Saturday, August 25, 2007

WMS partners with Station and Coast (Boyd) Casinos to push new "Transmissive Technology"

In an ever eager attempt to fuse traditional mechanical reel simplicity with video reel bells and whistles, WMS rolled out their new "Transmissive Technology" machines this month with great fanfare, and online sweepstakes.

So far, with only one machine in the casinos, a new "Super Cash Grab" Monopoly machine, the technology doesn't seem so new, as it does old -- meaning it does one old fashioned thing really well, i.e. taking your money.

With only one bonus round (with three different games possible) when three "chance" cards line up farthest left to right on active play lines, this machine can be quite frustrating and downright stingy, if you pick a chance card with, say 75 credits as your reward. If you are lucky enough to advance to a bonus round with some action, you may activate the "Money Grab" or "Top Box" bonus.

The "Money Grab" bonus makes the best use of the aforementioned "Transmissive Technology" which is basically a video screen superimposed over traditional mechanical reels. Thich can make the mechanical reels somewhat grainy and gray to view at all times, the bonus round being no exception. As the bonus begins, dancing "Money Grab" characters, such as Scotty, Marvin Gardens, Virginia Avenue and the Monopoly Man start to dance at the bottom of the screen. During your five free spins, when the mechanical reels stop if a money grab symbol shows up, the corresponding character at the bottom of the screen jumps up to grap a Monopoly money bill with random credits. The farther to the right the symbol appears (Monopoly Man is far right) the better your chances for a bigger payoff.

I'd tell you all about the "Top Box" bonus, but I've dropped over $60 in these machines and I have yet to hit it. I have lived vicariously by watching my neighbors' lucky turns (remember one of the slot players' ten commandments "Do Not Covet Thy Neighbors' Machine"), and the bonus involves picking either Mr. Monopoly's left or right hand to continue or end the bonus, which consists of the top boxes (duh) lighting up to reveal your award. With my luck I can't imagine I would last very long in this bonus, and basically that's my beef with all machines where a bad pick ends a round. Damn those "Collect" icons!

But enough about my take on these machines -- here is the official line straight from the horse's mouth WMS -

On WMS Gamings home page they exclaim "Mechanical reels meet video reels - endless winning possibilities are born!"

Honestly, It's just another slot machine with decent line pays (if you are lucky) and a bonus round with one of two different games (again if you are lucky). I have yet to tap into the endless winning possibilities they are touting.

There is a cutesy little animation of Mr. Monopoly and Scotty jauntily walking down the street and ditching into storefronts to change their hats periodically that is mildly amusing, and plays over the video screen at all times, but when I'm losing money, cutesty animation doesn't really help my mood.

The technology is not that different from WMS Super Super Hot Jackpot series that incorporates mechanical reels with a video screen (albeit a very small one in this case.)

The whole idea, I believe, is to wean players who prefer a traditional mechanical reel to a video screen. I'm not sure why this is necessary, personally the more options on the casino floor, the better I like it! Viva la difference! Viva Las Vegas!

Don't get me wrong -- I am a big fan of WMS, they truly are innovative, their graphics are superb, and I actually feel like a have a chance to win on their machines. They produce a far superior product to IGT (International Gaming Technology), althought for some reason Wall Street analysts still seem stuck on the idea that IGT is leading the pack. But more on that later . . .

So to wrap up, I will rate the "Super Money Grab" machine with Transmissive video 3 out of 5 cherries. Not bad, but not my first choice when I hit a fully stocked casino floor.

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