Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Night at the Slots: Examples of Slot Machines in Video Games

The following is a sponsored post, but it was written by SuperPhillip Central staff.

Slot machines have been around for over a century, with the first prototype and precursor being developed in 1891. Who knew that such a simple machine would go on to be one of the most entertaining attractions to most casino-goers? Now you need not even leave the comfort of your home-- you can bring the casino to you and play online casino games at Paddy Power, for instance. That is, if you're old enough to do so!

This late night article brings up nine examples of slot machines in video games. Here, you can gamble in order to acquire rare items, equipment, and even animal buddies without fear of losing real world money. It's not just games with slot machines in them, either. No, we have games that bring the concept of slots and manipulate them to fit a section of gameplay. From Mario to Pokemon, Final Fantasy to Grand Theft Auto, this list of nine slots-inspired mini-games will see your head spinning at all of the applications of slot machines used in video games both new and old.

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

We start our list of slots with three entries from the Mario franchise. Our first look is from the latest in Super Mario series, Super Mario 3D World. Lucky Houses are in each of the game's worlds, and even after they go away after entering and playing them, they reappear after finishing a few levels.

Lucky Houses consist of four revolving blocks that Mario or any other character can run under and hit just like an item block. How many matches of the four blocks the player gets determines how many coins come raining down to collect. The prizes can be 100 coins, 200 coins, 300 coins, or an impressive 777 coins. These coins grant extra lives, incredibly important for Super Mario 3D World's post-game levels.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

After each level has been successfully completed and pending the player came across any coins either in the dream world or subspace, they can partake in a simple slot machine mini-game. Depending on the order of icons and what three icons are matched up, the player can receive anywhere between 0-5 1-ups per turn of the slots. Having more coins gathered in a given level allows more attempts. Sure, there's not much skill involved in such a game, but that's where the old sage advice of "just mash the A button" comes in.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)

Through collecting all five of a given level's flowers, the player has a chance to participate in a mini-game for extra lives. Slot Machine is the simplest of these mini-games, and bestows up to five extra lives for a lucky player. Having three Shy Guys, stars, or watermelons in a row gives the player a single 1-Up, while a trio of cherries rewards two extra lives. Matching three Yoshi eggs in a row gives a prize of three 1-Ups. Finally, having the best amount of fortune will have the player matching three Lucky 7 icons, adding five lives to Yoshi's total tally.

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)/
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Many of the slot machines on this list are essentially traditional versions of what one would expect when they hear the words "slot machine." Retro Studios, developer of Donkey Kong Country Returns and its Wii U sequel Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, creatively put a twist on both slot machines and finishing a level with the addition of slot machine goal barrels.

These particular barrels would start spinning, cycling between four different symbols. With proper timing, Donkey Kong could hit one of the following icons: a bunch of bananas, a banana coin, a red balloon bestowing an extra life, or the most interesting icon, the DK icon. If the barrel was hit while this symbol was shown, the player would rapidly shake the Wii Remote and/or Nunchuk with all of their might. How many times they shook their controller(s) meant that's how many of either a banana bunch, banana coin, or extra lives they would receive. The payout when it involved the DK symbol was entirely random. Still, it's always satisfying to beat the goal barrel to smithereens and coming out of it with 20+ extra lives.

Pokemon series (Multi)

We'll focus on the very first generation of Pokemon titles as well as their remade versions. Nestled in the center of Celadon City is the Rocket Game Corner. It is here where there a plethora of slot machines available. The trick here is to find a machine that is "hot." That is, one that has the best odds of letting the gambler walk away with a lot of coins. Said coins are used in the Game Corner's gift shop to purchase rare items like TMs as well as Pokemon that are hard to get normally-- one of which is only available in-game through earning enough coins, Porygon.

The slot machine itself gives the player more chances to get three in a row if the player wagers more coins. This opens up opportunities to get matches on either of the three rows as opposed to just the center one, as well as diagonally.

Along with exploring towns, catching Pokemon, facing eight gym leaders, earning TMs and HMs, exploring caves where there's always that one annoying Pokemon breed to battle that continues to show its unwanted face, among other things, the slot machine mini-game is a common sight in the Pokemon series. Who knew Game Freak could be conditioning a whole new generation of gamblers?

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "Palace of Pleasure"? If you're thinking what we're thinking you're thinking, then you best get your mind out of the gutter. The Palace of Pleasure refers to Serendipity, a colossal casino city in the sky packed to the brim with various mini-games. Obviously we'll be focusing on the slot machines.

Apparently everything in Final Fantasy XIII-2's world is temperamental. It's not just the characters. You see, even the slot machines have different moods, affecting how often they pay out to the player. Each time the player visits Serendipity, the slot machines alter their moods in a random fashion. The best type of mood is when the casino attendant says "That machine's on fire" or "It's hot like a summer's day." Any other mood types will make it all the more difficult to amass a respectable amount of casino coins. This will take multiple trips most likely, as these two moods are rather rare, just like getting a jackpot.

Doing well on the casino slots is the only way of acquiring the rare Lucky Icon item. Seeing as one needs the fitting amount of 7,777 casino coins to purchase it as well as 10,000 casino coins for the Serendipitous achievement/trophy, the player better have some serious luck on their side.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

Even a fairy tale-esque world has its fair share of chance. The slot machine mini-game in last year's excellent RPG Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch can be found in the Tombstone Trail Casino. Perhaps it's called that as that's where many players' money have gone to die.

This particular slot machine works by inserting an amount of money into the device. The more the player bets, the greater the rewards (as well as the greater the losses). As each pull of the lever is initiated, a special gauge slowly fills up. When it reaches maximum capacity, Mega Mode happens. It is here where all winnings pile up more considerably for a limited amount of time.

The player can even use items from their collection to sway the odds in their favor. Of course a poor item choice can make the odds go the wrong way, too. A terrific way of making bank without doing something productive with one's time-- like getting a job-- Ni no Kuni's slot machine mini-game is another example of the chance game's appearance in the video game medium.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Multi)

Carl Johnson, or C.J., could enter various casinos around the expansive reaches of the state of San Andreas. It's at these locations where he can wager money to win or lose cash. Regardless of victory or defeat, C.J.'s gambling level would increase, making his chances of making big bank at the various chance-based games grow.

While not an attraction of the casinos that nets C.J. an increase to his gambling skills, the slot machine is prevalent in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a means to win big. Although the slots play themselves with no input from the player, they are a great way of racking up some serious cash when the alternatives of robbing burger joints and stealing cars don't excite the player at the time.

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (PS3, Vita)

So far we've seen various slot machines as side excursions in games, but what about a mode in a golf game that uses the concept of a slot machine to mix up a round on the links? That is exactly what Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational's recently available Slot Mode does.

At the start of each hole, each player gets a slot machine-like graphic that quickly cycles through a list of perks and punishments that that player will have active for the duration of the hole. This can be such helpful things as perfect weather, an increase in drive power, or even a larger hole to make putting a breeze. However, there can also be less than helpful bonuses such as gale force winds, landing in the fairway, rough, or bunker being a two stroke penalty, or being stuck relying on standard gear instead of more powerful clubs and balls already in your golf bag.

Slot Mode really delivers an entertaining take on the classic rules of golf, offering a party-like experience with each spin of the slots. This makes for a nice playing ground for expert, intermediate, and beginning players alike.

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