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Didn't Slots Used To Be Fun?
Written by Matt Summers   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 15:21

Have you played any online slots games recently? Of course you have. It seems like there is a new one released every two or three days or so.

OK, so let me ask a different question: Have you played a new online slot recently? If the answer is yes, then I'd be very interested to know what you thought of it. Specifically, I would like to know if you feel that - like me - the games are becoming less and less fun to play.

Don't get me wrong: the quality of the opening animations, the symbols on the reels and the look of the bonus rounds has increased many, many times from what you might have expected to see in very early video slots. However, this is all just peripheral. It's nice to have, it makes the game attractive to look at but it doesn't make the slot more compelling on its own.

Take, for example, Creature from the Black Lagoon - a recent Net Entertainment game based on the classic horror movie of the same name. There is an introductory animation that is state of the art and the graphics and background music of the game itself really do give it that retro 50s horror feel. It looks great. It sounds great. But, actually, it's rubbish.

The reason it's rubbish is that, as a slot game, it's just boring. You can spin and spin and spin the reels over and over again and all you'll get are tiny little wins that are way less than your originating bet. With this game, all the potential big wins are in the bonus round and that bonus round triggers once every blue moon. This means that the game itself quickly becomes tedious and just not fun to play.

It's not just Creature from the Black Lagoon. I could name 25-30 slots released in the last year that are equally dull. Endless dead spins and insignificant wins are not a combination that any slots player wants to encounter.

If I had to speculate on why this is, I have two theories. One is that these kind of games attract the casual gambler and if they put enough of them out there, then the profits made by the casinos will be proportionately high.

The second theory (and far more likely, in my opinion) is that the people who are actually creating the slot in the first place are no longer casino-industry professionals but graphic designers, social gaming developers and the like. This has meant that the types of games being released don't meet the needs of true slots gamblers as they used to.

For me, it has come as a bit of a surprise that the slot I've enjoyed most in the last month has been a classic slot game called Double Sixteen. This has no bonus round, no animations or zingy graphics and, indeed, it is this game that was the inspiration for this article.

What, I believe, slots players want from a game is actually pretty simple. They want to enjoy the base game. There. That's it. They don't care about bonus rounds with maximum wins of hundred thousands of coins as they know the chances of triggering the bonus at all are low. Too many slots developers are putting all the potential return to player into bonus rounds that many players will never see. The result: boring games that look pretty but don't get people returning day after day.

By all means, keep moving forward with animations, fancy-schmancy graphics and so on. But remember that the slots that get the most returning players are those that pay out once in a while. Not in some bonus feature that won't hit for 500 spins. In the base game. More time should be spent on features like NextGen Gaming's 'gamble your win' option where you have a chance to double of quadruple a winning bet. More thought should go into the coin sizes of winning combinations in the regular game. No one wants to look at the paytable to find that every three or four of a kind win pays less than your bet.

In my opinion, online slots are going down the wrong path. More effort needs to be placed in making the base game enticing. That is all it needs to make slots fun again and to keep those all-important players coming back for more.


Matt Summers is chief writer at SlotsUniverse.net, the online slots portal. Visit http://www.slotsuniverse.net for free play demos, honest and frank reviews and all things online slot related.

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