Since 2011, the Global Gaming Expo has been held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. It gives businesses an opportunity to showcase their new products and discuss the future of gambling around the world. This year’s rendition took place in early October at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, where a host of slot machine makers set the stage for the latest and greatest in press-to-play gaming. Of all the new games and sleek designs on hand, one thing was clear – themed slots are all the rage.
Throughout time, themed slot machines have always garnered interest from developers and players alike. Walk into any casino, or log onto your favorite online gambling destination, and you can expect to find hundreds of video slots with themes ranging from the Jurassic era to futuristic symbolism. Every popular topic seems to be on the menu, whether its science fiction, fantasy, sports, wealth or movie/television related.
This year, popular TV shows and Hollywood blockbuster films were the number one slot machine theme on the menu, whether they are current or not. For example, the beloved television series ‘Friends’ will soon be appearing in casinos around the globe as a slot machine. Bazinga! (based on Big Bang Theory), Britney (Spears, of course), Duck Dynasty, Family Guy, Sons of Anarchy and even Ellen (DeGeneres) made the cut. The most talked about movie-themed slot machine is based on The Lord of the Rings, which opens the window for plenty of sequels in the near future.
New and interesting designs were also showcased at G2E this year. The Britney slot machine, for instance, is presented in a concave design that reaches nearly twice as high as the head of the average player when seated in an ultra-cushy, pink framed seat depicting the musical talent’s visage on the back. The new Bazinga! Slot is so large it features two slot machines per encasement, with a massive ‘Wheel-of-Fortune-esque’ contrivance as the central focus of the topmost design, plus slightly smaller individual wheels above each screen.
One of the most intriguing new slots designs was not a game at all, but rather the seat in which a traditional slots player would cozy up in. It had no genuine name for it, so we’ll call it the ‘shiny green slot player’s privacy pod’ for now. If that designation didn’t give you a visual idea of its design, it’s perfectly spherical in shape, with a relatively small, round opening suited to give players just enough room to hang their legs out, wiggle their elbows and see the slot’s screen. We’re not exactly sure what the purpose of this futuristic seat would be, other than privacy, hiding one’s appearance in the casino from other patrons. Perhaps anonymity goes a longer way than we thought, but if that’s the case, it seems a comfortable seat on the couch playing online slots from home would be more suitable.
On a final note, the presence of childhood themed slot machines at the 2014 Global Gaming Expo was a bit of a disappointment. While I have fond memories of cartoons like The Jetsons and Flintstones just as much as the next 35+ guy, to theme a gambling amusement around youth-oriented entertainment sounds more like fodder for anti-gambling activists than a good way to draw crowds at the casino.