In Part 9 of our Slot Compendium blog, we’ll be discussing the link between pop culture and gaming.
Pop culture and gaming go hand in hand. From blockbuster films to top-selling video games and famous musicians, all kinds of things get turned into themed slots. There’s some appeal in themed slots, so this section explains what makes a great franchise slot.
Check out our collections of the best franchise mobile slots, including some unlikely offerings based on board games. Combine your outside interests with your love of gaming in these slot machines. There have been all kinds of franchised slots, from musicians who sold their songs (and faces) for licensing, through to top-rated fantasy epics rendered in slot format. Game shows are also popular for slot game theming. Find some of our favourite franchise slots here – even if they may now have become just the stuff of legend.
HOW HAVE THE SLOTS CHANGED?
In the past, slot machine games were solely designed for wagering purposes. In most cases the reels featured traditional fruit and other award style symbols and the game was all about a straight payout or losing what you had put in.
Everything changed in the 1990s when the spread of legalised gambling across the US (and therefore the rest of the world) brought millions of new players along to the world of casinos. Entertaining players became one of the key parts of slot making and one way designers have sorted this out is through pop culture icons and adapting elements of this world into game play through bonuses, videos, soundtracks and special symbols across the reels.
Although categories sometimes blur into one another, slots cover pop culture in three key areas:
• TV and Movies
• Board Games
In this blog, we’ll take a look at these three main areas and discuss some of the slot games that have comes from these.
SLOT GAMES FEATURING FAMOUS FACES
All the casinos do their utmost to make their slots stand out from all the rest, and they make sure that their premises have every possible choice you could want.
This is no different with online casinos. Some of the celebrities we’ll look at in more detail below are featured in both live and online slots.
Unsurprisingly, two of the biggest names in pop, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, are among the most common celebrities that you’ll find in slots across live casinos and online too.
With Elvis’ links to Las Vegas, it’s really not much of a surprise that slot players have enjoyed his games for a great many years. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll played across Las Vegas venues such as at the Landmark and the Vegas Hilton.
In 2002, IGT released their first Elvis slot. This was known as Megajackpots, and gave fans the chance to listen to his best songs during gameplay. The slot was successful on its own but importantly created a long line of games as sequels to the original too.
Of all the sequels, the Elvis slot game that’s arguably the most fun to play is the progressive Presley slot released in 2012. The symbols on the reels show Elvis at different stages of his career and there’s Elvis’ music as well which make it a huge draw for any big Elvis fan. The slot comes with four progressive jackpots too, named after Elvis hits – Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel and Viva Las Vegas.
The jackpots are linked in with other bonus events. For example, the Heartbreak Hotel bonus includes and onscreen hotel with seven stories and a penthouse too. In the feature, you choose hotel room doors and look to find bonus credits. If you’re able to locate Elvis, you’ll receive maximum credits. However, it’s worth keeping an eyer out for broken hearts, as these will prevent you from getting to the next level.
The Juke Box bonus lets you choose Elvis songs such as Blue Suede Shoes and That’s All Right Mama and while the best tunes sound out the spinning of those reels, you’ll finish the game with special Elvis footage along with some interesting facts. You’ll know when the game’s up because you’ll hear that ‘Elvis has left the building’.
MICHAEL JACKSON: KING OF POP:
The Michael Jackson themed slots, designed by Scientific Games Interactive, started out with King of Pop and this was the introduction of a classic slot.
The King of Pop slot has a big-money wide-area progressive jackpot but there’s also a lot going on in the base game itself anyway. This is added to with a bonus wheel opportunity and each time you win a spin of the wheel you advance to one of six bonus events which focus around MJ and his music. Music includes Beat It, Bad, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana and Smooth Criminal.
Of course, they had to add some MJ classic moves to the slot and you’ll see the Smooth Criminal video across the reels as well as Michael himself moonwalking across the slot as a way of adding wilds to the symbols. It’s an entertaining masterpiece of a slot which has become a classic quickly.
TV AND THE MOVIE THEMES
As well as celebrities, the world of TV and movies have been a big attraction for gamemakers and slot players alike.
If a slot game includes references to their favourite TV show or movie then players will give it a go. Slot games that include TV and movie themes have to ensure they provide the right amount of entertainment mixed in with winning possibilities to keep players hooked.
Let’s take a look at some of the TV and move themed classics that have entertained players for years and will do for years to come too.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE:
This one had to be done. IGT’s original Wheel of Fortune slot, with its bonus wheel above the reels, is the single most successful slot machine in history and has been around for over two decades.
