Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aces Casino Blog "What's New in Vegas" Volume 1: IGT Debuts "Little Shop Of Horrors" Slot Machine

To steal a line from the movie, "Poltergeist"......

"They're BA-AAACK."

That's right, my friends: The Aces Casino Blog team is finally back from their 13-day sabbatical in Idaho, and, if you ask the management of the Orange County casino party leaders, the return is not a moment too soon.   And, before we go any further, we'd like to give a shout-out of our heartfelt thanks to all of you out there that sent kind words and e-mails about how much you enjoy reading our irreverent, dopey blog each and every week while we were all on vacation.

You guys and gals are really fantastic, and we PROMISE you that your perseverance that got you through all of our blog re-runs in the last 14 days will be paid back "in spades" when we chronicle all of our wacky happenings while on the road to Idaho.  You won't believe it, trust me.  You KNOW that things happen when we're dragged out of our casino party comfort zone, and believe me, things happened.  The BAD news?   All of that craziness will be covered in subsequent editions of the Aces Casino Blog, later.

Now, The GOOD news -- When you drive to Idaho, you just HAVE to drive through Las Vegas, don't you?    Uhhh, yep... And, if you're going to drag me to Mackay, Idaho for two weeks for some goofy fishing trip disguised as a family reunion, you KNOW that THIS orange county casino night guy is just going to HAVE to spend a little time in "Glitter Gulch" before I eventually move on to potato-land.

It's a given.  Hey, I can write some of this off, can't I?  I'm doing research for Aces Casino, the Los Angeles casino party company leaders.  Some bloggers are takers.  Not ME....I'm a giver.  I'm stopping in Las Vegas to work, friends.  Believe me.  (Grin.)  (Ed. Note: And, if you believe that, he has some desert property in Arizona to sell you.)

So, after dropping off the family at their hotel at the Orleans (they went to the movies, and didn't want me to go with.  They say I add my own dialogue to the movie out loud, for all to hear.  Guilty as charged.), I'm off to find some of the latest toys and games in Las Vegas.  I sit down at one of the bars inside the hotel (the Alligator Bar, I believe), and quickly strike up a chat with a gentleman sitting next to me.

During this discussion, I discover he's a "local" (someone who lives in Vegas), so I ask him if he knows of any new additions to the casino gaming scene, and he informs me that there's a new slot machine over at Sam's Town called "Little Shop Of Horrors," a machine whose theme is directly based on the movie and/play of the same name.  He tells me it's really something, so, upon hearing this, I down the rest of my drink, and head out to Sam's Town to see this new 3-D slot...


If THIS is the future of casino slots, the future is VERY bright, indeed.  Now, remember, this Orange County casino party guy is "stuck in the 70's."  I have always liked the true three-or-four-reel traditional slots, the mechanical marvels of the 20th Century.  But, for an electronic display-type of machine, this thig is really something.

IGT’s Little Shop of Horrors slot machine features three-dimensional, man-eating Venus flytraps that grow from the reels’ edges and base. The reel set is hexagonal, with five symbols in the middle reel, four on the second and fourth reels, and three on the outer reels. It is also has a "Tumbling Reels" feature, which adds to winning combinations as the winning symbols disappear and new reel spots tumble into place.
'Feed Me!"

The symbols are based on the play’s original characters; Seymour (the nerdy young florist shop assistant - Remember Rick Moranis in that movie role?) rolls his eyes and scratches his head; Audrey (a sweet, quiet, ditsy and insecure co-worker) winks and throws kisses; Orin (Audrey’s abusive and sadistic dentist boyfriend) smirks and waves his dental equipment around and Mr. Mushnik (the penny-pinching owner of the Flower Shop) throws money.  I wish the owner of Aces Casino would throw money at us, but I digress.  (Ed. Note: Didn't take long for the first digression to appear in the blog, did it?)

The Tumbling Reels game play occurs whenever the plant symbol appears on the center reel in a winning combination. All symbols that are in a winning combination disappear and new ones fall into place. The plant then tumbles to the bottom of the center reel and continues to grow larger each time it is part of a winning combination. 

The plants say, "Feed me," accompanied by loud-crunching. If it gets to be full size (after four tumbles), you get the "Pick a Bud" bonus feature. During this bonus seven or eight "buds" appear and you choose one. The prizes can be more credits, a multiplier of the win, or a free games feature. In the free-spin round, extra symbols turn wild, and the Venus plants crunch away. Each time the plant grows to full size, the player gets more free games and additional symbols turn wild.

The 3-D graphics and sounds are great.  This particular machine was of the 25c variety, with a five-coin maximum play.  I got into the "Bonus" play quite a few times, and after playing for about 20 minutes, I ended up a winner of some $38, all of which was earned during a $45 jackpot round that occurred earlier in the session.  Yeah, I never know when to quit, but once you learn how this game operates and displays the five reels, It's a heckuva lot of fun.  

I saw quite a few machines on the casino floor that were also a blast to play (we'll touch on them in later blog editions), but for my money, "Little Shop Of Horrors" was a big hit and a HUGE surprise.  Hey, even this Orange County casino night blogger that rarely approves of new gaming technology in the industry has to tip his ol' hat.  For IGT's "Little Shop of Horrors" slot machine series, we give four stars out of five.  (I'd give it five, but I didn't win the big jackpot during the testing.  Hey, sue me.  I'm shallow.)

That's all for now, blog-buddies.  We'll be back on Friday with (hopefully) our first report of just how nutty a two-week car drive to Idaho can get.  We must have at LEAST seven stories of our exploits on the road and the many colorful people we met and the situations we encountered along the way, and I'll give you a hint about one of them -- When we stayed in Idaho, we didn't stay in hotel rooms.  We stayed in a TENT.  IN IDAHO.  IN THE RAIN.  EVERY NIGHT.  Oh, GEE, you KNOW how much I LOVE tents.  (Bleh.)  

Hilarity ensued, believe me.  You'll get all the unedited poop on that trip, as well as other topics in later blog entries, like the trip our Orange County casino night party team took to Calabasas to see the Kardashians in their natural habitat some 3 months ago, a story we haven't shared yet.  We've also got the upcoming 2011 Fantasy Football season to yak about, including our takes on our league's draft coming up in three weeks.  Believe me, we've got a lot of meaningless info to report.  It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Someone like me.  

I love working for a company whose motto is, "This Beats Working." 

It sure does, my friends.  It sure does.

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