Entering the world of online slots gaming for the first time can often be a slightly bewildering experience. For a start if you simply search for ‘slots’ on Google you’ll be bombarded with options, and if you stop to browse the slots tabs at any popular online casino you’ll similarly be bombarded with hundreds of choices.
Seemingly in an effort to sort the wider universe of slot games into more manageable categories, you’ll often find terms like ‘progressive jackpot’, ‘themed slot’ and ‘Vegas slot’ bandied about, but you may also have seen games grouped as ‘Video slots’ and wondered ‘what makes them so special?’
The term ‘Video Slots’ is really a relic of casino machine gaming from the last century as it was a term of art to describe what was, at the time, the quantum leap in technology that saw the first slots replace physical reels with entirely electronically generated images. Back in the mid 70s the Fortune Coin Co. debuted the first prototype video slot that presented its reels on a colour VDU (yeah, remember when ‘screens’ were called ‘Visual Display Units’ to make them sound like they belonged on the bridge of a totally futuristic space ship?), yet still retained the traditional mechanical lever at the cabinets sides to initiate a spin.
By the end of the 70s, Fortune Coin Co. had been gobbled up by IGT (the company that slot historians will know as the creator of the famous Cleopatra slot) and Video slots were beginning to assert their presence on the gaming floors of some legendary Vegas casinos.
During the 80s, video slots technology saw a parallel growth with the rise in consumer demand for video games such as the legendary Space Invaders, Asteroids and Pac-Man, and brought with it a chance for casino machines to go far beyond the limitations imposed by spinning physical reels.
New bonus features and bigger reel sets become possible with wholly electronic reels, and symbols could animate and transform in ways previously unseen. Older electro-mechanical slots soon looked very unexciting in comparison and video slots quickly become a dominant force in land-based clubs, and remain so to this day.
So what differentiates a video slot from other slots at an online casino? Well, in truth, nothing. All online slots use purely electronic reels (if they have them at all – Da Vinci Diamonds and Gonzo’s Quest slot don’t strictly have ‘reels’ as such) presented on screens, so all of them can be considered video slots.
The term nowadays is rather meaningless, however it might be argued that it’s now used to describe online slots that mimic or replicate the video slots found in land-based casinos. For that reason games such as Cleopatra Slot, Zeus slot and Reel King could be considered as ‘video slots’, but we honestly think the distinction is redundant when describing online slot games.
Video slots may have been a distinct category back in the day when Evel Knievel was jumping double-decker buses, but in this modern Internet age it’s a bit like describing an iPod as a ‘Walkman’.