On the first day of Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I toured the booths of Incredible Technologies, WMS Gaming and International Game Technology. I also looked in on some new table games, but that's a subject for another time.
Impressions of the beginning of the long march through the slotmakers' booths, with one game from each:
**Incredible's second King of Bling game, Bounce 2 Nite, is a blast, with a couple of new features, One is Iced Out, triggered by diamond symbols on the first two reels. The diamonds are held, and everything else goes into respin mode. The diamonds dance, bounce, sway and spin in time to the music, and the tempo picks up as the wins mount. The respins continue as long as they bring more diamonds, which lock into place. The goal is to ice out the screen, covering it in diamonds.
The Bounce 2 Nite feature involves bouncing a flashy car. Touch the front left bumper, and it raises and bounces down with a crash, revealing bonus credits. Touch other areas of the car, and they bounce too. The awards are random, not determined by where you touch the car. Focus groups just liked making it bounce.
**WMS has much, much to offer, and I can't possibly do justice by focusing on one game. There'll be more to come in magazines and in my syndicated column, but for now. I loved its new Iron Man game, with plenty of images, sounds and clips from the movie. Bonus rounds are iconic. Slot players will love seeing the Jericho missiles fired onto the screen to create winners.
The playing field has 5 reels, each 12 symbols deep. The center 5x4 section is the bonus zone. You need the bonus characters to land in the zone to launch the bonus events. When Black Widow shows up, you want her in the bonus zone.
**IGT is involved in all market segments, and I'll be writing about its Megajackpots and video poker games later. One core game I had fun testing was Centipede, with its skill-based bonus. IGT went for an old-school video game feel, and it really game through.
In the bonus event, you use a joystick to move into position, then one of four buttons to fire at the crawling centipede, elimnating some segments for bonuses and sending the remnants on their separate ways. I did destroy the first centipede to move to level 2, but alas, could not advance again. I still got a nice bonus, and a lot of fun.