The slot game, slot machine, one-armed bandit, or pokies machine, has been around for over a hundred years. In its modern form, the online slot game is a dazzling, high-resolution affair, including impressive graphics, interactive soundtracks, big jackpots and exciting bonus rounds. At its origin, however, the slot game was a far more understated betting console.
Slot Game Origins
The first slot game was created in 1891, the brainchild of a two men named Sittman and Pitt. This early version could not hold a candle to the colourful games of today, but at the time was a masterpiece of gears, levers, and rotating drums. The game was based strictly around poker, and the player knew they were a winner upon a favourable poker hand being displayed.
At the time, however, there was no way in which the game could give back money, and so the prizes were along the lines of a free drink, free cigars, and other such things, which would be handed over by a bartender. If the machine was in a barbershop, which was a common location for a slot game at the time, the player might have gotten 20% off their haircut.
Liberty Bell Revolution
The problem with this early machine was that it was incredibly complicated, especially given how the machines were created. Basing the game around cards meant that there were a vast number of possible combinations, and it all but melted the brains of those trying to create a simple machine that gave automatic payouts.
By 1895 Charles Fey had created the now legendary machine known as the Liberty Bell, and this is the point where the true slot game came into existence. The machine created by Sittman and Pitt had used five drums, each able to show a total of ten playing cards. Fey did away with this system, and replaced the cards with symbols, namely; diamonds, horseshoes, spades, hearts, and the Liberty Bell, which was adopted as the machine’s name. This reduced the number of drums from five to three, and made the game a great deal easier to manufacture.
Symbols For The Win
Symbols are a common sight in modern slot games, and players all but expect to see creative, interesting designs. In fact, many games are known in modern times for just how creative the symbol designs are. In 1895, however, the idea was akin to a mind-blowing revolution.
The Liberty Bell could payout automatically, letting coins clatter down into a bucket. Plus, those who did not understand poker could now also participate, opening up the slot game to a whole new audience. The machine took the world by storm.
Law And Legal Matters
With the boom of slot games likewise came a movement by manufacturers to skirt gambling laws. Gambling being outlawed in many states of the USA, and in many countries across the world, meant that a new approach had to be taken. A machine was devised which gave birth to the modern fruit machine slot game we know today.
To avoid gambling laws slot game developers created a machine that paid out in bubble gum, with the flavours of each gum represented as a fruit on the reels. These games have long since been discontinued, partly due to massive lawsuits, but the tradition of using fruit as a symbol has lived on.
It was not until 1976 that the first truly electronic slot game was created. Called Money Honey, the game used a video screen, a series of buttons, and had all its functions controlled by electronic circuit boards. It still had a lever to pull, but at this point the lever was for show, due to the fact the players were used to the concept.
There was some speculation as to whether the game would find success, but Money Honey had players lining up to experience its amazing technology, coins in hands. Electronic slot games were soon after adopted as the norm, and developers then began to focus on ways to dazzle players with better graphics and better sound.
Modern Slot Games
There are tens of thousands of modern slot games available online today, all accessible 24/7, and available in every style and theme. With HD graphics and music, the modern slot game has become an art form all of its own. But just how different is a modern slot game from an earlier version?
The answer is an interesting one- not that different at all. The same basic systems are used, although modern slot games tend to be five reels, as apposed to three, and have multiple betting options. The central idea, however, has remained virtually unchanged. Every time a player logs onto an online casino and takes a spin, they may wish to say a silent thank you to Mr Charles Fey and the Liberty Bell!