By Mitch Rice
When slots were first invented in the 19thcentury, the symbols chosen to fill the reels were naturally associated with other forms of gambling, such as card games and these were already familiar to the public. This is why the first symbols on slots were card faces and these were combined with lucky charms such as horseshoes and bells – click to play online.
Gambling bands, unfortunately, put the brakes on the further development of slot games, for several years. To survive, slots disguised themselves as family-friendly sweet dispensing vending machines. Under this form, all symbols associated with gambling were replaced by fruits. When bans were lifted, fruit symbols took on a life of their own and remained on gambling slots. This gave birth to the fruit-themed slot and it is still present in today’s era of high-tech video slots.
The first electrical slot was introduced in 1963 and Money Honey by Bally opened the gates to more sophisticated slots that could be more experimental with slot symbol creation. The Fortune Coin Company was involved with the next major innovation in slots and they incorporated a 19-inch Sony colour TV in the very first video slot. This was used to display the reels and new symbols such as sevens were introduced to them. IGT brought out the Fortune Coin Company in 1978 and added visual effects to the video slots, but no strong themes were visible in these games. It wasn’t until the birth of online video slots that slot themes took off. Finally, technology had arrived in 1996 that could produce the symbols needed to create proper themes within slot games.
Video Slot Success
The virtual video slot became such a huge hit that demand for these games by the gambling public and online casinos, helped fuel the creation of slot design houses. The creative teams behind these studios had the technology and money needed to create more extravagant slot games. All that was needed was an inspiration, and what better place to find this, than the world around them. Soon, history, animals, popular culture, and myths and legends were being exploited by slot creators and this gave birth to various slot themes.
The Most Popular Themes
Ancient history and the animal kingdom front many a slot theme and even myths have spawned hugely popular slot games. Playtech has built an entire empire of slots on Greek mythology alone and as slots get more advanced, so does the way themes are expressed within these games.
The success of slots has meant that slot developers have generated enough wealth to be able to approach Hollywood and other produces of mass popular culture with certain deals for rights to popular franchises. This is why we now have slots based on TV shows cartoons and numerous blockbuster movies. Superheroes are part of the boom in movie-themed slots and the stars of the movies themselves, are also the stars on the reels. With so much material out there to borrow from, themed slots look like they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.