Jim Bray's Car & Tech rants - publishing online exclusively since 1995

The Games Making Online Slots Interesting

Slot MachineFor quite a long time, digital slot machines were considered to be somewhat dull. Digital slots can't mimic the satisfaction of pulling a lever in person (which, let's face it, is half the fun). And without that physical aspect to the games, the same old reel themes (lucky 7's, gold bars, etc.) just weren't particularly exciting. Plenty of people played, because slots are fundamentally popular. But there was nothing exciting about the digital offerings — nothing to entice new players.

This has all changed dramatically over the course of the last decade though, as the concept of video game slots (or just "video slots") has evolved. Rather than being dull imitations of casino machines, video slots are now more like other video games, at least visually. They employ all kinds of subject matter, excellent graphics, and exciting effects and mini-games, and as a result they're far more interesting than they once were.

Online slots are something of an ascendant category in gaming as a result of all this, so I thought I'd take a look at some of the titles that exemplify the transformation and showcase the best of modern video slots.

Gonzo's Quest

Gonzo's Quest is highlighted often, and with good reason. A product of the excellent development team at NetEnt, it's one of the first new-age video slots to have garnered significant popularity. The game turns a slot reel into the driving force behind an adventure through Peru during the Age of Exploration (in search of riches, of course). And at this point it's so popular that the titular character Gonzo (a cartoon conquistador) is used almost the way Nintendo uses Mario — as a sort of mascot for the broader slot category. Additionally, an article from VR Focus a few years ago noted that Gonzo's Quest even led the charge of modern slots making their way into virtual reality! It is in every sense the flagship game of online slot machines in 2021.

Nero's Fortune

Nero's Fortune follows in the tradition of Gonzo's Quest in that it is similar modern in its look and feel, and it embraces a dramatic chapter of history. The game revolves around dramatic backgrounds of a burning Rome (Nero being the Roman Emperor who according to legend fiddled while the city burned), as well as a sort of soldier version of the famously wicked ruler. Beyond its pure quality and specific intrigue though, Nero's Fortune also exemplifies a trend in casino slots, which is to highlight whole eras of history. In this case it's Ancient Rome — a setting that has been popular in gaming since early Age Of Empires expansion packs and Civilization games, and which still thrives today in console games, mobile apps, and now a whole collection of slots in the spirit of Nero's Fortune. Similarly though, there are also lots of slots concerning Ancient Egypt, as well as a fair few about the Viking Age.

Ali Baba's Luck

I'm highlighting Ali Baba's Luck because it appears to be the latest high-quality slot reel to emerge leading a handful of mythology-themed games (as opposed to those based in history). Ali Baba's Luck stands at the forefront of several slots on Foxy Games (including Sahara Riches, Djinn Of Storms, and Djinn's Moon) that all bring the myths of Aladdin and Arabian Nights to life. They do so in similarly vibrant fashion to the Gonzo and Nero games, and in doing so help to establish another sub-genre of new-age slots that bring well-known fantasies to life. The other key examples of this sort would be the Age Of The Gods games, all of which concern various aspects of ancient Greek mythology.

Tetris Extreme

In an entirely different vein from that of the games mentioned above, Tetris also highlights a growing trend in today's digital slots, which is that they're imitating existing, popular video games. This particular example essentially replaces a regular slot reel with a board reminiscent of Tetris, in such a fashion that falling pieces determine wins rather than spinning wheels. It's not exactly like playing Tetris, but it feels like a fresh, fun version of the game. This, alongside games based on Monopoly, popular quiz shows, Cluedo, and more makes for a trend that specifically reaches out to gamers who already adore the standard versions of those titles.

Hell's Kitchen

The TV show Hell's Kitchen starring the famously animated chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay may be past its heyday, but it's still a remarkably popular program. Just this past winter, a Deadline ratings roundup in fact cited the show as a Thursday night ratings winner, giving some indication of just how many people are still watching. This, by extension, speaks to just how wise it is of casino slot developers to build a game around the show. Alongside games based on Deal Or No Deal, Downton Abbey and more, this game represents another trend of outreach to fans of specific subject matter. Truthfully the game itself isn't quite as smooth or attractive as the others cited here. But its role in keeping modern slots interesting is undeniable.


These games and the trends they represent have combined to turn online slots into a much more interesting category of modern gaming.


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