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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Aristocrat Technologies Taps into Winning Formula

29 October 2008

Unlike some traditional three-reel spinning slots manufactured years ago by IGT and Bally Technologies that are still around today, video slot products are constantly being changed out.

It's a fact of life in casinos nationwide that a majority of the new slots that are introduced every year do not have longevity. They debut with much fanfare and enjoy flings of popularity among players before falling out of favor.

Unproductive units are quickly replaced with new products by slot directors and the cycle begins all over again.

This dynamic is what keeps the research and development divisions of the world's leading slot manufacturers busy in their collective quest to introduce new components to the games incorporating bonuses and interactivity.

Think about it: Since new wave video slot technology was introduced to casinos in the United States in the mid-90s, countless game themes have come along and very few, if any, can still be found on casino floors.

Contrast this with some spinning reel classics from IGT such as Double Diamond, Triple Diamond and Red, White, & Blue Sevens, or Blazing Sevens from Bally Technologies, which are still being played after well more than a decade.

A notable exception to the short life span of slot concepts is the popular MKVI platform of games introduced in the United States by Aristocrat Technologies in late 2002.

You may not recognize the name of the platform, but you'll certainly recognize the game titles: Scatter Magic, Flame of Olympus, Geisha, Tiki Torch, Double Dolphins, etc. It's only scratching the surface of a portfolio of well over 100 themes that Aristocrat's prolific game development teams unveiled.

These games and many more, including Pompeii, Queen of the Nile, Wild Cougar and Penguin Pays, enjoy enduring popularity among gaming fans who favor low denomination multi-coin/multi-line video slots.

Aside from their longevity, the most amazing aspect they have in common is simplicity. No elaborate electronic platforms, enhanced audio/visual capabilities, engaging interactive touch-screen bonus features, or marquee top boxes.

Just back-lighted cabinet and top box glass with game graphics and title, a video grid of symbols that is surprisingly uniform with many of the titles, and a bonus that gives players what they apparently want most of all from slot games: free spins and multipliers.

"The games have staying power," confirmed Harrah's Joliet's long-time director of slot operations, Fran Miller. "Our guests really seem to enjoy playing them because of the high 'hit frequency' on the bonus rounds."

Perhaps what's most familiar among all the game components to players is the "fire alarm" bell that sounds when a player enters a second screen free spin bonus round, not to forget the celebratory electronic tunes that play when a big payoff is hit, or the prompts that pop up on the screen congratulating players on "Dream Result" or "Sensational".

It's the anticipation of getting the correct configuration of the free spin bonus round symbols, many of which are 3-D graphically enhanced, that keeps players coming back for more from Aristocrat's veteran slot machine arsenal.

The company may embrace its core product, but it also has enhanced its capacity through the years, such as introducing "Reel Power" technology, whereby players buy reels instead of lines. They've also been technological leaders in the slot industry with bonus-bank games such as Mr. Cashman, Lil' Lucy, and hyperlink progressives.

Coming soon from Aristocrat will be Double Happiness and Turtle Treasure, the first two Gen7 game titles on the company's new Viridian cabinet.

CASINO NEWS: A November 22 concert date for Johnny & The Leisure Suits has been added to the line-up at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. Other shows upcoming include Gov't Mule (Nov. 12), Aretha Franklin (Nov. 14), Bill Cosby (Nov. 15), Nashville Star (Nov. 20), Al Green (Nov. 28) and Jeff Foxworthy (Dec. 11). Tickets for all performances at The Venue are available at Ticketmaster and at www.thevenue-chicago.com.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp