You might think that all slot machines are the same when you get down to the nitty gritty. Many of them use very similar gameplay and designs, with different bonus rounds, payouts and themes to set one slot apart from the next. However, the truth is that there is a broad range of slot machine types, with some differing hugely from others. In this article we will take a look at them, covering both online slots and offline slots, and letting you know which ones you should seek out and which ones you’ll probably want to avoid.
Progressive Slot Machines
Progressive slot machines can be created in any number of styles, including all of the game types mentioned on this list and more. There are even progressive slot machines out there that use the video poker setup. This is because all it takes to qualify as a progressive slot machine is the addition of a “progressive” jackpot. That is to say, a jackpot that get keeps getting bigger and bigger as more money is added to the pot.
The size of the jackpots change all of the time and are dependent on the individual game, the payout rate and whether the jackpot has recently been won or not. Progressive jackpots do not require the player to line-up any specific symbols, nor are they released at the end of features and bonus rounds. They are trigged at random and can be won during any spin. Every spin that you make on these games serves to build the progressive jackpot higher, with a small percentage of the money from each spin being added to the total. As you can imagine, with thousands of people playing the same games, many of whom are playing at a higher stake, some of these jackpots build very quickly and very highly.
Progressive slot machines are popular with gamblers who like to play lotteries and bingos, because they are essentially given a free lottery ticket for every spin that they make. And when you consider that some progressives can go as high as $20 million, with many of them offering at least a few hundred thousand, you begin to understand just why so many players are attracted for them. The first ever progressive slot machine was created by Microgaming and titled Cash Splash. That game is actually still available to this day, along with many other variants created by many different developers. There are also offline versions, such as the Megabucks machine, which has paid out a number of jackpots over the $30 million mark.
Bonus Slot Machines
These slots are some of the most popular in online casinos, representing the new generation of slots. Bonus slots are simply slot machines that come with bonus rounds. These are often triggered by lining up at least 3 scatter symbols or bonus symbols, at which point the player entered into a bonus round. This round usually offers them a higher return, with many bonus rounds paying out between 3x and 100x the stake. They cost nothing extra to play and they range greatly in style, with some allowing the player to interact in point-and-click rounds whereby they make a choice between a number of options and reveal a hidden amount, others paying randomly and others simply offering free spins.
One of the biggest bonus slot machines out there, and also one of the first, is Rainbow Riches. This is available in both online and offline casinos and is widely regarded as the most popular slot machine in both of those forms. There are two bonus rounds on Rainbow Riches, as well as a couple of other features. These multiple features are very common, and on slot machines like South Park you will find about 4 different bonus rounds and 4 different random features.
It seems that the new generation of slot fans demand bonus rounds, and flock to slots that have the most and the best of them. Therefore, this is the area that many developers are concentrating on the most and it is the area in which we can expect to see the most improvements over the next few years, at least until a new type of slot machine is launched that attracts players even more than bonus slots do.
Classic Slot Machines
Classic slot machines are simple games with single pay-lines. These are the slot machines of old, the ones that only display three lines of symbols at a time, with two of those line often cut in half and the remaining one sitting in the middle and acting as the pay-line. This means that to win at one of these games you need a straight line, which would make it more difficult if not for the fact that there are usually only three reels and the number of symbols are also limited. The image of the classic slot machine that has endured throughout pop culture is one of three “7” or “Bar” symbols being lined-up and triggering a huge payout. This is basically the way that slot machines operated for many decades, although they have somewhat faded from the modern game.
Classic slot machines are also known as fruit machines, and in some cases these two are classed as two different game types. However, considering they both use similar symbols, with the same number of reels and lines, there is very little separating them.
Classic slots do not appeal to many modern players. They might offer some nostalgic value for some older players, but even then, if you want the best pay-outs, with big bonuses and a lot more, then you should probably avoid classic slot machines.
Loyalty Slot Machines
More common in offline casinos than they are in online casinos, loyalty slot machines are available in both. They are far from being the most popular slot machine type, but they do attract large numbers of slot machine fans.
These games operate on a large game-screen, with many reels and symbols. Some of these are greyed out and there are also symbols that can be illuminated. This is a collecting game, and one that rewards regular play. Basically, the game tries to get you to play as much as possible, and the rewards that come later are significantly greater and easier to achieve than the awards that come earlier. This is not a slot that you want to jump in and out of, because your chances of getting any sort of return from minimal and transient play are very slim.
Loyalty slot machines can come in other forms as well, such as the Monopoly online slot created by Playtech. This allowed players to unlock Monopoly cash and features, which meant they were offered more prizes and bigger prizes once they made it to the bonus round.
Multiplayer Slot Machines
A fairly new invention, multiplayer slot machines are a very fun way to get your slot fix.
These games involve many players playing at the same time and tend to feature a game that is very similar to a bonus slot machine, with 5 reels and multiple pay-lines.
One of the biggest online multiplayer slot machines to be released in the last few years is the Playboy slot. This allows 5 players to play at once, each with their own game and their own reels. Every time you play, you add to a multiplier. The more you pay per spin and the more you play, the higher this multiplier increases. If you stop, slow or decrease your stake, then the multiplier drops. As soon as any of the players trigger a bonus round by lining up at least 3 of the bonus symbols, then everyone goes to the bonus round and their multipliers come into being. The instances of bonus rounds are much higher on this slot due to the nature of the game, and it is very easy to win a lot of money playing it.
As this industry continues to expand, and as the software to allow many players to play on the same game gets better and faster, then more multiplayer slot machines will be released and this game type will grow.
Although they can come in many forms, including bonus slots thanks to their bonus rounds, a video slot is actually a slot that is defined by the symbols it uses. Rather than using standard symbols, ones that have been installed as still images, a video slot machine uses symbols that are still to begin with, but become animated when the user activates them in a pay-line. This applies to all images. The animations can be simple and quick, or slightly more complex, depending on the game.
Video slots are a new invention and can be found both online and offline. Some of the latest ones have included the fairy tale themed slots Miss White and Miss Red, which both have an Expanding Pay-line feature that activates a small in-reel video when it is triggered.