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By Kendall Jenkins on 2024-07-09 07:19:00

When the earliest slot machines were being designed, the makers could never have imagined that just a few decades later, there would be such a huge international market for online slots. Originally designed as a poker machine, the earliest versions of slots had reels with playing cards on them and the goal was to achieve a winning poker hand with the result. 

The games were hugely popular, but the first designs had no mechanism to pay players automatically when they won. This meant that someone had to be responsible for checking the machine and awarding the prizes, which were often free drinks or cigarettes when the machines were located in bars. 

These machines were victims of their own success as their popularity meant that bar staff simply couldn't cope with the number of requests, meaning that attendants had to be hired to manage the machines. While this was a reasonable solution to the problem, there was no doubt that the games would have limited appeal if they were going to generate the costs of employing staff.

Motor engineer Charles Fey came up with a design for a slot machine that paid out automatically when the player had a winning combination. This brilliant refinement dramatically increased the appeal of the machines in places such as dance halls, bars, and clubs where the machines had already proved their popularity.

The evolution of the slot machine

The automatic payout slot simplified the design of the reels, opting for a selection of symbols instead of playing cards. It was much easier to design a machine that could identify a winner from the selection of symbols available than one that could identify a range of poker hands. 

The way these machines worked was groundbreaking, but it also lent itself to digitisation when it became apparent that video games were the direction that many traditional games were headed. The maths behind slot machines means that they are easy to recreate as an interactive video game, and they certainly maintained their popularity when they were transformed into virtual versions of the machines people knew and loved.

So popular, in fact, are the old-style games that many retained the lever on the side used to spin the wheels on many models of traditional slots. Even with no reels to spin and a computer chip doing all the work, some people like the feeling of pulling the handle and deciding their fate so it's a feature of many modern machines. 

The move online

Just as the digitisation of games was reaching a new-found peak, the internet began to proliferate and the market for digital slots took off. Players all over the world were delighted to be able to play their favourite games in their own homes, and games studios obliged with a wide array of games.

Without the physical constraints of a machine or the limits imposed by earlier technology, online slot games could take on any form imaginable. Games designers responded to the enthusiasm of players and delivered a wide variety of themed slots featuring almost anything a person could conceive.

From Ancient civilisations to cartoonishly silly capers, there are slots themed around television shows, films, music, and a whole host of other cultural events and activities. Players can find slots that combine their top offline activities with their favourite online games, providing the perfect way to play.

Next level: mobile gaming

The impact of mobile gaming has been absolutely incredible, considering it is currently a multi-billion dollar industry that didn't exist thirty years ago. The appeal of gaming on the go has created a huge cultural shift, and there has been a tangible impact on the global entertainment scene. 

From the days when Nokia mobile owners became instantly obsessed with 'Snake', it was clear that mobile gaming had a broad appeal. The combination of increased internet connectivity and the development of smartphones combined to create a gaming trend that has taken the world by storm.

The sheer variety of games available to modern mobile gamers is enough to amaze any early gamer, with thousands of apps in a variety of genres, including:

  • Adventure

  • Logic

  • Sports

  • First-person shooters

  • Collaborative

  • Roleplay

  • Multiplayer

  • Racing

  • Word puzzles

  • Strategy

  • Fighting

  • Platform

With so many different games to choose from, millions of players opt for slots because it's a great game for playing on the go. Rounds are often relatively short, so it's easy to play slots whenever you have a few minutes to spare, and many sites have tournaments and special offers for mobile players.

For those who love traditional slots, online slots offer all the excitement and fast-paced fun of your favourite games, but in an easy and convenient format. You can even play with your friends online, and get social with other gaming fans all over the world.  


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