The Rise of the Hero Slot
Cherries. Melon. Melon... Lemon. Lemon..... Melon.
How did we ever cope with the monotony of fruit machines with just fruit? Granted, times were tougher around the turn of the century, during the golden age of the physical fruit machine – maybe the very sight of a nourishing, exotic fruit sufficed to get the neurons firing in those antiquated betting brains – but in this day and age, slot machines with such a simplistic theme just seem a little bland, or kitsch at best.
Today’s gamers want something a little more engaging, more evocative and more escapist, and this desire has resulted in the meteoric rise of hero themed slots.
There’s a certain pleasure and a certain thrill that comes with playing the slots – especially when you’re winning – but when the stakes are low and you’ve got half an hour to kill, minor wins and losses fail to deliver the full entertainment package many gamers are hoping for. That’s where themed slots come in to play...
Themed slots in the casinos, arcades and gaming halls of the world are a very familiar sight indeed, and just as commonplace are online variants such as the phenomenally popular Dark Knight Slots and Thunderstruck slot game, which star DC Comics caped crusader Batman and the mythical Norse God Thor respectively.
Why so... popular?
So what is it about heroes like Batman and Thor that make them so ideally suited as characters to inhabit the digital interfaces of games like Dark Knight slots and Thunderstruck? For a start, they’re visually dynamic, adding an element of drama to the background of the experience. In Thunderstruck 2, not only Thor is featured, but also the villainous Loki, the beautiful Valkyrie and the sagacious Odin. The inclusion of these supporting characters makes the hierarchy of icon values more logical, and it’s far more enjoyable to curse Loki for ruining a good run than a red cross or similarly bland symbol.
So, we’ve seen the comic book heroes and mythical figures of our youths immortalised in pixels and LEDs by the casino gaming industry. Now who’s next? We’d love to see a gaming platform provider (equipped with a team of very good lawyers) bring out a slots game satirising the political elite of 2013 – a dour Chancellor Merkel bags a ton of cash, a grinning Obama does absolutely nothing and a slimy Silvio Berlusconi loses the lot (we’ve a suspicion the cash went somewhere it shouldn’t have...)