Vintage.…video games, that is. If you were alive during the 1980s, then you are probably familiar with Centipede, that hugely popular shoot ’em up arcade game by Atari. The game, which consists of a spaceship/humanoid shooter that is controlled by the player versus a pesky centipede invader, is one of the most popular games of all time and is considered a classic along with video game titles such as Pac-Man, Pong, Super Mario and Space Invaders.
Now, Centipede is taking on a new life…in the form of slot machines!
Themed slots have been around since the early 1990s. The first themed slots were usually based around popular TV shows like the Wheel of Fortune or Deal or No Deal, eventually moving on to popular films such as Indiana Jones or Star Wars. The immense fanbase behind these franchises gave a huge boost to the slots industry; for example, fans of the Wheel of Fortune came flocking to casinos just to see what the gameshow would look like in slot machine form. It was a win-win situation for both the casino and the movie franchise involved.
In September last year, International Game Technology released a Centipede-themed slot machine at the gambling industry’s annual trade show. Why are slot machine manufacturers suddenly getting on the video game bandwagon?
First, let’s take a look at the current state of the slot industry today. Slots are usually associated with old people looking for an easy way to spend their idle time and money. Now a new generation is taking over- one that is raised on computers and video games.
Those who were kids or teenagers in the 1980s and who are now middle aged today might be drawn to the nostalgic memories offered by the Centipede slot machine. But this machine offers more than just nostalgia; the people from this generation are more competitive and have short attention spans compared to the players of old- they can’t be satisfied with just a few spinning reels alone. They need more stimulation, more bonuses, more competitive features.
This is where the Centipede slot machine comes in. Aside from the reels and levers, the machine also features a joystick! It’s like a replica of a real-life arcade. Unlike old slot machines where players rely solely on luck to make it through the games, the Centipede slot machine also possesses a skill-based aspect to it. For example, the machine’s bonus game gives players a chance to play a round of Centipede with one or two lives- a higher score means a higher payout. A player needs to have a certain amount of hand to eye coordination to maximize his or her winnings in the game. There’s also a competitive mode wherein two players can play against each other on a single machine. The one with the higher score gets to take the higher payout.
Can this skill-based playing style work on slots? Can we expect Super Mario or Donkey Kong-themed slot machines in the near future? At this moment, only time will tell.