a collection of intricate, multilevel events packed into this game. The next big news for WMS is a new, enhanced version of Jackpot Party, the classic game of party horns and the party “pooper” characters who end the bonus round—first released in a reel-spinner with an LED-screen bonus game and subsequently on the standard WMS platform. This time, the classic game resides on WMS Gaming’s new CPU-NXT platform. The game features will provide a new hobby for anyone who is a fan of this original, classic WMS video slot. Rakin’ It In features a yard- work theme, with a clever bonus round in which the player searches a backyard for squirrels using the touch-screen feature. Each squirrel awards an accumulating bonus amount. The bonus round ends if the player uncovers an owl, but a random occurrence has the owl removing all the other owls on the screen to give the player a clear shot at the maximum bonus. Rich Little Piggies is a new video slot based on the old Big Bang Piggy Bankin’ reel-spinner. In the main bonus round, dice roll to move a pointer to one of a group of cartoon pigs. The chosen pig reveals an accumulating credit amount and the icon changes to a bomb. The bonus round continues until the pointer lands on a bomb, which triggers a free-spin round— withamultiplierbasedonhowlong the player lasted in the first round. Monopoly Grand Hotel is the first game in the Monopoly series to be placed on WMS Gaming’s new, high-powered video platform. As a result, it is loaded with bonus features displayed in high-resolution animation. In the main bonus round, the player places hotels on various properties around the Monopoly board and collects “guests” for his hotels by landing on various spots on the board (railroads, for instance, add more guests). It is definitely a new day dawning for WMS Gaming, and the origi- nator of American-style multiline video slot games isembarkingonanewera of enter-tainment for the player. ● WMS Gaming WMS