The World’s First Slot Machine
The very first slot machine recorded was named the Liberty Bell and it was launched in 1895 to much wonder and amazement. Inventor Charles Fey brought the game to the masses. It had the traditional ‘one-arm bandit’ appearance that we still see today with an arm on the right-hand side that was pulled downward to spin the reels.
The machine had 3 reels with simple symbols including the familiar playing card symbols of diamonds, clubs, spades, and hearts. It also had a few special symbols like the lucky horseshoe, that if matched up in a sequence would bring a greater reward for the player. Fey knew that it may take people a little time to get used to the game, so he attached a handy guide to the front of each machine that outlined what each symbol was worth and what each combination would return in prizes.
Las Vegas and The First Electronic Machine
As the popularity of gambling increased across the world it gave rise to gambling meccas like Atlantic City and Las Vegas. The slot game was an integral part of this rise and in 1940 the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas ordered it’s very first slot machine.
Over the next 20 years there were small developments to the machines that would create even more interest, but none more so than in 1963 when Bally Manufacturing introduced the first electronic slot machine, Honey Money. This was a watershed moment for slot games manufacturers and casinos as they realised they could become more inventive with their approach to the games and make them appeal to a wider market.
Storylines and Big Money Jackpots
Over the next 20 years slot game developers began to introduce more elaborate approaches to the games. Some that would follow the storyline of big movie releases or focus on fictional characters from video games, but the most influential addition to the slot game during this period was in 1986 with the introduction of the first progressive slot machine, Megabucks. Invented by IGT, it was the first slot to use information from across thousands of different slots to give the chance of winning life-changing sums of money. The Megabucks game is still played today with a jackpot of $10 million.
Online and the Future of Slots
Major developments in slot games have always gone hand in hand with significant technological advancements. None more so than with the rise of the internet and so came the next frontier for slot game developers, the ability for people to play slots on a computer in the comfort of their own home. The online slot market exploded over the next 20 years with great advances in not only the technology being used, but also in the focus on entertainment in slot games. As the landscape became more competitive slot game developers had to get creative to engage users and keep them spinning.
The rise in mobile devices heralded another breakthrough for slot games with the introduction of mobile slots as developers seek to make it easier for players to enjoy their games.