Manufacturer: International Game Technology
Format: Three-reel, single-line video slot
Denomination: .25, 1.00
Max Bet: 3
Top Award: Progressive; Resets: NV: $1 million, $200,000; Native American: $300,000; $100,000
Hit Frequency: Approximately 50%
Theoretical Hold: 6.4%-13%
This game, the first entry in IGT’s “Center Stage Series,” is most noted for its common community-play screen. In its grander version, five machines are lined up in front of a 103-inch LCD monitor (the MJ 103, if you’re ordering). That monitor is flanked by two 40-inch “portrait LCD” screens. It is enormous. IGT designed it so players across the room will be drawn into the game-show bonus feature.
The “smaller” version uses the MJ 70-a 70-inch monitor, flanked by two 32-inch screens. Both sizes of banks use IGT’s new “Mega FX” surround-sound chairs to complete the experience with immersive sound.
The base games are classic three-reel, three-credit single-line IGT titles including Red, White & Blue and Safari 7s, in a reel-spinning format, although they are video. The game uses MLD, or multi-level display technology that employs two overlapping video screens to create a 3D simulation of reels. The denominations are quarters and dollars for the community-play banks. (Stand-alone versions are available with operator-selectable denominations.)
The common bonus round is a group-play experience-the reels disappear on the main game screens, and the bonus game board appears in its place matching the display on the giant bonus screen.
Three players on the bank are chosen at random 10-12 times an hour for the big bonus game. It is the first game in the Wheel of Fortune series to replicate the “hangman” puzzle-solving game that is a main feature of the TV game show. Players are presented with a collection of letters, and each player selects a letter to try to solve a puzzle. A multiplier is awarded for each letter placement-if there are three “Ls” in the puzzle, the player’s multiplier rises three times. Some letters are “bonus letters,” giving the player another pick before the bonus moves to the next player on the bank.
After the puzzle is solved, the iconic bonus wheel appears on the big screen and spins, landing on the amount that serves as everyone’s bonus. Each multiplier is then applied.
This is the first of at least three Center Stage games to be released this year. Next up: “American Idol.”