Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Shelf Life of a Themed Slot Machine

Themed video reel slot machines seem to be appearing and disappearing at an alarming rate.

Just Sunday I spied the new "Dukes of Hazzard" machines by WMS at Binions. As the much touted "Super Money Grab Monopoly" is a bust, and "Super Grand Hotel" is already boring, I was happy to sit down with Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke.

It is most similiar to "Green Acres" in the configuration of its line pays and "bonus zone" -- a center line that activates different bonuses when characters appear or line up. You do get 40 lines for 25 credits on this penny machine, so that is okay by me.

I am a "casual (as opposed to crazed)" Dukes of Hazzard fan, and even received a phone call from none other than Waylon Jennings once, so in general I enjoyed the theme. But a theme of course is no good without a chance to win.

I was playing on Binion's money* -- the generous (note to Stations and Rampart) $15 per week of free play they allotted me in September -- so the pressure was off in terms of win or loss.

That said, I did okay, hitting the "Rev-Up" bonus box on top and getting the max pay of 1500 credits (multiplied by bet per line, I've previously made it clear I usually play one per line.)

I returned last night and sat down next to a middle aged asian woman who didn't seem particularly thrilled with her play. I believe she was playing 2 or 3 times on her max lines. She hit the "Boss Hogg" wild bonus for a 1000 credit pay, and I commented "That was pretty good." She replied "I don't like this game." I wanted to reply "Well, you don't HAVE to play it." but wisely kept my mouth shut. I only know too well, that often players get sucked into games they don't like -- it happens to me all the time.*

From her mouth to whoever makes the decisions at WMS' ears -- although I rather enjoyed the Dukes of Hazzard game -- I'm afraid it is doomed to a short shelf life.

Other comments from other players included "It makes alot of noise for a little bit of money" referring to Boss Hogg's rather exuberant -- "How much money did they get?!" when his wild bonus is won. His bonus can pay nothing or very little to quite a bit, but it is annoying to hear him mouth off when very little is paid.

I read the pay table quite a few times when I was trying to save money waiting for my drink to arrive. There is a weird progressive tied into the whole thing. A $2,000 and something in the range of $65 is awarded when 5 or 6 (I can't remember) progressive symbols scatter across the board. You have to be playing max to hit the progressive (8x for a $2.00 bet), but you do get some sort of payout if you are not.

The downside is that the Dukes of Hazzard logos rarely if never line up (they pay the most) and I saw someone hit the Bo, Luke, and Daisy bonus but it never happened to me.

The upside is that just writing about this machine makes me want to play it, and I'll be back next week to ride with Bo and Luke.

* Binion's free play is only available on IGT machines, so I played "Coyote Moon," a game I don't particularly like, but luckily got enough ahead to cash out and take my ticket over to the Dukes machines.

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