I’m not talking about “America’s Next Top Model,” but the new generation of slot machines on display last month at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas.
G2E offered a glimpse of what players soon may be seeing in their favorite casinos.
Entering another dimension: First there was Sphinx 3D, then 3D editions of Dragon’s Temple, Plants & Zombies, Bejeweled and Dreams of Asia. Now look for in-your-face versions of Baywatch, Zuma, Wheel of Fortune and my favorite, Jurassic World. Incorporating clips from the film, those dinosaurs really pop when you hit certain bonuses. I defy you not to jump and turn your head the first time it happens. And, if 3D is not enough, watch for Sphinx 4D. Using similar graphics, but heightening the illusion — you’d swear the cabinet must be six-feet deep — the technology allows you literally to reach out and “grab” a symbol in mid-air and “toss” it back into the machine. You really have to experience it to understand the “wow” factor.
Screen gems: Movies have always been good source material for slot machines, and this year was no exception. From classics like “Casablanca” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” to odd choices like “My Cousin Vinny” and “The Big Lebowski,” also look for “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Anchorman.”
TV favorites — Current and syndicated television shows like “The Voice,” “The Bachelor,” “Sharknado,” “Seinfeld,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “The X-Files” now have their own machines.
Big wheel keep on turning — Like kids playing with blocks, slot machine designers are combining two, three, four and more monitors — both horizontal and vertical, then adding one, two or three spinning wheels. Candyland — with four screens and three wheels — has so much going on you don’t know where to look first.
One more time: Look for new twists on the Ellen, Michael Jackson and the Ghostbusters franchises. There’s even Cleopatra Plus. However, with its 200+ versions, no machine is even close to duplicating the success of Wheel of Fortune.
White on: Who’s the last person you’d think to see on a slot machine? She’s everywhere else, so why not Betty White’s Story Time and Tall Tales, a series of fairy tale-themed machines?
You’ve seen their shows, now play their games — Tim McGraw, Mariah Carey and Penn & Teller have joined Britney Spears, David Copperfield and Cher by lending their names, images and voices to branded slot machines.
Read more about G2E in two weeks.
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.