2008 Global Gaming Expo, part 3

23 December 2008

When it comes to community-style gaming, everyone seems to have a different idea of just how to make slot machines a more social experience.

In launching its Community Gaming product line a couple of years ago, WMS Gaming went for a "we're all in this together" approach, with all players going to a bonus event together, all rooting for the same outcome. International Game Technology, with Wheel of Fortune Super Spin, and A.C. Coin, with Super Bankroll, went a different route. Players sit around a huge wheel or Bankroll cylinder, but while more than one player CAN get in on a bonus spin, not everyone qualifies at once, and players at different positions get different bonuses.

The formats are evolving. At November's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, WMS added a competitive element in Reel 'Em In: Compete to Win. IGT has a timer, telling players when a bonus event is coming and hurrying them to collect entries in its Star Wars community game. And Bally Technologies has a game for those whose preferred community has room for just two in its new DualVision product.

Let's take a look at some of the community-style slots that were on display at G2E, games we can look for in the coming months:

WMS Gaming: In Reel 'Em In Compete to Win, the bonus round is a fishing derby, and everybody wins bonus credits. Each fish is assigned a point value. When a big-value fish swims onto the plasma screen overhead, the anticipation builds as players wonder if it'll bite — and whose fisherman will reel it in. The player with the most points at the end of the round not only wins the accumulated credits, but gets an extra bonus reward for winning the derby.

Powerball Power Seat is a win-together game, but one seat at a bank is designated the Power Seat, and the player at that machine has bonus winnings multiplied by 10. And WMS is the first slotmaker to offer a community-style video poker game. In Big Event Poker a two-credit side bet gives you a chance at going to a bonus event that can be triggered by any player at the bank of games. There are five bonus events, including Big Event Four to a Royal, in which every player at the bank starts with four cards to a royal flush. Each then gets a random draw out of a separate deck of the remaining 48 cards — each has 1 in 48 chance at a royal.

IGT: In the Star Wars community game, the bonus event is timed to go off every eight minutes. Only players who have earned entries go to the Speeder Chase event, so it's important to keep spinning right up until event time. The winner of the chase not only gets bonus credits, but advances into a round of destroying enemy ships for a chance at the five-level progressive jackpots.

Bally: DualVision is a slot machine built for two. There's a wide chair for two to sit, and there are two sets of video reels on the screen. Even though players may wager different amounts, there is one credit meter — clearly, this is for husband-wife, significant others or good friends who are willing to play off a common bankroll. Game play is independent, but when one triggers the bonus round, both get bonus play. Should both trigger the bonus event at the same time, payoffs are doubled. For now, both players must play the same game, an initial release called Two for the Money. Under consideration is the possibility of allowing choices of different games, even allowing one to play video poker while the other plays a video slot.

Konami: Beat the Field is four-level mystery progressive, available in both reel stepper and video formats. The main bonus event is a horse-racing run for the roses, with players allocated horses based on bet level. The winner in each race brings a progressive, while other players win consolation credits. Everyone wins something together, but the better your horse or horses finish in the race, the more bonus you'll collect.

Atronic: New to the community gaming field, Atronic turned to one of its most successful titles, Deal or No Deal. The community-style slot based on the hit TV game show features the suitcase bonus round with a touch of competition. Players choose their suitcases — multiple players can choose the same case, or all can choose different cases as the starting point for making their deal for the best bonus reward. Like IGT's Star Wars game, there's a timed aspect to the bonus round. At G2E, the game was set to trigger an event every six minutes. In the casinos, it'll usually be set for every 12 minutes. Only active players who have collected qualifying prizes are eligible — no jumping in at 11 minutes, 45 seconds just sticking around for the bonus event.

Related Links
Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2008

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.