New in slot machine gaming: ‘Titanic,’ ‘Walking Dead,’ online progressives and DeLoreans
The biggest theme in new slot machines at this year's Global Gaming Expo was Hollywood. Many of the new titles centered on pop culture, from "Avatar" to ZZ Top.
And most drew large crowds who waited to catch a glimpse and try their luck.
VEGAS INC roamed the convention floor of the Sands Expo Center to see which games garnered the most attention:
'Back to the Future'
IGT's sci-fi slot is based on the Robert Zemeckis classic movie starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly.
The game's soundtrack is loaded with guitar licks, operatic tunes and songs by Huey Lewis and the News.
But the most alluring part of the game is the props attached to it. The slot is crowned by a model-sized version of the iconic clock tower featured in the movie, surrounded by a circular run of train tracks under a locomotive pushing a DeLorean time machine.
'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'
This is another slot based on a 1980s movie hit, this time from WMS Gaming.
With every spin, a bar from the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" plays.
The machine is topped by Chicago skyscrapers and a mini Ford Mustang, modeled after the car owned by the father of the film's lovable loser, Cameron Frye, played by Alan Ruck.
The game also features many of the movie's most memorable quotes and scenes, including one in which Ferris convinces Frye to let him take the car.
"Whatever miles we put on, we'll take off," Ferris says.
"How?" Frye asks.
"We'll drive home backwards."
'The Walking Dead'
The "Walking Dead" slot was by far the most popular game at G2E.
Australian gaming manufacturer Aristocrat plans to release it in early fall to coincide with the highly anticipated fourth season of the hit AMC television show.
The game incorporates video clips and sound bites from the series, which during the third season finale drew more than 12 million viewers.
Players have to escape hordes of zombies.
Aristocrat set the mood for the game's debut, hiring actors dressed in tattered clothes and covered in blood to flank the machines and stumble around like the undead.
This game, based on one of the most successful and enduring love stories of the 20th century, seemed to strike a chord with women players at G2E.
The slot, by Bally Technologies, features interactive experiences based on the most iconic scenes from James Cameron's multibillion-dollar hit movie.
Its U-Spin bonus wheel looks like the ship's helm, awarding bonuses that reward players with film clips of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Even the men love Leo," one woman said, laughing.
Another James Cameron blockbuster took center stage at the IGT booth — "Avatar," the second-highest grossing film in history next to "Titanic."
The "Avatar" slot tosses players into the middle of an epic battle between humans and the Na'vi tribe featured in the film. The game also includes Banshee Wilds, the high-flying monsters that frequent the film's rainforest of Pandora.
The game is the company's first that allows players to keep track of their progress and unlock secret content.
Bonuses include clips and images from the movie.
Concave LCD screens
In other new technologies, Bally debuted a new line of Pro Series game cabinets that feature the industry's first 40-inch concave LCD screen.
Bally has released curved screens in the past, but none as big as the Pro Wave.
IGT's Power Bucks doesn't feature any movie or TV characters, but it does mix the company's online and land-based games.
Power Bucks is a "bolt-on" progressive, meaning casinos can digitally connect it to any IGT slot machine to make it a progressive. When Power Bucks is enabled, a progressive tracker appears at the top of the screen.
When someone hits the jackpot, they win the progressive, which grows as more online and casino players participate.