Although there were similar machines around beforehand, the first slot machine that operates in the way we see today was built in 1894 by a man named Charles Fey. At the time, there were games that worked in a similar way to slot machines, but they required an attendant to award prizes as there was no mechanism for that aspect of the game to be automated.
As a mechanic, working with farm machinery, Fey saw the opportunity to create a machine that could pay out winnings automatically. This made the game more appealing to saloon owners who didn’t need to employ operatives to pay out winnings, and to players who could enjoy the instant thrill of a win when the symbols matched.
Fey’s version soon became hugely popular and proliferated throughout the world, earning fans wherever the machines were installed. The fact that players with no experience could pick up the game instantly gave them an appeal that continues to this day.
All over the world, the market for slot machines has continued to grow and flourish, so it’s no surprise that the digital revolution has seen them become one of the top online games as well. While the one-armed bandits of old offered the thrill of an instant win, online slots have retained all the excitement and charm of their offline counterparts, but with plenty of added fun as well.
The world of online slots
The first video slot machine was introduced in Las Vegas in 1976, and the swift progress of technology meant that online slots followed shortly after in 1996. Developers came up with increasingly sophisticated software so that players could enjoy an authentic slot experience, but with the added enhancements that digitisation allowed.
As technology became more and more accessible, the popularity of online slots increased dramatically, creating an entire multi-million dollar industry. This allowed for increased investment into new games, and soon developers were coming up with new and engaging ways to ensure that the slots experience kept up with the rest of the world of online gaming.
Designers started to incorporate elements of popular culture into their games, using tropes from the biggest TV shows, films, and even musical sensations that have captured the imaginations of the public. This allowed the industry to support a lot of different slot games, and as the market grew, so did players’ appetites for different formats, themes, and playing options, including:
- Classic slots – these work in a very similar way to the original slot machines found in casinos
- Multi-pay line slots – these have several different options for winning and pay out on anything between nine and one hundred different combinations
- Bonus games – these require the player to complete a specific action in order to win a specific prize or, sometimes, to unlock a mini game with its own bonus such as free spins or a jackpot prize
- Progressive slots – the prizes in this kind of slot grow incrementally bigger as the players move through the game. These can be stand-alone slots in which the prizes increase as players bet on that particular game, linked games that include a few different games that contribute to the prize total, and wide-area games where several players in different locations can all build up the jackpot.
- Megaways slots – these offer more ways to win than most other formats, with a large number of icons showing on the reels to provide a high number of winning combinations as they pay out whenever there are matching symbols on adjacent reels.
With such a variety of options available, anyone can find a slot game that suits their playing style. Whether you want to play shorter games with regular pay-outs, or prefer the excitement of building up to a big jackpot, there is a slot game to suit every playing style.
The future of online slots
With the number of people playing online slots showing no signs of slowing down, games designers are continuing to innovate when it comes to creating new games. By adopting new technology and incorporating cutting edge design techniques into their games, slots are maintaining their appeal among even the most discerning gamers.
Along with other games, slots designers are using virtual reality and 3D design to create games that allow players to have a truly immersive gaming experience. With top of the range graphics, detailed animations, studio-quality sound effects, and a host of other features, gamers can expect to enjoy the kind of high-quality slots experience that other video games are famous for.
As an industry that has attracted a huge fan base among global gaming audiences, slots have had to adapt and adjust to ensure that their players are getting the most enjoyable experience possible.