My car is in the garage today so I had to take my son to nursery in a taxi, which kind of left me stranded in town until the mechanic called me to let me know I could pick up my car.
That meant I had to take my laptop with me and find somewhere with wifi so I could actually get some work done.
Why am I telling you this very banal story?
Because I ended up in my local library where I can use the (very good) wifi for free, and I don’t even have to shell out on an overpriced posh coffee for the privilege.
Anyway, while I was in there I spotted an incongruous looking touch screen table top, and when I went to investigate I got a bit of a surprise.
Free Slots to Play
The touch screen table was loaded with games like archery, pin ball, froggy, and that sort of thing – an excellent incentive to get the younger generation through the library doors.
But in amongst the many games available, was a 3 reel slot machine.
Now, obviously, this was a free to play slot machine so it was just for fun with no money changing hands, but it did seem like an odd choice for a game option in a place where children are encouraged to go – especially given all the stringent safeguarding measures that have been implemented over the last few years.
Is a slot machine game, even if it is only playable for fun, really an appropriate choice for a library?
I had a go on it, and the player starts with $10 (even though we are in the UK…) and must drag coins across from their bank to the slot in 25 cent increments.
You then use your hand to spin each reel in turn and you either win or lose just like with a regular slot.
I’m guessing it runs on a super simple RNG.
It was quite fun for a short time actually, I enjoyed actively spinning the reels myself, but still, surely the anti gambling crowd would have a riot if they found out about it.
Do games like this encourage a gambling mentality? And if so, what on earth is it doing in a place where children can freely walk in off the street and access it?
The hilarious thing about all of this is that the library has banned access to gambling related websites on their wifi – so I can get up and play a three reel slot on their snazzy touch screen table, but I couldn’t use their wifi to access this website to tell you all about it!
Interactive Slot Machines
This unexpected turn of events did give me hands on experience of using a more interactive video slot though, and I have to say it was novel.
As an industry, we are constantly discussing what could be the next in terms of gaming trends, and those who create games are always trying to come up with the next big thing.
In a world where companies like Occulus are releasing increasingly affordable virtual reality headsets, and touch screen technology is constantly improving, there is no reason why this sort of thing couldn’t catch on.
A VR headset that can be used with real online slots, allowing users to ‘see’ gigantic reels in front of them and spin them with a wave of their hand would be a very different experience to simply sitting there clicking a mouse or tapping your phone screen.
Equally, a physical machine where players could spin the reels themselves one at a time (if they wanted to) would give that player the flexibility to play slowly or quickly, and mess around with what they find more exciting.
Is it more fun to spin one wheel at a time, slowly revealing whether or not there will be a winning combination? Spin the first 3 reels all at once then the last 2 individually to see how far a win will go?
It would certainly give players the chance to create a more individual slotting session.