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Of Carbon and Silicon
Friday, 18 March 2011
What's so great about slot machines?

Ah, the slot machine... a casino staple since the 1950s. What's the first thing you're likely to see when you set foot onto the casino floor? About a hundred or so slot machines, neatly arranged in rows (or columns, depending on where you stand). However, the slot machine's style is going to change in every place you go. Some casinos have proprietary designs, others have stock designs made for anyone who'll buy them. It's sort of like television... most networks have programmes which can only be seen on that particular network, but there are a number of programmes (new and old) which are syndicated and available for viewing on any network that will have them.

...But, they're all the same really. Television shows and slot machines. The mode of delivery with a television programme is the same, no matter what kind of device you use -- it's an audiovisual transmission which you view with your eyes and hear with your ears. Regardless of whether you watch it on a CRT monitor from the '80s, an unnecessarily large LCD screen from 2009, or an expensive 3D TV, it's the same thing. It doesn't matter if you watch on your mobile phone, your PSP, your computer, Hulu, YouTube,, Netflix, whatever -- no matter where it is, the programme is still the same audiovisual transmission which you see with your eyes and hear with your ears.
Likewise, slot machines are all fundamentally identical to each other. The mode of operation is to pull on a crank to activate flywheels with pictures on them. If the pictures line up where the flywheels stop, a payout is given. Regardless of the style on the casing (tropical fruit, Monopoly iconography, manga girls with katana or nunchaku, a distractingly bright spinning Wheel of Fortune wheel attached to the top), it's still going to be the same fundamental principle in operating the machine. Some machines are computerised, some are contained entirely within JavaScript or Flash. The only difference is that the programmer may have a say in how frequently payouts are given. You still pull a virtual crank (often by pressing a button on the casing or a key on your keyboard), you still watch pictures scroll by on virtual flywheels, and you still get some kind of prize if you line the pictures up.

I suppose it's no different from The Incredible Crash Dummies, when you talk about fundamentals. Most of the Crash Dummies would explode when you pressed their impact buttons, but some were more appealing than others. Even though Vince, Larry, Slick, Spin, Axel, Dash, J.R., Wack, Flip, Pro-Tek Slick, Pro-Tek Spin, Chip, and Dent all performed the exact same function, there were ones that I liked better than others. Why? I preferred Spin's indigo colour to Dash's mustard yellow. I really didn't like Chip or Dent, mainly because of their Leno-style cleft chins.
A casino patron might be more attracted to slots with hot girls painted on the casing than an identical machine painted to look like the Old West.

There... I think I managed to stop this entry looking like a criticism of one of the advertisers.

Posted by theniftyperson at 5:22 PM CDT

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