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Best of John G. Brokopp

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The Future of Slot Machine Play is Now

31 October 2000

Last week we examined the slot machine revolution that is sweeping the country by focusing on the 2000 product line introduced by International Game Technology, the industry leader in the research, development, and manufacture of electronic gaming devices.

IGT's dynamic vice-president of engineering and design, Joe Kaminkow, is the man credited with giving his company a new vision for the future by introducing slot machine games that provide more sensory stimulation and entertainment value for people who live in an interactive world.

The alarm was sounded when IGT, the undisputed king of traditional reel slots, began to lose ground in the highly competitive gaming market to its principle industry rival, Chicago-based WMS Gaming, which several years ago introduced the immensely popular Reel 'Em In slot games and thereby established itself as the leader in video, multi-line, multi-coin games.

When WMS Gaming hit the jackpot again with its Monopoly slot games last year, capitalizing on the licensing partnership it made with Hasbro, there was cause for even greater concern among the powers that be at IGT.

Kaminkow, who forged his creative reputation by developing coin-operated games for Sega Pinball, was wooed over to IGT last January. The first wave of IGT slot games developed under the direction of Kaminkow are beginning to reach casino floors now. Industry analysts will be monitoring how they are accepted by the players.

IGT's new games put a heavy accent on branded entertainment properties, including such 1960's television icons as "The Addams Family", "The Munsters", and "I Dream of Jeannie".

Working in the engineering building of IGT in Reno, Nevada must be a blast! Situated in different locations are Sega pinball and arcade games of Kaminkow's design, all set to "free play" so employees can enjoy a little recreation whenever they wish.

If, as Kaminkow believes, "funny makes money", just how much fun has he put into the next generation of IGT slot games? Take "The Munsters" as a prime example. The 5-reel, 25-line, 125-coin game features reel symbols depicting all the beloved members of the original cast. In addition, you'll also find the raven cuckoo clock, the Munster family hearse, and Eddie Munster's unforgettable werewolf doll.

Here are just some of the aspects of play: A wild bat symbol animates and turns into Grandpa, covering three reel positions for a better chance to win. When five Munster match coin scatter symbols appear, the Munster Match Bonus begins. Here you select squares until three of the same family members appear, each with a bonus value attached. If cousin Marilyn shows up before you match three, it doubles the bonus win.

There's more: Three or more scattered mystic potion beakers set off Grandpa's lab bonus. Choose one of five beakers in the lab to reveal a bonus multiplier. Values in the remaining beakers slowly materialize to show your other choices. Also, when three or more fire-breathing dragon scatter symbols appear, you get an open staircase instant winner bonus.

Finally, with every big win, Herman Munster himself appears unexpectedly, jumping up and down on the screen shouting "I'm rich, I'm rich!".

The Addams Family machines come equipped with interchangeable sculptures of Uncle Fester (complete with a light bulb in his mouth) and Lurch. The game is another bonanza of bonuses, surprises, and sensory fireworks.

Enough of the marketing and design "spin" from the company execs. What does the next generation of slot machines mean to us as players? The answer is that no matter what slot machines look like on the outside, they're all the same on the inside: Namely, computer driven devices that are guaranteed to make money for the casinos. IGT's new games make playing slots more entertaining, not easier for players to win money. The perception that you can capitalize on decision making is just an illusion. The "bonus" aspects of the games add a new dimension of fun, but the money you win is already figured into each machine's pay back percentage.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
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