Report from G2E 2009, part 2

22 December 2009

Every year at the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, slot manufacturers show off their latest and greatest wares, the games that will be drawing in the crowds in the coming months.

Some of these already have been approved by regulators and are in casinos. Most are a little farther down the line. Either way, these are a few of the games that caught my eye at G2E 2009:

The Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers, WMS Gaming: The original Wizard of Oz game has been a runaway hit. The follow-up is a feature-rich video game in WMS' Sensory Immersion line, with a Bose speaker-equipped chair for surround-sound and tilting, shaking effects for a full sensory experience. Each of the four main movie characters triggers a different bonus event. Munchkins sing, the Wicked Witch brings thunder and lightning to the screen and, in the best of times, Dorothy enthuses, "It's too wonderful to be true!"

Lord of the Rings, WMS: Based on Peter Jackson's first movie in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic trilogy, Lord of the Rings follows Star Trek in WMS' Adaptive Gaming line. It's a long quest, with chance to unlock up to eight bonus-event packages. Create an identity, and when you play again, you can log back in. The game will remember where you are in pursuing your goals. On the plasma display overhead, a map of Middle Earth, with points on the quest highlighted, along with graphics and video from the first film draw players into the experience.

"Lord of the Rings is a story," WMS executive director or marketing Candace Lucas said. "The theme embodies what was produced in the movies, and the Lord of the Rings game takes you through that epic adventure. The theme is beautiful, the graphics are amazing, and the feedback we've gotten from our customers so far is that they can't wait to see this game on their floors."

Cash Spin and Vegas Hits, Bally Technlolgies: Both games use a nifty piece of technology called U-Spin. On Cash Spin's main bonus event, an image of a prize wheel appears on the screen. Touch the wheel and move your finger, and you can move the wheel forward or backward. A sharp pull of the finger gives the wheel a good spin — it behaves exactly as it would if you were spinning a real wheel.

Vegas Hits features two physical wheels at the top of the unit. In the bonus event, a half-wheel appears on screen. This time, when you spin the virtual wheel by touch, a physical wheel starts spinning up top.

"Probably the most [Bally] popular game at the show and the game that's generated the most buzz has been Cash Spin," Bally director of corporate communication Laura Olson-Reyes said. "What's so unique about it is, it's got what we call U-Spin technology in which the player actually spins the wheel, adding that whole element of interactivity that really doesn't exist today. It also has what we call iReel [for Interactive Reels] technology."

Bally's iReel is similar to WMS' Transmissive Reels technology that has been casinos for a couple of years. A video image can be layered on the clear glass in front of mechanical reels, opening up possibilities to combine video-type bonuses with reel-spinning play.

Blazing Hot Tournament, Bally: Those who have played in slot tournaments will recognize the frenzy surrounding Blazing Hot Tournament. The base game is a five-reel video slot, with the top box featuring three mechanical reels for bonus play that mimics a tournament round. Maximizing potential tournament winnings means fast play — there's a meter at the right side of the screen that rises as you keep the reels spinning.

Beat the Bandits, Aristocrat Technologies: Players get a Wild West experience, down to the woodgrain laminate on the sides of each machine suggesting a saloon door and the curtains opening and closing in the hotel windows in the display above. The button panel is gold rather than silver, and bonus rounds all are in keeping with the theme. You might start with a roll of the dice against Madam Red. If either of you roll doubles, it's on to a secondary bonus — perhaps a shooting contest against Grandma, gunning bottles and cans off the rails. A mystery progressive jackpot starts at $1,000 and must hit by $1,199.

Jeff Foxworthy: Kiss My Cash, Aristocrat: The follow-up to Aristocrat's original Jeff Foxworthy game drew a lot of attention at the expo with its brand of country fun. A Backyard Beer Hunt sends the player searching through junk in the backyard — an old refrigerator, a doghouse, broken-down cars — to find beer for bonuses. In a truck pull, trucks are linked and sent driving in opposite directions, with a bigger bonus when your truck wins. "The game's just funny," Aristocrat director of marketing Doug Fallon said. "It makes you laugh."

Related Links
Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2009

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