Slots manufacturers these days are on a mission, a mission to offer the punters something they recognize, something they’re comfortable looking at. And when you’re comfortable with a theme, you’re more likely to keep depositing the green stuff.
So, while Microgaming and Net Entertainment continue their flirtation with the big screen to deliver slots based on Hollywood blockbusters, so slot manufacturers are also churning out games straight from the small screen.
Quiz shows, cartoon series, comedy series: if it’s been on TV in the past 10 years, chances are there’s a slots development team out there planning a game on it. And with exclusive deals meaning the slots come packed with authentic music and video clips from the original programmes, TV-themed slots are becoming more true to the source material than ever. So if you like to play slots when you’re in Las Vegas, you can enjoy a bit of nostalgia, as the infamous one armed bandits now feature all your favourite TV themes and characters on their reels.
Here we count down our favourite 10.
10 – Friends (Bally)
Bally announced this TV tie-in back in 2014; it’s only taken 20 years or so since the original comedy series began its life to make it to your nearest casino. And it was worth the wait.
Capturing the manic adventures of a group of six friends in New York (all of whom managed to afford to live in New York without any discernible form of income), Friends features a massive progressive jackpot and various bonus features based on classic episodes which are triggered with a big touch-screen wheel of fortune.
If you loved the comedy series and get goosebumps whenever ‘I’ll Be There For You’ hits the airwaves, you’ll be looking forward to this one when it arrives in casinos sometime in 2015. We expect this one to be a massive hit, and not just when the rain starts to fall.
TV Rating: The jackpots will be there for you.
09 – Game of Thrones (Microgaming)
George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels deserved a TV series worthy of the books. And that’s what he got with the show that’s now into its fifth season.
The much-anticipated Game of Thrones slot from Microgaming, released in 2015, might not quite scale the heights of the show (it’s distinctly lacking in video clips, anything resembling a character, or original music) but the four separate free spins features are enough to keep hardcore GOT fans enthralled.
TV Rating: Worth a stab.
08 – Wheel of Fortune (IGT)
Most big Vegas slot machines feature some kind of wheel of fortune – a bonus wheel that physically spins round with the promise of big prizes (and utter dejection).
However, the classic TV gameshow of the same name didn’t have its own slot until IGT came along. The Hollywood Edition version features a spinning wheel in the bonus which lands on various cash prizes. You have to gamble each turn to take your cash or keep on spinning.
Add the degen action to an extra Bonus Jackpot Accumulator and you have a recipe for an authentic slice of American gameshow mayhem.
TV Rating: Time to start spinning.
07 – Mad Men (WMS)
Williams Interactive have been behind some pretty big branded slots in their history – Wizard of Oz, Beetlejuice, etc – but Mad Men sees them take on a TV classic and give it the respect it deserved.
Authentically replicating the ’60s world of New York advertising, complete with Don Draper Bonus where you have to select a successful pitch with lots of big prizes, a Roger Sterling Free Spins round, and lots of stacked Wilds.
Coolest of all, however, is the Falling Reels feature which sees four sets of reels drop Mad Men-credits style onto the game screen. The game was not released on casino floors until late 2014, and has had fans of the show salivating ever since. And we’re not just talking about Christina Hendricks either. Best played with drink in hand at all times.
TV Rating: Too cool for school.
06 – X Factor Jackpot (Ash)
The fickle nature of the singing “talent” gameshow means that five minutes after one series has ended, you’ve pretty much forgotten any of the contestants.
That’s the problem with Ash’s X Factor Jackpot, which features stars of the UK X Factor show from yester-year like Jedward (remember them?), Wagner (remember him?) and Matt Cardle (who won the show but you definitely don’t remember him).
Old stars aside, the game does actually feature some cool bonus rounds, such as the Live Show Bonus which is divided into 10 levels, or “competition weeks” where you have to rate various contestants on their singing. Choose correctly and you’ll progress to earn big jackpots. And a decent progressive jackpot raises this TV slot above the norm.