The game uses the same graphics and sounds as the famous American game show, along with the lettering that’s associated with the logo. You’ll spin the wheel and hear the clicking sound just as in the TV show. The puzzle bonus round in an inspired addition to the show but the original wheel has helped to inspire over a dozen sequel games with their own take on the classic TV show.
The Wheel of Fortune Experience slot includes a puzzle-solving bonus round, which is a community-style bonus where three different players are randomly selected to play. Players are asked to choose a letter from those displayed and all of the letters are a part of the puzzle. A unique bonus event has helped to produce a set of spin-offs and we’re convinced there’ll be more to come in an already successful series. The Wheel of Fortune slots have proved to be a thrilling way to play that is just as good as watching the programme.
THE WIZARD OF OZ:
The Wizard of Oz series of slots is one that bases its success on the fact that there are so many memorable character and moments to keep it going with. Using this, Scientific Games Interactive created the first Wizard of OZ game in 2007 and included some state of the art technology such as Sensory Immersion chairs with 3D sound and motion effects.
The aim is to gather all the main players in the film to come along for your ride along the yellow brick road. Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow all accompany you on the journey and there’s witchcraft (and even some flying monkeys) to enjoy or endure too.
Ruby Slippers, another Oz-inspired slot included the main four characters which trigger the different bonus events.
DEAL OR NO DEAL:
With the gambling and choices involved in Deal or No Deal, it’s no surprise that it quickly became the focus of a series of classic slot games. The Suitcase Bonus is a vital part to the success of the Deal or No Deal slot franchise. Like the TV show, there are various boxes that hold big and small rewards.
Choosing your box, you have to decide whether you’ll keep it or not as you open the other to reveal the prizes you could have won. The banker is there too, offering credits and rewards to entice you into making your decision.
Obviously, you have to tell the dealer whether it’s a deal or no deal, but the game really works well in getting you to make decisions and keeping you involved throughout.
WHY BOARD GAMES ARE A GREAT ADDITION TO CASINOS
Your favourite celebrities, TV shows and movies are all part of the world of slot machines, but casinos have picked up on something else too.
Playing board games, such as Monopoly, Yahtzee or Cluedo at home requires you to get properly involved and interact in a way that other games do not.
Using this, slot designers have included board game themes to help bring about a similar experience. The interactive side of things is key to board game slots and are what makes them so popular to slot players.
Monopoly slots are one of the most popular forms of gaming online, ever since their inception by Scientific Games Interactive in 1998. With almost 50 games in the series, Monopoly is easily the most popular board game we see in the world of slots. Five-reel video slots, three-reel games, progressives and community-style slots have all had the Monopoly makeover.
Everything that you would expect to find on the classic Monopoly board are transferred onto the slot games, such as houses, hotels, Electric Companies and Water Works. However, the around-the-board bonus is the one that sticks out when it comes to Monopoly slots. Monopoly slots that include the board game bonus have a lit-up game board with all the Monopoly features.
A toss of the dice results in a nail-biting wait for your onscreen results – and the right moves can allow you to pick up properties which can later be used to maximise your winnings. It’s possible to have three trips around the board in this classic bonus feature and you can buy houses and hotels to make that all important bonus even bigger. This is the interactive part of the slot which makes it so enticing and gives it that real board game feel.
Monopoly slots are fun, easy to play, and likely to be around for a long time.
Yahtzee is another classic that has been embedded in the world of slots, both live and online, forever. Scientific Games Interactive brought us Yahtzee’s big bonus, the Yahtzee Party in which you have three rolls of the dice to get that important Yahztee by landing five dice in total on the same number.
In the base game, you collect bonus triggers and can play the bonus round each time you trigger this. Save the triggers and you can also be set up for one of the eight progressive jackpots.
During the big bonus phase, you await your fate on the basis of five dice. You have the option of selecting your dice, and you can have at least two shots at trying your luck. The idea is to get the highest possible combination – Yahztee, four of a kind, full house, large straight, small straight or three of a king. The idea to bring this small element of skill to the slot game is what has made it so accessible to players and kept its popularity going to this very day.
The famous murder mystery board game Cluedo has given gamemakers the opportunity to express themselves through slot design. Miss Scarlett in the library with the revolver? Colonel Mustard in the hall with the candlestick? You’ll be affecting others with your actions as you try and solve the mystery while you win big too.
In the Cluedo bonus event, you play on big screens above the reels and choose a room to play, guessing at the murderer, weapon and room as you look to solve the mystery. Any wrong guesses and they’ll be crossed out, narrowing down the possibilities for the next player to reach the bonus and this is where your actions can affect those of others.
Cluedo is another board game with longevity and we presume many more slot games to come.
Now you know all about some of the most well-known pop culture inspired slots available, why not come and have a look at our selection at LadyLucks?