Video games (as your Nan used to call them) have crossed over into many other genres in popular culture. There was a time – if you care to remember the days of Atari’s and ZX Spectrum’s – when games were just games; standalone titles with their own original plots, and let’s be honest here, generally basic gameplay.
How times have changed. Complex storylines, online play, 3D graphics and vast budgets have made gaming unrecognisable compared to those glorious and innocent early days (I’m still fond of Pacman!). It was way back in 1976 when the first game to be based on a movie was released – Death Race was an arcade game based on the cult 1975 film of the same name – and by the early 1980’s developing games from movies was all the rage. The likes of Tron, Alien and King Kong were all given the treatment for the Atari 2600, with Raiders of the Lost Ark becoming the first officially licensed game-from-a-movie in 1982. It was quickly followed by Star Wars and E.T., although the latter became an infamous flop and the subject of an urban legend.
The line between the two industries has become progressively blurred over the years, and the release of the Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993, heralded a new era where all of a sudden video games started to become the inspiration for films. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat quickly followed, while classic games like Doom, Resident Evil and Tomb Raider were developed into movies in the early 2000’s. This trend shows little sign of stopping, with an eye-watering 30 plus games currently being made into movies. These include Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, and if they’re as good as movies as they are as games, I can’t wait!
However, it isn’t just the film industry that has borrowed inspiration from gaming, and some of these well-known adventure titles have also made their way to the bright lights of Las Vegas. The Arcade and slots industry has always overlapped with the gaming industry (some software firms such as Konami actually develop both slot machines and video games), and it made perfect sense for slot-makers to latch onto the popular themes.
Better graphics and faster software have made today’s video slot machines much more of ‘gaming-like’ experience rather than a simple ‘one-armed bandit’ style slots experience. Animations and high-quality graphics have drastically changed the look of slots, and bonus games can take on a much more complex nature than ever before. Some of these games get pretty close to playing the real thing, and what’s more, you can win money playing them! It just doesn’t get much better than that, and below you can find five of the best adventure games that made it all the way to Vegas:
- Dungeon and Dragons
A classic; it’s as simple as that. A classic franchise of cartoons, books, toys, movies, and of course games. The Dungeons and Dragons: Fortress of Fortunes slot machine by software house, IGT, took the theme to Las Vegas in 2009 and it’s proven to be one of the most popular slots at land-based and online casinos.
It features five reels and twenty pay lines, and gives you the option to play as one of three warrior heroes. The background and sound effects behind the slot provide an air of fantasy, and wins are accompanied by mystical music. A free spins bonus game takes you into a dungeon with up to five levels where you can earn extra multipliers by defeating enemies with the roll of a virtual dice.
It’s an iconic game, but could be surpassed in the next few years, by an officially licensed slot from Konami Gaming Inc. The software giant and its Las Vegas subsidiary, KGI, signed an agreement with Hasbro to develop a Dungeons and Dragons game using the original cast of characters. The slot is aimed at land-based casinos and attracting a younger generation of players, and will feature two games – ‘Conquests and Treasures’ and ‘Enchanted Riches’ – in pods of 2, 3, or 4 machines. The pods will include high quality chairs, custom logos and a themed bezel with authentic designs.
- Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider was an iconic game of its time, and Angelina Jolie made the movie equally as iconic when it was released in 2001. The franchise has spawned books, comics, toys, and several sequel games, as well as a classic Vegas slot machine.
Microgaming is the software giant behind the slot machine, which features five reels, 15 pay lines and a max. bet of 75 coins. The Graphics are crisp and sharp, with symbols such as a tiger, gadgetry and Lara Croft herself earning the wins. There is a ‘Tomb Raider’ wild symbol which can substitute for other symbols to create winning combinations, and the game features two different bonus rounds. The scatter symbol is a gun-toting Lara Croft, and if she appears on 3, 4, or 5 of the reels she will launch the free spins round. There is also a bonus symbol, which is signified by a golden idol, and launches the tomb bonus round – a pick ‘em style game where you get to choose three from a number of idols to reveal three cash prizes.
