The world of online slots has changed so much over the years. In the early days, you would often get to see a selection of similar games in a lobby. These would feature layouts and paylines that would often be the same. Classic slots with three reels and between one and five paylines were a lot more common. Developers didn’t often go beyond the basics. Then came the era of the video slot with the expansion of the online casino industry. Providers wanted to ensure they branched out and brought new innovations to casinos.
That is a mindset that has continued onwards with the online slot scene. A variety of slots have come to light as game-changers, thanks to this being the case. We wanted to highlight these game releases and look at what they did for the slot industry. Different software developers have introduced different, unique features. Thus, the games incorporating such have gone on to become popular with casino players. You could say that they changed the landscape of online gaming. Without further ado, let’s find out more about these inviting, enjoyable slots.
Mega Moolah by Microgaming
The online slot industry has a lot to thank Microgaming for in general. The brand lists itself as being the creator of the first online casino site. It is also one of the very first online casino software developers. The company is still in operation to this very day, too. Alongside all that, many people know it for one of its games in specific – Mega Moolah. That slot is one of the most impressive releases because of its progressive jackpot.
Sure, jackpots had been a part of several other slots before this one. They are also a part of the make-up of many games released since then, too. Few people started paying attention to these big payout potentials until Mega Moolah. It is the game that has been responsible for huge payouts throughout the years. Once players started winning big, many others wanted a part of it. Thanks to this, various other developers also began crafting such games. It led to the release of slots like Mega Fortune and Hall of Gods from Netent. Without Microgaming stepping in there first, they may never have come to light.
Former soldier Jon Heywood became a millionaire playing Mega Moolah in 2015. Playing at the Betway Casino, he scooped the £13.2 million jackpot from the game. That happened only 25 minutes after he’d begun spinning its reels. The wager he placed to receive that payout? 25p. Stories like his have led to many more people loading Mega Moolah up at casinos. Without a doubt, a game-changer within the slot game sphere.
A Night in Paris by Betsoft
You can look at any online slots from back in 2000 and compare them to today’s releases. What you would find is that the graphics have come a long way since then. Games today are so much more pleasing on a visual scale. As a result, you can always look forward to developers introducing high-quality slots. Yet you only need to view Betsoft’s range of games from 2010 onwards to see something spectacular.
This brand has become well-known for including amazing graphics into its games. It was one of the first to make use of 3D graphics with its Slots3 series. These games almost look like Pixar movies on-screen when you play them. A Night in Paris was one of the first of these, released in 2011. It stood out amongst the masses due to those graphics, bringing more custom to Betsoft. This led to the developer crafting more titles for its Slots3 series of releases. Others within the selection to become popular with players include:
- 2 Million B.C.
- Out of This World!
- Mamma Mia!
- Slots Angels
- It Came from Venus!
- Rook’s Revenge
- Safari Sam
- Good Girl Bad Girl
- Gypsy Rose
- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
- Fruit Zen
Even so, without Betsoft taking the step forward with A Night in Paris, the rest may not have been launched. It still remains popular with gamers today, being available in many casino lobbies. Other developers began upping their games in the graphics and animations field, too. That’s one of the reasons why we have the top games to play today that we do.
Gonzo’s Quest by Netent
If you know anything about Netent, you’ll know that Gonzo’s Quest is one of its best releases. The game centres on the adventure towards finding El Dorado. Gonzo is the captain of the ship and he’s on the hunt for the treasures of the lost city. While the theme of the game is enjoyable, this is not why it is so innovative.
Gonzo’s Quest was actually the first slot to incorporate avalanche reels. This reinvented the way that game reels “spun”, so to speak. Rather than spin, the symbols drop down from the top, replacing the others from the previous round. It’s almost like playing a game of Tetris rather than an online slot. That wasn’t the only part about this innovative feature, though.
Forming a win on a payline in Gonzo’s Quest sees all the symbols included in such explode. They then disappear from the screen, with new ones falling into their spaces from above. That is where the avalanche effect gets its name from, as this repeats as long as new wins form. Through it, you are able to receive many wins from a single round of the game. That’s quite the slot innovation, right?
The avalanche reels (or cascading reels, as some other brands labelled them) were a big hit. Soon enough, other developers were creating slots with this feature. Titles like Sweet Bonanza, Gates of Olympus, Madame Voodoo and more offer them. In fact, over 50 slot games now operate with the cascading reels feature in them. That’s all thanks to the innovation of Netent and Gonzo’s Quest.
