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IGT reinvents the Wheel

Apr 27, 2004 12:40 AM

"It hardly seems enough to say that Wheel of Fortune is the most successful slot machine of all time. It is more like the Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron of slot machines, rolled into one," says Ed Rogich, vice president of marketing for slot manufacturer IGT.

Given the brand’s reputation, it’s no wonder that the launch of Wheel of Fortune Special Edition, the newest variation to carry the Wheel of Fortune name, is creating a stir. Nevada players will be among the very first in the nation to sample the excitement.

With a MegaJackpots award that starts at a whopping $1.5 million, this 5-reel, 15-line nickel game is built on IGT’s new Advanced Video Platform or AVP. This juiced-up technology delivers advanced visual effects, animation and sound that rates a "wow" from even the most experienced video slot player.

Thanks to the high-speed computing power, there’s incredibly sharp, live action video of Pat Sajak and Vanna White. When the longtime stars of the television program appear on screen, it is easy to imagine what it must feel like to stand on the show’s soundstage. The fantasy is helped along in the bonus rounds as Pat and Vanna cheer your progress, give instructions and seemingly interact with you.

"Slot machines have steadily become more and more entertaining with each technical advance, and this new Wheel of Fortune Special Edition is absolutely state of the art," Rogich says. "Best of all, it’s not just about technology; it is a fun game that provides plenty of variety so each session offers a new experience. And like the cherry on a sundae, there’s that big progressive top award that can grow to be worth millions of dollars."

Just as its older spinning reel slot cousins, Wheel of Fortune Special Edition features the ever-popular wheel but in a jazzed-up, three pointer, triple color version. Special Edition, however, draws much more from the ever-popular television show, incorporating the word puzzle into the bonus rounds in addition to showcasing Pat and Vanna.

When the Triple Action bonus is triggered, the screen displays three of the television show’s word puzzles, each associated with one of the different colored pointers. The player selects from tiles at the bottom of the screen and, as the tiles reveal letters, the game finds the letter in at least one of the three puzzles. Each time a letter is found, the bonus value associated with each puzzle increases.

When one of the tiles is uncovered to reveal a pointer icon, Pat and Vanna appear on screen and prompt the player to push the "Spin" button to send the bonus wheel turning. With the familiar audience chant and the wheel sound effects as background, the wheel spins; when it stops, the puzzle is "solved," and the bonus value is revealed. The bonus value is then multiplied by an amount that ranges from 15 to 500 times, depending on the value that lands under the corresponding wheel pointer.