50 Lions Slot Machines
50 Lions slot machines were first produced by Australian game designer Aristocrat in 2002. This game is a five reel video slot that accepts wagers on as many as fifty pay lines per spin, the first Aristocrat title to use a fifty line arrangement.
Aristocrat has since released four other fifty line games, including a title nearly identical to 50 Lions aimed at the unique Asian gambling market, called 50 Dragons. Aristocrat also made a deal with a major Internet casino game designer to put this popular Aussie original at the fingertips of Internet gamblers.
The continued popularity of this title has to do with more than its massive number of available pay lines. Yes, it was the first land-based machine to take bets and pay jackpots on fifty individual lines, but a slot doesn’t stay popular because of a gimmick. More than a decade later, 50 Lions games can still be found on casino floors all over the world, not just at casino resorts in the game’s home nation.
Now that other designers are releasing titles with even larger numbers of pay lines, 50 Lions and its fifty lines (get it?) are still drawing attention at casino slot banks. The game has another standout feature besides the unheard of (at the time) fifty line structure – each of the five reels has four symbols instead of just three, as a way to accommodate the new fifty pay line setup. Other game features are common for video bonus games: a wild symbol, a scatter symbol, and a chance to win free spins.
Another reason for the title’s continued popularity is a betting range that can be set low enough to allow penny gamblers and those with larger bankrolls to play at a wager they’re comfortable with. Wagering on fifty lines can get expensive fast – to ease the pressure on players to drop big bets per round, the coin size is set at $0.01 apiece. Since each line accepts between one and ten coins, gamblers who want to increase their bet-per-spin amount can do so by adjusting the number of coins as well as the number of lines they bet on. Yes, limiting coin values to a penny could be a bit limiting, but lots of room for bet variety exists between the smallest possible bet of $0.01 (one coin on one line) to the top wager of $5 per spin (ten $0.01 coins on all fifty lines).
Yes, 50 Lions is based on a safari theme, and most of the reel symbols reflect that. But as is common with video bonus slot games, the designers include a set of reel symbols based on high-value playing cards. The use of playing card images is actually where Australians get their nickname for the one-armed bandits; they’ve been called “pokies” or “poker machines” in Australia for at least as long as the game’s designer, Aristocrat, has been in business, going back five or six decades. This is similar to the reason
why slots in the UK are called “fruit machines” because of the use of symbols like cherries, bananas, and grapes. The cards used are a safari-styled 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.
Other images are developed to match the rest of the game – players hope to line up combinations of lions, zebras, giraffes, and all sorts of other African flora and fauna to win payouts. The most valuable reel symbol is the king of the jungle himself, the lion. Since the lion symbol is stacked, he appears on all of the symbol slots on a given reel. That means that it is technically possible to fill the game’s screen with lion symbols, which would be the biggest fixed jackpot in the game by far. Since one pay line of lions is worth 1,000 credits, five lines would be worth an instant prize of 5,000 credits.
The game’s wild symbol is represented by a diamond, oddly enough. You don’t normally think of diamonds in a jungle or on a safari, but at the same time you don’t normally think of playing cards in those situations either. Diamonds substitute for all other symbols (besides the flower scatter symbol) to form winning combinations. Diamonds do have to appear on an active pay line in order to pay off.
Free Spins Bonus
Speaking of the scatter symbol – the jungle flower scatter appears on the first three reels only, but if two of them appear on any line (active or not) they lead to a special scatter pay out. Players lucky enough to land three flower scatters on any line on the first three reels will trigger the free spins bonus round.
All bettors earn ten free spins when three scatters appear and trigger this bonus round. Take note of the unique way that wild symbols are added to the mix – during all the free spin rounds, a single wild diamond symbol is added one at a time to reels 2, 3, 4 and 5. Each free spin leads to an additional wild diamond symbol placed one underneath the other, which forms a row of wild symbols, one for each reel. Because wilds can also appear naturally, as symbols spun by the player, as many as sixteen wild diamonds can appear as early as the third free spin round.
This bonus free spins round can be re-triggered, though only once and it will only reward five more free rounds of play. Re-triggering this game requires the appearance of three flower scatters at any time during the free rounds of play. Between the stacked lions, the free wild symbols, and the ability to re-trigger this round with more scatters, the bonus game is where bettors stand to earn the largest winnings.