IGT has maintained its lion’s share of the market for slot machines by continuously pumping millions into research and development. The slot leader has rarely found itself behind the technology curve as a result, and typically has dozens of major new releases in every slot genre, every year.
Here are five of this year’s new games that IGT officials consider to be among their strongest.
1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the introduction of “PureDepth,” a video technology licensed by IGT that provides a perfect solution for the problem of placing reel-spinners in downloadable, server-based systems. PureDepth places two overlapping LCD panels on a common light source, to create what the company calls MLD, for multi-level display. It provides a perfect illusion of spinning reels in a video image. Used in bonus rounds, the technique results in a true 3D effect.
The game itself is a 20-line, 200-credit slot with a 20-stop wheel in the top box for bonus rounds. The LCD screen incorporates 88 movie clips, which play after each win consecutively, eventually forming a sequence of the entire movie.
2. eBay is one of IGT’s new “community play” games. Five video slots in sleek cabinets are linked to a computer server, which controls a random, common bonus round. Players wager more to achieve increases in a bonus multiplier during their primary game, and each spin qualifies them for the bonus round for eight seconds (continuous play ensures bonus qualification). A random trigger causes all eligible machines to enter the bonus round at once-it is a free-spin round on a giant overhead display comprised of five individual 40-inch video “reels.”
Two base games are themed according to aspects of the famous auction website. They are a 25-line game called “Collectibles” and a “MultiWay” game (reels purchased instead of paylines) called “Fashions.”
3. Wheel Poker is a standard multi-game video poker unit, offering Triple Play and Five Play versions of all the most popular video poker games, but incorporating a “Wheel of Fortune”-style wheel on the top, with spaces for bonus awards ranging from 150 credits to 2,000 credits. After wagering the maximum five credits for each hand in the Triple Play or Five Play setup, the player can opt to wager an additional credit on any or all of the played hands for an equal number of chances at the Wheel Poker bonus.
With the ante wager made, any time the player lands a natural four-of-a-kind-either on the deal or the draw-on that played hand, the wheel spins for a guaranteed bonus amount. A “spin” button appears on the center hand, and the player presses it to spin the bonus wheel. The bonus is an added-value feature that does not affect the payback percentage, regardless of the pay schedule used.
4. Wheel of Fortune Super Spin/Five-Player is a five-player version of “Wheel of Fortune Super Spin.” Two years ago, IGT broke new ground with the original nine-player “Super Spin” version of its venerable Wheel of Fortune game. In that version, players sit at individual stations surrounding a horizontal wheel, and the games are timed so several people go into the bonus round at once. This year, IGT brings the same concept to market in a version that requires less floor space, and which can actually be placed against a wall. On this version, the five play stations are in a line in front of a giant vertical wheel-the top half of the wheel can be seen over the bank, and each player’s terminal is assigned a color corresponding to an arrow on the wheel.
5. Star Wars MLP is a multi-level progressive slot, and another “community play” game in which individual machines-each shaped like the “R2D2” robot from the Star Wars films-are linked to a common bonus round.
Players make a side bet in the primary game that lets them accumulate points with certain symbols, and then everyone goes into the progressive bonus game at once-it happens every 10 minutes. Eligible players are each assigned a “Speeder bike” similar to the one in films, and they race on the overhead screen (and on each individual video screen) for one of the various jackpot levels.