Darryl McEwen

{standaloneHead}Darryl McEwen{/standaloneHead}

Pharaoh’s Secret Temple has replaced most of the Danger Arena Video Game Gambling Machines (VGM) in the Wild Wild West Casino at Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana Atlantic City. (Two of the Danger Arena games remain at each of these four locations.)

According to one of the developers of this Egyptian-themed “Match 3”-style game, “players embark on an adventure to unlock the riches of Pharaoh’s Secret Temple by matching gems to collect rare treasures before their time is up.” Think “Candy Crush” or “Bejeweled,” popular games for smart phones, tablets and laptops.

The touch screen allows players to manually swap like-colored “gems” to match at least three in a row of the same symbol, eliminating those gems from the screen and replacing them with new ones, potentially creating further similar matches.

Players can wager as little as $1 per game, or as much as $20, and get 60 seconds to collect as many “treasures” as possible.

The more treasures collected, the higher the payout; however, there is a minimum number of treasures required before even the lowest payout table kicks in.

Designed to appeal to casual gamers and current slot machine players, this newest skill-based game was developed specifically for GameCo’s proprietary VGM platform.

Self-described seasoned “Candy Crush addicts” I spoke to found Pharaoh’s Secret Temple much more appealing than Danger Arena. These players also tended to be older and were experienced slot machine players who frequent casinos on a regular basis.

“I like it, it’s something different,” one woman told me. She called herself a “regular” at Caesars who, up until now, had played only slot machines.

On the other hand, 20-somethings I surveyed were more attracted to Danger Arena. Many expressed frustration over what they consider “amateurish” graphics and design flaws. In particular, they cited the controller used to manipulate the “weapons” required to destroy the robots that appear randomly on the game screen.

Next month, GameCo will debut a basketball-themed game.

In Nothin’ but Net, players hit the court with 16 shots to try to make layups, jump shots, free throws, and half court bombs. Players can choose a male or female player.

Throughout 2017, GameCo expects to release at least 10 new VGM titles, including some based on films like “Mission Impossible,” “Paranormal,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question — without your name — may appear in a future column.

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