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The Big Show

Comic observations from the G2E show floor

The Big Show

So, how did you like the Sands Expo Center?

Some vendors may not like the new setup of the Global Gaming Expo trade show, but from my perspective, it was great. The booths of all the smaller exhibitors—umm, like magazines—had to be passed to get to the slot manufacturers, which everybody was inevitably going to gravitate toward in any event. It was like setting up a hot dog stand at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Well, maybe not that good, but the traffic flow past our outpost was better than it ever has been, except for that one year when, by sheer fluke, our booth ended up in the entry corridor to the whole trade show. That was classic placement. From that location, we could have sold flies to a blind spider, as Shemp used to say.

I often quote Shemp. Many feel he was the least quotable Stooge, but I disagree. And since some of you in Asia and Europe who are unfamiliar with the Three Stooges have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll return to gaming.

The focus of the Global Gaming Expo has always been the slot manufacturers. When you did get to the rear of the hall where they were all set up—providing you managed to crawl away from that remarkable food-and-beverage feast, “F&B at G2E”—there was some really cool stuff indeed.

After a few various gizmo demonstrations along the way (there were great gizmos this year), I stumbled across Dan Aykroyd at the IGT booth. (I apologized for stumbling across him.) Dan had joined the AGA brass to cut the ribbon on the whole G2E shebang, to celebrate IGT’s release of the great new “Ghostbusters” slot machine. In fact, “Ecto 1” itself, the car used in the original Ghostbusters, was actually at the entrance to the show.

Besides “Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call,” IGT impressed me with “Big Buck Hunter Pro.” It’s a replica of the arcade game Big Buck Hunter in a slot machine fully equipped with plastic rifles. You use the said plastic rifles to take aim at woodland creatures on a big high-definition bonus screen, and blast them for big bonus money. Great fun, although I think they need to make some of the targets a little less cute. I felt horrible.

On to Bally and “Michael Jackson: King of Pop.” It has an amazing surround-sound chair synchronized with a light show to simulate the feeling of one of Jackson’s famous pyrotechnic displays. It’s incredibly authentic. My hair actually caught on fire.

There also was a Bally game called “All That Jazz” where you use a the iDeck pad as a piano, and follow along on “playing” a song like in Rock Band or Guitar Hero. I’ve played in a real band, but I couldn’t even do “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on this. My version sounded more like “Inna Gadda Da Vida.”

After Bally, it was off to the F&B Section. Then, the next day, on to WMS. (I’m kidding. I was only at F&B for 12 hours, tops.)

WMS had tons of great stuff, but I gravitated right to that pirate game. “Pirate Battle” has four long LCD screens in front that look like a window to the sea from your machine to two opposing pirate ships. The bank splits into two “teams,” Team Red and Team Blue. In the bonus round, you participate in a raging battle until one of the two combatant ships sinks, its occupants giving way to a horrible, fiery death and watery grave.

OK, I added the last bit for effect. It’s really just until you hit the other team’s ship three times. It bursts into fire on the second hit (very cool, by the way), but you don’t see occupants. They’re obviously remote-controlled pirate ships. If you sink the other pirate ship, you and your teammate split the winnings, and get to do a victory dance in front of your vanquished foes. (Just kidding. Be nice.)

I loved Aristocrat’s Mission: Impossible and Tarzan, Konami’s KP3 platform, and everything by Multimedia Games, Cadillac Jack, Spielo International and all the rest of our wonderful advertisers.

By the way, lest anyone think I’m not up on my Stooges, the Shemp quote to which I referred was actually, “He’d steal flies from a blind spider,” in reference to an uncle he thought was “a louse and a weasel.” I bent it for my own purposes.

It’s still a better quote than anything from Joe Besser. Joe was the “New Curly” they put in when Shemp died, and he… Oh, never mind.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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