Evolution of Slot Gaming Technology
The video slot games we play today take advantage of the latest technologies to make gaming portable, digital and connected.
In fact, we can do some incredible things with online slots that were never before possible. From games with interactive storylines to bonus features that would blow the minds of the earliest slot game players from decades ago, we now enjoy some of the best slot games ever made.
Perhaps your appreciation for slot games might be enhanced if you knew a little bit more about their history. So let's go back to the beginning and an American company that introduced a machine that would go on to become the basis of the first commercially manufactured slot games.
The Sittman and Pitt Poker Game
A company named Sittman and Pitt introduced a gambling machine during the late 19th century that became an instant hit in New York City's bars. This machine allowed players to insert a nickel for an opportunity to play a single hand of poker. The idea was to pull the lever and hope that the resulting cards would form a winning hand.
The most fascinating aspect of this early slot machine is the fact that there was no mechanism for automatic, cash payouts. Therefore, bar owners would offer various prizes based on winning hands. One hand might produce a free drink while another might be good for a couple of cigars.
To increase the odds in favour of the house, most of these machines used decks of cards from which the jack of hearts and 10 of spades had been removed. Bar owners were known to further alter the decks in their favour.
Slot Machines With Automatic Payouts
Sittman and Pitt's machine was popular enough, but bar owners wanted something capable of automatic cash payouts so that machines didn't have to be tended to. Somewhere around 1895, they got their wish when a California inventor came up with an automatic payout mechanism. He built a slot machine with three spinning reels containing five total symbols. Those symbols which came to be the standard for first-generation slot machines were the horseshoe, diamond, spade, heart and liberty bell.
The main advantage of this 3-reel, 5-symbol machine was the relative ease with which winning combinations could be evaluated. This paved the way for automatic cash payouts and slot gaming that was independent of establishment offers. Aptly named the 'Liberty Bell', the first-generation slot machine was an instant success.
The Liberty Bell machine was eventually banned in California a few years after it was introduced. Elsewhere in the US, its manufacturer could not keep up with demand.
Slot machines continued to mature through the early 20th century. With that maturity also came an expanded audience. Slot games were no longer confined to New York bars; they were also found in bowling alleys, barber shops and even cigar stores. This was about the time additional symbols like the cherry and 'bar' were introduced.
The early 1960s brought the first electromechanical slot machine to the masses thanks to Bally, a company that would eventually go on to dominate the market. Their 'Money Honey' game was based on earlier electromechanical construction they introduced in the 1940s. It became the basis of what we now call the 'one-armed bandit'. Money Honey incorporated automatic payouts of up to 500 coins and bottomless hoppers. The technology was so advanced that the machines did not require an attendant.
Video Slot Machines
The next generation of slot machines took the electro-mechanical concepts and adapted them to the video screen. Video slots were introduced in the mid-1970s by a Las Vegas game manufacturer using a modified 19-inch colour screen and purpose-built circuit boards.
Some of the earliest video slot games played an important role in helping game designers understand how electronic systems could be hacked. Through trial and error, they were eventually able to produce titles that were virtually cheat proof. That led to the Nevada State Gaming Commission approving video slots, subsequently guaranteeing that these new games would eventually be adopted worldwide.
Modern Video Slots
The modern video slot games we play today are just the logical evolution of 1970s video slot machines. Still, the concepts designers depend on trace their roots back to the original 19th-century poker machine. All we've done is take that original concept and expand on it using video and digital technology.
Today's games incorporate the basics of the classic one-armed bandit with the video paradigm of the 1970s, combined with state-of-the-art graphics and sounds. And because digital technology now has so much raw power built-in, we can go beyond simple slots to include all sorts of bonus games, storylines and extra features. In essence, we have combined the one-armed bandit with the action-packed video game to create a whole new slot gaming experience.
Online & Mobile slots
These days, rather than visiting a real world casino, many players prefer to play slot games at our online casino. In fact online gaming has seen massive growth in recent years and games developers are continuously pushing the boundaries to bring players games with ever improving graphics and features.
Modern online slots look fantastic and are great fun to play. And with most people now owning smartphones, players can join their favourite slots from practically anywhere either via mobile optimised versions of their favourite games or by downloading casino apps.
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