Starburst by Netent
You often can’t get away with mentioning Netent but not highlighting Starburst. When this game launched back in 2013, it became an almost instant hit with gamblers. When you look at the slot for the first time, it doesn’t appear to be anything spectacular. Or at least, it doesn’t look like it goes against the grain too much. Yet what Starburst introduced to players in a big way is the win both ways function. Incorporated into a simple enough slot release, it stood out as an appealing feature.
Starburst remains a very popular slot at many online casinos today. Most exceptional UK casinos work with the Netent brand, and this game is usually always present. The win both ways feature operates in exactly the way you would expect it to. Instead of only having winning combinations running left to right, it offers the opposite, too. This means that you can create wins from right to left. This doubles the chances you have of winning in essence, which will always appeal. Add that to the fact that Starburst is an entertaining game anyway, and you’ve got something special.
Never before had this function been available in slot games. Again, thanks to the unique qualities that Netent provides in its games, it now is. This has seen various slot releases offer win-both-ways options to players.
Dragon Born by Big Time Gaming
Things within the slot world had been running at a decent pace for the past couple of years. Yet by 2016, it needed something new to give it another boost. That’s when Big Time Gaming entered with its Dragon Born slot release. A great theme. Stunning graphics and animations. Exciting inbuilt special feature rounds. A top-quality soundtrack. What’s not to love about that setup? Well, nothing, as it happens. Yet those inclusions weren’t the reason people loved Dragon Born.
It was, in fact, the addition of the game’s Megaways function by Big Time Gaming. This eliminated the minimal paylines of its peers. While those games were launching with 20, 30 or 50 paylines in them, Dragon Born upped the limit. In fact, the Megaways function allowed it to offer up to 117,649 ways to win with every spin. This mechanic allowed for up to seven symbols to appear on each reel per spin taken. So, with every spin, a different number of ways to win was always in action.
Big Time Gaming built on the popularity of Dragon Born’s Megaways in a huge way. Not only did it start releasing more of its own slots with this function, but it licensed Megaways out. As a result, other developers have been able to gain a licence from the company to use it, too. This is why you will find various releases from other brands that also include Megaways. Popular options to play with this mechanic, amongst others, are:
- Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways
- Temple Tumble Megaways
- Catchphrase Cash
- Great Rhino Megaways
- Eye of Horus Megaways
- Wild Wild Riches: Luck of the Irish Megaways
- Big Bass Bonanza Megaways
- Reel King Megaways
- Madame Destiny Megaways
Wheel of Fortune by IGT
We couldn’t end this highlight of slot innovations without talking about IGT. This company serves as one of the stalwarts of the gaming industry. Throughout the years, it has released a series of Wheel of Fortune games. These have all gone on to become big hits with casino players.
Anyone who knows about television gameshows will know what Wheel of Fortune is. It is a popular programme to watch in many countries around the world. So, getting to play it for yourself in slot format is quite the compelling treat. As it happens, so successful was the first game of this nature from IGT, that it launched several others. They include options like Wheel of Fortune: Ruby Riches, Wheel of Fortune: Elegant Emeralds, and Wheel of Fortune: Ultra 5 Reels. Each of the games in the series has the titular wheel included in it. Yet they also bring something a bit different when it comes to their look and feel.
Of course, the central focus is the wheel itself. In most of the games, this is accessible as a bonus round within. For many, it also serves as the prelude to winning one of the jackpots involved. You spin the wheel and wherever it lands, you win the corresponding jackpot amount. The alternative is that the wheel round provides access to free spins, extra wins, and more.
The other titles within the Wheel of Fortune collection from this brand include:
- Wheel of Fortune: Power Wedges
- Wheel of Fortune: On Tour
- Mega Jackpots: Wheel of Fortune on Air
- Wheel of Fortune: Hawaiian Getaway
- Wheel of Fortune: Triple Extreme Spin
- Powerbucks Wheel of Fortune: Exotic Far East
- Powerbucks Wheel of Fortune: Latin Getaways
- Powerbucks Wheel of Fortune: Ruby Riches
- Powerbucks Wheel of Fortune: Shimmering Sapphires
IGT has commented before that the three-reel stepper Wheel of Fortune game remains the most popular. That, it says, is in part due to how simple to play it is. Yet there are certain innovations within the game that make it even more compelling. These upgrades and changes keep the gaming experience very relevant for gamers. The likelihood is that more releases from the Wheel of Fortune series will come to light in future, too.