For more than 60 years, Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has been developing pokies for casinos and other gaming establishments all over the world. Based out of Australia, the poker machine manufacturer has released some of the most famous gambling cabinets in the business, including one of its newest games, The Walking Dead. As of late last month, one man from Texas, known only as Jonh U., has become the world’s biggest fan of the poker machine after spinning the reels to the tune of $670,280.00 at a Las Vegas casino.
Hailing from Richland Hills, TX, John was in Las Vegas that day on business. Having booked his room at the off-Strip Sunset Station Hotel Casino in Henderson, John found himself wandering the gaming floor with some extra time to kill before handling his duties. Before long, the Texas man found the attractive new poker machine, The Walking Dead, based on the hit AMC television series of the same name. The next thing John knew, his idle entertainment had turned into a windfall of cash as he struck the life-altering Grand Jackpot on the Wheel Bonus, awarding a massive $670,280 prize.
The post-apocalyptic TV series first aired in 2010, garnering the acclaim of critics and viewers around the globe, heralded as “Blood-spattered, emotionally resonant, and white-knuckle intense, The Walking Dead puts an intelligent spin on the overcrowded zombie subgenre.” Thanks to Aristocrat’s reputation for delivering superior graphics and gameplay in all of its poker machine products, it’s not surprising that the pokies version of the series received similar praise.
In December of 2013, fans of the show were already anticipating the impending launch of The Walking Dead poker machine. When it first hit casino floors across North America in January of 2014, zombie enthusiasts came out in droves to experience the new game. It’s popularity soared over the next month as 13.3 million fans of the AMC series anticipated the start of the new season. The Australian pokies manufacturer’s hard work really paid off in September when The Walking Dead was named ’Casino Product of the Year’ at the Global Gaming Awards.
The poker machine is packed with all of the most popular characters from the television show, especially the gore-dripping, cerebrally ravenous undead. With 4 tiers of 6 reels to start, The Walking Dead poker machine features a unique ‘Reel Growth’ in which the middle four reels can expand skyward to display up to 7 tiers of reels, creating for many more potential wins. There is no set number of paylines, with all directions being active and winnings based on the player’s chosen bet size, which can range anywhere from 50 to 300 credits. Note that a 75 credit minimum is required to activate in-game bonuses, while the max 300 credit wager qualifies players to win the Grand Jackpot, just as John. U did a few weeks ago.
When the Wheel Bonus is activated by landing three or more scatters on the reels, the player is whisked through the zombie-packed streets to a vibrant wheel (reminiscent of Wheel of Fortune), where the zombies turn and cheer the player to munificent victory. The wheel contains everything from credits and free spins to the CDC Wheel and a range of jackpot payouts; Mini, Minor, Major and Grand. The Grand Jackpot awards the highest prize, starting at $500,000.
The CDC Wheel is a vertical spinner that starts with 3 ‘Pick’ targets. The player pushes on one of the targets, revealing how many free spins they will receive. The CDC Wheel contains a multitude of character symbols, each awarding free credits of some size. A few Walker Bonuses are also found on the reel to give the player more bonus spins. Landing on a grenade may sound like a bad thing, but in reality, it explodes the next four slots on the wheel, delivering all four prizes in one.