It is not just slot machines that have gone through big changes throughout history; the symbols contained within them have also changed through time. Some changes have been forced on these games by major changes in society, such as outright gambling bans, whilst other changes have been more technology led. The first ever slot that was created by Charles Fey in 1895 contained 3-reels and 5 symbols that included horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell.
In 1891 New Yorkers Sittman and Pitt developed a gambling machine that used 5 drums. This held a total of 50 cards faces but this machine did not see the light of day until after the Liberty Bell. It is however considered to be one of the earliest efforts to mimic the slots that we have today. In the early 1900s an outright gambling ban meant that slots were officially banned as gambling machines.
However, these games still existed in forms that did not give out cash prizes. Gambling symbols such as playing card faces were dropped and replaced with fruit symbols and slots took on the guise of vending and fruit machines – check out Tony Bet Reviews. In fact, this is how fruit machines came into existence and when the gambling ban ended, the fruit symbols remained in place and they are still part of many slots games even today.
The 1990’s saw the start of the digital revolution and the invention of the internet. This helped bring casino games into people’s homes. Online casinos became available to the masses and could be accessed with a click of a computer key. This all happened in 1996 and on top of this, the world experienced a taste of the potential of the first ever virtual video slot. WMS Industries Inc. released a video slot called Reel Em. This was the first ever slot to feature a second screen bonus round and it paved the way for a new era of video slots with more sophisticated symbols added to the reels.
Today, classic symbols from playing cards are slowly being pushed into the background by a new wave of symbols that are based on characters from hit movies and TV shows. Games like Highlander still utilize traditional slot symbols but all the high paying symbols are now characters lifted straight from the movie. Animals are also replacing traditional symbols in the large number of animal themed slots out there. Traditional slot symbols will always be part of the fabric of slot games but as time goes by, they may eventually be squeezed out completely.
The most wished for symbols now are those that trigger bonus rounds. These come in various forms that depend on the theme of the game. Zeus is the star symbol in Playtech’s Age Of The Gods: King Of Olympus slot and books are the most sought after symbol in the ever-growing catalogue of book themed slots. Sticky wilds are also a slot player’s dream in slots such as Lil Devil and Rumple Wild spins.