Casino games as a source of hobby date back hundreds of years. Most of the games we play now are evolved versions of whatever the original form was. In a modern-day scenario, when you think of casino games, slots pop into your mind before anything else.
Considering the evolution of the games, it’s obvious that slots were not the same when it was first introduced. Interestingly, slots are still considered a form of arcade gaming. And the purpose of this post is to shed light on how these games changed.
We’re going to start with the history of slot machines and move on to how casino slots evolved during the early to mid-1900s. Then, we’ll wrap it up with the current craze, online slots.
A Brief History of Slots
For any kind of discussion where you want to compare past results with present results, you must look into the history. The same goes for slot games. And these are way older than you think!
The first recorded history of casino slot games dates back to the 1890s. Sittman and Pitt is credited as innovators of the slot machine. You can even find photos of that very machine on the internet and it looks nothing like the slots we know today! It looks more like a video poker machine if we’re being honest!
Another interesting trivia is that Sittman and Pitt may have developed the first commercial machine, the actual technology was invented by Charles Augustus Fey. The prototype he made had 3 reels and instead of the commercial 5 drums. This model was named Liberty Bell.
For the next 50 years, gambling as a whole went through a lot of turmoil due to consistent bans and new rules. But the Liberty Bell kept on going and you could play on it at restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, and many other social places.
Up until the 1960s, slot machines were purely mechanical and you needed the lever to get the reels going. In 1964, Bally developed the first electromechanical machine. It has physical reels inside but was controlled electronically. The developers decided to keep the lever as it was one of the prime attractions of the game at that time.
Between 1976 and 1978, the video slot format we know today was developed by Fortune Coin, a company based in Las Vegas. Shortly after, the machine was sanctioned by Nevada Gambling Commission and became a part of all major casinos on the Vegas Strip.
And in 1996, the first online casino came to life!
Online Casinos and How it Changed Arcade Gaming
The invention of online gambling has been phenomenal to the growth of gambling as a hobby/entertainment source. Microgaming is considered the forefather of online gambling as this Isle of Man based company introduced the idea and helped create the technological roadmap.
Back in the day, these games were also known as “fruit machines” simply because all of the symbols that land on the reels were fruits. You can still find those games to this day in the best online casino New Zealand and they’re often referred to as “classic slots”.
The combination of fruits, BAR, and Lucky 7s is considered classic because it has been around for over 100 years at this point. The very first machines mostly used card deck symbols. As in hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades as well as some additional symbols like a horseshoe.
The fruit symbols were adapted in the early 1900s and they became an instant hit. And it has been this way up until now. That’s why these games are “classics”. Sure, the mechanics of the game have changed a lot over the years but the sentiment remained the same.
Modern Day Video Slots
There is a common misconception that video slots can only be online. That’s not true. If you’ve read every sentence until this point, you know that the idea of a video slot was conceived as early as 1976! Since then, it’s been a perfecting journey of the concept.
A “video” slot simply means where you can see the symbols as a video feed instead of mechanical reels. In the old classic machines before the video era, there were no screens. You can see the reels directly through the cutout on the front.
The bottom line is that every slot that has a screen and does not have “physical” reels are video slots. In that sense, an online classic slot is also a video slot.
But let’s not go into that debate. It’s widely considered that online slots that have a “theme” are video slots. And the older themes are “classic” slots. This classification has been working for the casino players so we’ll just leave it at that.
The most amazing thing is that in the last 2 decades, online gambling has changed slots a lot. It progressed way ahead in terms of technology in 20 years when compared to the advancements for the last 100 years.
It might be because the foundation of how the game should work has already been laid out by inventors like Charles Augustus Fey. All we had to do was improve on it.
Software Providers & Online Slots
There’s no way to deny that online casinos have led the providers to invent new themes and new mechanics without putting too much at stake. The forerunners in this race are:
- Play’n Go
- Evolution Gaming
If you do a quick search, you’ll learn that all of these brands are widely considered the pinnacle of quality and reliability when it comes to online casino games. They have basically shaped the industry to what we know today.
Fast forward to today, most of these brands are still trying to bring innovation by partnering up with other independent studios. For most new software providers, it’s often hard to gather resources as well as get enough exposure to secure sponsorship. The big-name brands are reaching out and letting young innovative developers show their creativity through games.
The result of this approach has been pivotal to the iGaming industry. Just looking at the existing themes today is overwhelming. Everything you can think of, there’s probably an online based on that idea. From ancient Egypt to Mayan treasures to the wild west to the underwater world to the jungle and everything in-between is possible for an online slot.
Arcade games have been and always will be a huge source of entertainment no matter where you are in the world. Sure, the backend mechanics will keep changing based on the advancements in technology. The evolution from mechanical slots to classic slots and then online slots is proof enough that the paradigm is always changing.