Stars shine on newest slots

Sep 17, 2002 7:36 AM

   Pat Sajak and Vanna White, the stars of TV’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune game show, are among the many celebrities to provide star power at IGTs’ booth when the leading gaming machine manufacturer unveils more than 70 new products—including a new Wheel of Fortune video slot at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) this week.

   “This is our chance to showcase what the combined resources of IGT and Anchor Gaming can produce, at the premier gaming trade show in the world,” said T.J. Matthews, IGTs’ chief operating officer. “IGT is completing a record year and, although ”˜bigger and better’ tends to be overused, it really does apply to what IGT is unveiling at G2E this year.”

   The IGT Experience, booth #903 at the show, will also host visits from Loretta Swit, who played “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the M*A*S*H television series; Joe Garagiola, former host of the TV game show Sale of the Century; actress Teri Garr, who starred in the classic horror movie spoof, Young Frankenstein; actor Max Baer, best known as Jethro in The Beverly Hillbillies; Lucie and Desi Arnaz, Jr.; Wheel of Fortune game show announcer Charlie O’Donnell; Cassandra Peterson, who portrays the campy horror heroine Elvira Mistress of the Dark; and Mort Walker, cartoonist/creator of the Beetle Bailey comic strip. Each of those familiar entertainment titles has been adapted to a new IGT gaming machine theme.

   “Every year, I say that we’ll outdo ourselves in the quality of new games introduced at G2E. And the fact is, we do,” said Joe Kaminkow, vice president of Product Design. “We could introduce 300 new games a year if we chose to, but frankly, quantity means nothing and quality means everything. The entire IGT product design team keeps raising the bar on the entertainment value that can be imagined and built into a gaming machine. Wait till you see what we’ve come up with this year.”

   The list of familiar themes also includes new products like American Graffiti, from the classic George Lucas film about high school graduation night in the Fifties; Kenny Rogers, brimming with the sounds of one of country music’s premier entertainers; and That Girl, based on the hit TV series that starred Marlo Thomas.

   The IGT Experience will comprise several distinct product preview areas: MegaJackpots machines including two new games utilizing IGTs’ new AVP platform, standard slots and video games, Premium Series slots and poker games, Game King multi-game suites, and IGT Gaming Systems. A complement of new video poker games developed by Action Gaming, Inc. will also be featured.

   One of IGTs’ product highlights at the show will be the new progressive “pod” concept, in which its similarly themed MegaJackpots games are grouped into a single progressive network. The first games in the Spooky Slots pod are The Addams Family Cousin It, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, and Young Frankenstein machines. The Famous Games pod will include UNO and Magic 8 Ball machines; The Beverly Hillbillies (IGT’s first MegaJackpots penny wide-area progressive) and M*A*S*H machines will be the first games in the TV Hits pod; and the Game Show Greats pod will initially include Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions and Sale of the Century machines.

   IGTs’ other new MegaJackpots machine offerings will include new versions of The Price is Right and Austin Powers machines, two new additions to the Diamond Cinema series: James Dean and Sinatra, I Love Lucy, and four new versions of Quartermania: Diablo Diamond, Triple Texas Tea, Five Times Pay, and Red, White & Blue. The Magic 8 Ball and Austin Powers machines feature an improved version of the spinning sphere originally created by Anchor Gaming. “We’ve greatly expanded our MegaJackpots machine offerings to keep the product line fresh and exciting,” said Ed Rogich, vice president of Marketing. “But we’ve also got a very strong lineup of regular games to show off this year. And our booth design for The IGT Experience is going to be a stunner.”

   A major section of the booth will introduce a host of new themes available for purchase including Mucho Dinero, Magic Mirror, Triple Double Five Times Pay, Totally Puzzled, Happy Camper, Kenny Rogers, Hexbreaker, Antique Appraisal, Phone Tag and Buffet Mania. There is even The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys game, which follows in the crazy footsteps of last year’s cult favorite, the SPAM machine.

   IGTs’ new Premium Series product line of slots and video poker will be represented by Beetle Bailey’s Roll for Rank, That Girl, Money Mad Martians, Texas Tina, Cup of Joe with Donuts, and American Graffiti video slots, poker games Big Split Poker and Multi Strike Poker, and Cash King Checkers. AVP games-which feature dramatically advanced technology in video streaming and enhanced onscreen color and player interactivity—include the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous machine and a stunning new version of the Wheel of Fortune machine.

   New Action Gaming video poker games from IGT include Fast Action Poker, Triple Play Blackjack, and Double Down Stud machines. New poker innovations will include Fifty Play Draw Poker and Hundred Play Draw Poker with built-in progressive jackpots and a new game concept called “Spin and Hold” that combines Action Gaming video poker technology with proven IGT slot themes like Wild Cherry, Little Green Men and Double Diamond. In this hybrid, players wager as they would on a Triple Play Draw Poker game and get a bonus spin. When they’ve seen the result of the spin, they can “hold” symbols as in a video poker game and then choose to re-spin to improve the outcome of their “hand.” IGTs’ Game King Multi-Game 4.3 Poker Plus machines will also be showcased. These multi-game video poker machines offer seven new video poker games including Super Double Double Bonus Poker and Super Bonus Deuces Wild Poker, and can be configured to support multi-denomination wagering. The newest, Multi-Game 5.0 version of Game King will also be on display. IGT Gaming Systems will display and demonstrate several player-and casino-friendly product innovations. The EZ Pay Ticket System is the ticket-in, ticket-out solution for reducing or eliminating machine coin hopper fills and simplifying hand pays, and supports selectable-denomination gaming in casinos. Table Touch software technology tracks table game player activity, monitors table inventory, displays the complete casino floor layout, performs a variety of pit administrative tasks, and customizes player awards and promotions—all with the touch of a finger. IGSs’ PT-TV panel uses multimedia technology to display player and game activity to casino floor personnel. Its features include a four-inch, full-color LCD display that sends customized messages directly to the player.