This year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), a casino industry trade show, in Las Vegas seemed short on surprises and long on “same old, same old.”
Yes, new slots are getting bigger (see below), brighter and more clever (bet $2, win $1.25, still feels like you’re winning), but one can’t escape the feeling it’s more of the same, despite the decline in revenue generated from slot play.
Still, there were bright spots, and here are five new slots coming to a casino near you we can’t wait to play. Oh, and three that are mind-numbingly stupid, but don’t skip ahead.
1. The Simpsons
The new Simpsons video slot machine was easily the most popular at this year’s Global Gaming Expo. The show’s been on so long, there are generations of fans ready to try their luck.
“Caddyshack” holds a special place in the hearts of movie-goers, and now they can revisit the inspired lunacy of this 1980 classic. Bonus rounds based on your favorite scenes from the movie will bring back memories of a time when feature films actually had scripts.
3. Breaking Bad
Any show that good has to make for a memorable slot machine. Clips from the AMC crime drama play while you build your drug empire.
We’ve waited long enough for a slot machine based upon “Ted,” the story of a foul-mouthed Teddy bear brought to life. Game play involves lots of highlights from the film, including an appearance by Sam J. Jones, star of “Flash Gordon.”
5. Monty Python and The Holy Grail
In another blast from the past, it’s the “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” slot. From what we could tell, the twisted humor from “Holy Grail” translates nicely into the slot machine format, and the words “Killer Bunny” means the slot maker, IGT, didn’t shy away from the juicier bits.
Oh, all right, one runner-up. The “Game of Thrones” was getting some pretty good buzz on the trade show floor, too.
And now for the worst of the worst of the slot machines in display at the Global Gaming Expo. It’s all subjective, of course, but we just happen to be right most of the time, so fair warning.
1. Dumb and Dumber
The name of the slot sort of nails our feelings about this slot machine based upon the original “Dumb and Dumber” movie.
Why are they thinking is the audience for a Cher-inspired slot machine? This game could be the best evidence yet that the slot machine industry is completely out of new ideas.
There’s a new slot machine based upon TMZ (the celebrity news TV show). And, no, this isn’t a joke we mocked up in Photoshop. If there could ever be a dumber idea for a slot machine than one actually called “Dumb and Dumber,” this would be that.
Now, before we leave G2E, we should note the fact there was another bright spot. Specifically, the Gamblit Gaming booth.
Gamblit seems to be on the leading edge of the much-talked-about prospect of slot machines becoming more skill-based, interactive and social. In Las Vegas, Downtown Grand is among the first to partner with Gamblit Gaming, and new games should be appearing in Las Vegas casinos in early to mid-2016.
Gamblit’s booth was bustling throughout our visit to G2E, and attendees seemed to find their games irresistible.
Most notable was Grab Poker. The game is played by four people on what amounts to a large touch screen.
It’s a fast-paced game, and definitely skill-based. Players “grab” cards from the center of the console to build a poker hand. The winning hand wins the pot (less a commission for the casino, of course).
Unfortunately, no video was allowed, so we’re unable to show you the video we took, below.
Whether such games are truly the future of casinos remains to be seen, but experts in the field of casino gambling feel it’s a direction worth exploring.
In the meantime, we’ll stick to our favorite slot machine, Top Dollar. You know, the one that’s interactive (you push buttons), has skill-based bonus rounds, and which we occasionally play with a friend, you know, socially.