The franchise is one of the most popular of the last 15-20 years, and changed the face of video gaming. It has taken Vegas by storm too, and become one of the most popular slot machines out there.
Yes, that’s right. Worms. The brilliantly addictive game that is so simple in style but so engrossing to play. Well it’s also been made into an online slot, and it will come as no surprise to learn that it is incredibly popular.
Everything about the slot is as colourful and humorous as the original game, and it features many of the classic sound effects too. It has five reels and a whopping 50 pay lines, with some great animated symbols of the crazy worms with ridiculously large weapons. Remember waiting for supply crates to parachute down from the sky with new weapons? They’re here too, and are used as a bonus symbol to launch the feature round when three or more land on the reels. The bonus round lets you select one of three crates to win one of the three different bonus games. These are a ‘space trail bonus’, a ‘crate escape’ game, and a ‘free spins battle’ bonus; each of which could earn a top jackpot of $500.
There are other great little quirks like a hand grenade which drops onto the reels and explodes, turning another symbol wild; and the infamous shout of ‘incoming’ when two crates land on the reels and you await the third. With equally addictive gameplay, it’s no wonder this slot has become so popular among video gamers as well as casino regulars.
- The Dark Knight Rises
The Batman franchise has been around since video games and online slots were the vision of a distant future, with his first appearance coming in a 1939 comic book. However, the caped crusader has been the subject of numerous video games over the last twenty years on a huge variety of platforms, and he deserves a mention here as he remains one of the most popular figures in Las Vegas (on the slot machines, at least).
The Dark Knight Rises is an adaptation of the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s dark trilogy, starring Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman. The game is a cutting edge video slot, which does away with standard reels and features 243 ways to win. The Graphics are superb and include real footage from the movie; while a bonus feature where Batman fights Bane rewards players with free spins and multipliers.
This is part of a new wave of slot machines which are moving away from the traditional ‘fruit machine’ style gaming, and incorporating much more interactive gaming features. It’s naturally popular in bricks-and-mortar casinos due to the popularity of the films, and it’s also made a big splash in the online world. It’s an absolute visual treat, and well worth checking out.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Well, if we’re talking about popular games it would be remiss not to mention the behemoth of the gaming world that is Call of Duty. It has arguably become the single most popular gaming series of all time, and continues to captivate the soldier inside all of us the world over. It should come as no surprise then, that there is a movie in the offing. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has sold over 13 million copies, and the slot machine by Cryptologic has proven to be just as popular in Vegas and online.
The game itself features amazing graphics and animations that are true to the original. Symbols include grenades, gas masks, and assault rifles, across the five reels and 25 pay lines. An animated marine scurries across the front of the reels on some spins, and plants a timed explosive which blows up various symbols, turning them wild and creating winning lines. On other spins a grenade rolls in front of the reels and the explosion causes the same effect. The wild soldier symbol is a nice touch as after the explosion it shows video footage from the game. All of this is before the excellent bonus game which features some great gameplay. It’s launched by landing three of the Call of Duty scatter symbols, and allows players to gain extra wins by targeting and shooting enemies on the battlefield. Up to four free games can be earned by hitting enemy soldiers, with bonus prizes for headshots; and a five-in-a-row kill streak earns an airstrike which rewards players with a multiplier for the free games.
Various other symbols also include game footage, and there is action on practically every spin in this game. Sound effects are perfect for the game, and there is that tense silence between spins before an explosion sets off a hail of gunfire – just like the real game when I play it!
Video Gaming Vegas Style
As seen on VegasSlots.co.uk, a recent change to the laws in Vegas means that casinos can now introduce more skill-based games alongside the archetypal slot machines. This is the industries attempt to convert ‘millennials’ from video gamers to casino goers; and it might just work. The aim is to introduce the skill element and link it to the prizes on the game, so a fast lap or a long kill streak will result in a bigger pay out. Rather than playing a game of chance, players will be able to use their skill at gaming to earn money – and that sounds like a perfect combination to me!