Universal Entertainment Corporation Slot machines – Universal Lease Company Slots
The Universal Entertainment Corporation has gone through a variety of names and several leaders over the years, but this prolific producer of some of the most popular slot machines that the casino industry has ever seen has made a relatively recent change to bring it closer to its roots. After more than a decade of doing business under the Aruze Corporation’s logo during the first few years of the new millennium, the company switched their name back to one that was more similar to its original moniker, Universal Lease Company, Ltd, in November of 2009.
Universal Entertainment Corporation’s History
The business was initially established in Japan in 1968 as a regional leasing service dealing exclusively with jukeboxes, but within just a few years the name of the new company was altered due to an expansion into the manufacture of its own line of slot machine games. In 1971, the Universal Lease Company became known instead as simply the Universal Company, Inc. and during the years that followed, slot machines were distributed by the firm under the names Universal Sales Company, Ltd. and Universal Manufacturing Company. Universal Distributing of Nevada was also used by the brand in order to market slot machine games throughout the later part of the twentieth century.
In 1998, a merger between Universal Sales Company and its sister development division, Universal Technos Company, ended with the renaming of the resulting corporation as the Aruze Corporation. In 2000, another merger took place, with Mizuho Manufacturing and Electrocoin Japan Company, Inc. In an effort to do a better job of linking their newer products with the popular Universal machines of the past forty years, the company once again changed its name in 2009, this time to the Universal Entertainment Corporation. Throughout the myriad of changes that were made over the years to both the name and the leadership of the company, however, the fundamental goal of the company has always remained the same. They strive to produce games that will be more fun for players and that will create a unique enough gambling experience that they will want to return to Universal machines again and again. In fact, it has been the long-standing ability of the company’s games to draw gamblers and to keep them entertained that has held it in good stead throughout its many changes through the years.
Early Universal Slot Machines
During its time producing names under the Universal Sales brand, the business designed, manufactured and distributed some of the most well-known slot machines in casinos all over the world. Games featuring this brand name were produced early in the company’s history and titles in this era include the Americana series of games, from Americana 15 to Americana Bonus Win. The Americana Mark V and Americana Twin round out the most familiar titles in this popular series of machines.
Other games that were put out during this time under the Universal name were the Cherry Blossom slot machine, with a sweet cherry theme and plenty of applied ornamentation. The El Toro games featured a more modern look, but retained the Universal quality and all of the action that casino patrons had come to expect from the company’s slot machine offerings. Dynamite and the Golden Eagle game are also remnants of the Universal Sales days, providing players with both excitement and the chance to win on the most modern games of their time.
The popular Red Bar games included Red Bar 5-Coin Multiplier and Red Bar Five Line Play, both of which were familiar sights in many casinos in their time. Finally, the company put out the Tropicana 7-7-7 games, a staple of casinos all over the world for years following their introduction.
Maximum Midas Touch and the Double Criss Cross games were also proven winners for Universal, as were Wild Orchid, Light a Lamp and the Triple Mouse Trap machines. Other well-known titles include Dandy Jam, Phantom Spin and Crazy Condor, but there were literally dozens of games that Universal distributed over the years that can still be found in both public and private collections. The Flipper game that was based on the beloved tv show of the same name featured a dolphin theme that delighted players and made it a perennial favorite in casinos for a very long time after its launch in the 1980’s.
The Universal Ultra Series
In the mid-1990’s, in a bid to compete with the newer upstarts that were entering the lucrative slot machine production industry, Universal developed a lineup of games called the Ultra Series that featured a more modern look and sound system. This series included machines with basic two and three-coin functions like Wonder Bar, Double Marquise, Twin Cherries and Triple Crowns, but it also had some games with extra special features. Title Match and AfterShock both had a nudge on the third reel, while Jackpot 7’s, Cool 7’s and Sterling 7’s all provided a fourth coin bonus. Double Lightening, meanwhile, offered five lines of play and the Hot Doubles, Fiery Doubles and Total Impact games provided the chance to play up to five coins. Some of these bonuses had seldom or never been seen in slot machines before, making the company a leader in the development of new ways to allow players to wager higher amounts. Universal also made custom games in this series for some casinos, with the Soaring Eagle Casino in Michigan commissioning Ultra titles like Eagle Millions and Eagle Magic, both of which are collector’s items today.
Today, Universal Entertainment has turned its company’s focus to producing the Japanese variety of games known as pachinko and pachislots for the fast-growing Asian market. With their history as an industry pioneer in the field of slot machine manufacturing, however, there is little doubt that Universal Entertainment Corporation will ever stop being associated with the game form that they built their business on. Still widely respected amongst their peers for their contributions to the game, this business can count on a permanent and prominent place in the annals of slot machine history.