Slot games have an extensive and fascinating history spanning over a century. From rudimentary mechanical slots to graphically rich, feature-packed video slots, the journey marked by constant technology innovations.
Beginning – liberty bell
The first slot machine called the “Liberty Bell” was invented in 1899 by Charles Fey in San Francisco. It featured 3 reels with 5 symbols of diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes, and the Liberty Bell which was the top payout symbol. The mechanical design with springs and levers started the slot gaming craze.
The classic 3-reel slot format with a single payline was popularized by Bally’s Money Honey slot in the 1960s. It allowed automatic payouts of up to 500 coins without an attendant. Its electromechanical design with side-mounted levers defined old-school slots for decades.
Video slots arrive
The first video slot, Fortune Coin by Walt Fraley, appeared in 1975 with a modified Sony Trinitron color TV for the display. It pioneered the use of Random Number Generators (RNG) to determine spins rather than physical reels, ushering in the video slots era.
Licensed slot themes
IGT’s slot Money Storm based on the classic board game Monopoly hit casinos in 1989 bringing branded themes to slots. Successful TV shows and movies like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Top Gun, and Star Trek made their way into themed video slots with great commercial appeal.
When IGT launched Megabucks in 1986, it introduced networked progressive jackpots across casinos. It paved the path for pooled jackpots to rise into millions of players nationwide. In 1989, a Megabucks jackpot crossed $1 million for the first time, generating huge hype.
Video slots like Reel ‘Em by WMS Industries introduced the game-changing concept of multiple paylines in the mid-1990s. Instead of just one payline, players could bet on multiple lines simultaneously to boost winning odds. It dramatically expanded slot betting options https://howtheyblog.com/ read full info here.
Slot developers added rich graphics, animations, themed symbols, and full stereo sound to enhance gameplay excitement and realism. Themed slots based on blockbuster movies packed a visual punch with clips showcased in bonuses. Stereo music built an atmosphere congruent with slot themes.
Slots offering progressive jackpots accumulating into millions from casinos all over became a huge draw. Megabucks from IGT and Wheel of Fortune slots made millionaires with their networked mystery jackpots. It led to intense slot competition among casinos.
IGT launched the first penny video slots with lower minimum bets attracting casual players who found regular slots too expensive. Though penny slots had worse RTP, their affordability made them immensely popular. It expanded the slot demographic beyond hardcore players.
Slots without paylines that paid out for clusters of matching symbols revolutionized gameplay. Match 3 or more adjacent identical symbols to win. Cluster pays opened up strategic options to form multiple winning clusters across reels for bigger payouts.
Video slots introduced expanding wild symbols that enlarge to cover an entire reel in exchange for more symbols in a winning combo. Sticky wilds stuck on reels for another spin amplified wins even further. Walking wilds moving reel-to-reel created more thrills.
Features like Double Up for risking wins on card picks or spins on a wheel offered a chance to double wins. Triple Up and Quadruple Up variants upped the risk-reward factor. Successive wins could be used to leverage into huge amounts adding fun and volatility.