TV Rating: Not a one-hit wonder.
05 – The Sopranos (Playtech)
The legendary HBO gangster series inevitably got its own online slot when Playtech got in on the act.
Packed with imagery and authentic video sequences from the long-running show, the game also features a Free Spins bonus with 25 spins up for grabs, a Stolen Goods Bonus which sees you locate – er – stolen goods, and the great Bada Bing Bonus where you get to pick a character who must meet with Tony and wheedle some cash out of him.
There’s a potential jackpot worth $500,000 in the game. Forget about it! Actually, don’t forget about it, remember it well and hunt it out at an online casino now.
TV Rating: Worth staying in for.
04 – Million Pound Drop (Endemol)
If you’ve never heard of Dutch TV production behemoth, Endemol, you’ve almost certainly heard of their TV shows.
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, Big Brother, and Deal or No Deal have all come from the cunning minds of the company, but recently they’ve got into developing online slots based on their most popular shows.
The Million Pound Drop (also known as Money Drop in other countries) is a gameshow where contestants are given one million points and progress through the show trying to keep hold of as much cash as possible by answering general knowledge questions. Get a question wrong and bundles of cash go tumbling through trapdoors in the studio.
Keeping some of the traits of the show, Endemol’s slot features a bonus round where you risk wads of cash on various trapdoors. Elsewhere, Wild symbols replicate on the reels for big wins, while an extra ‘Security Pass Bonus’ recreates the show’s final round sees you click on falling cash bundles to bag free spins and multipliers.
TV Rating: Drop in for a spin.
03 – South Park: Reel Chaos (NetEnt)
Top Scandie software maestros, NetEnt, know a thing or two about branded slots, and their two games based on the scatological TV cartoon South Park, remain popular.
2014’s South Park sequel – cleverly titled “Reel Chaos” – ups the bonus features and the poo factor as you follow the adventures of Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny et al.
Our favourite bit: not the stacked Wilds, Kenny’s multipliers, or Stan’s multiplying re-spins, but the frankly bonkers Mintberry Crush Bonus spins where Professor Chaos himself takes on the four heroes. How long before Chef gets his very own online slot?
TV Rating: Oh my god – they killed our bankroll!
02 – Star Trek (WMS)
OK, we’ll be honest: what gets into our #2 slot is a series of Star Trek online slots based on the original 1960s TV series by sci-fi legend Gene Roddenberry. Every game in the series, from Red Alert on up, features photorealistic characters and scenes from classic episodes of the show, with bonus features that recall plotlines.
Make it through the various bonus levels and you’ll “unlock” access to the next games in the series like Trap a Tribble and The Trouble With Tribbles.
Explore New Worlds – the second in the series of slots – is probably the best, with its Multiplying Wilds, Beam Me Up instant wins, and Enterprise fly-bys which sees the iconic starship fly across the reels for added cash.
TV Rating: Boldly go…to your nearest online casino.
01 – 24 (iSoftBet)
OK, we’ve gone for the newest online slot here, but taking up our #1 spot is iSoftBet’s newest release, a big-name game based on the Fox actioner 24.
Kiefer Sutherland stars (after a rather nifty intro sequence) as CTU agent Jack Bauer in a slot that manages to ramp up the tension without losing the gambling action.
As you land winning combos on the reels, a ‘time bank’ runs down on the screen. Once it runs out, the bonus feature begins. And here’s where the fun begins: players get to use their gun sights to take out the terrorists. It’s not a full-on arcade, but it’s a sign of some skill-based action creeping into online slots. And who says that’s a bad thing?
TV Rating: 24-hour fun.
Author : Rebecca Green is a full-time mum, part-time slot player and life-long TV addict. When she’s not watching repeats of Friends, you can find her coaching her local girl’s soccer team or baking gluten free treats for her kids.