From Mechanical to Digital: Tracing the Technological Advancements in Slot Machine Development

Slot machines are, arguably, the most popular type of casino game on the planet. If you ever played them, you know exactly why. The vibrant visuals, the action-packed gameplay, the brilliant sounds and the massive prize potential are an intoxicating cocktail that will keep every player on the edge of their seat. Still, slots weren’t always as complex and intriguing as they are today.

Join us as we dive deep into the history of slot games and see how they evolved throughout history!

Simple Cherry Games Enter the Scene

Before there were games with cherries, lemons and BARs, there was the very first automated poker machine. Developed by Sittman and Pitt in 1887, it was a simple contraption on which you had to land matching cards to win a prize. It was anything but automated, and there was no money prize. You could win a drink or a free cigarette! Not exactly, life-changing, but still good enough to try this novelty that paved the way for slots.

Liberty Bell, a game released in 1891 by Charles August Fey, was the first money slot machine, and the game that started a real boom. Although it still used cards to display winning combinations, the promise of a money prize, launched a craze. Soon, slot machines started showing up across clubs and bars. And when in 1907 the first cherry games appeared, they sweetened up many evenings for many patrons!

777 Slots: The New Era

Simple cherry machines were fun, but unfortunately, they left a lot of room for meddling with gambling mechanisms. Both bar owners and players had an arsenal of tricks on how to meddle with relatively simple machinery in the background of the machine. Coins on threads, magnets, jamming and tilting the contraption are some of the most famous tricks.

All this changed in 1964 when Bally, a company that is still alive and kicking, developed the first electromechanical slot machine and created the foundation for the Las Vegas gambling industry. The electromechanical slots often featured the mega-popular 7-7-7 format with a mechanical lever that has since been taken to the online realm. By the way, the platform contains 777 slot machines from different years of production, which you can play for free and without the need for registration.

Meet the First Video Slot Machines

Believe it or not, the first video slot machine was developed way back in 1976 by Fortune Coin Co. The Fortune Coin game took advantage of the popularity of home gaming systems such as SNES and used a Sony TV as a screen. Groundbreaking at the time, it became one of the biggest hits in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and paved the way for online video slots. Guests were waiting in lines to see what the buzz was all about, yet no one could have predicted the revolution that was around the corner — online gambling.

Online gambling took its baby steps in the mid-90s, primarily thanks to Microgaming and its unprecedented casino software. The company quickly adapted to the new demands on the market and released Lara Croft, the first branded slot game, inspired by the 3D video game about an archaeologist on the lookout for powerful artifacts. After it became a massive hit, other gaming providers followed, constantly competing on who would deliver the bigger prize, better visuals and more engaging gameplay.

Online casinos help players enjoy gambling whenever they feel like it, without having to leave the house.

The Age of the Global Progressive Jackpots

Jackpots are nothing new in the casino industry. Ever since the first electromechanical machines appeared, gaming suppliers have been using big prizes to tempt players. Standalone jackpot slot machines have been all the rage for decades. However, with progressive jackpots, and especially global progressive jackpots, things became more interesting than ever.

So, what is the difference between the two? Here’s the drill:

  • The progressive jackpot game generates the prize fund from every bet played at a specific casino venue or site;
  • The global progressive jackpot is typically reserved for online casinos. It generates the prize fund from every spin played on the game at any casino in the world.

The most famous global progressive jackpot game is the Mega Moolah from Microgaming which spawned a whole series and was even included in the Guinness Book of Records for a record-breaking jackpot prize.

Despite being highly volatile, online progressive jackpots are among the most popular games at any casino. The chance for winning millions on a single spin and must-drop mechanisms proved to be a winning combination for many.

Augmented Reality in Slot Machines

Many believe that the future of online gambling, and gambling in general, lies in augmented reality and providing an authentic experience by taking the player to the virtual casino floor for a fraction of the price. Augmented and virtual reality would provide players not only with a more realistic experience but also additional stats, guides, and demos both in land-based and online casinos.

Some big names in the industry, such as BetMGM and Microgaming have already adapted to the new trends, but the current levels of popularity are still a far cry from more traditional gambling formats. It seems that the novelty factor is not strong enough, as players don’t have much experience with this type of gambling. As time goes by, we are sure they will adapt to this trend and look forward to everything the future of gambling holds.

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