It’s hard to believe, when playing your favourite video Slots online, that the game has been around since the late 1800s. The game itself has come a long way, transformed from the classic slot machine, where you were required to pull a lever and collect your prizes from behind the bar, to the futuristic online video Slots of today, that you can play on sites like Karamba.
As the game has advanced, so too have its symbols, and advancements in technology have enabled sites to incorporate more elaborate, animated symbols to keep the game fresh and exciting. So, how did the humble slot machine symbols become what they are today? Read on to find out all about the evolution of slot machine symbols.
The original symbols
The first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey in the late 19th century, and the aim of the game was to match five symbols across the reels in order to win a prize. The first symbols to grace the slot machine were a mixture of card suits, such as a diamond, a heart and a spade, as well as a horseshoe and a bell. In order to win the jackpot, the player was required to line up three bells across the reels, scoring them the highest pay-out of a staggering 50 cents – a worthy prize at the time.
Although our gaming preferences have changed over the years, and online platforms are now the most popular way to play slot games, we still have an appetite to experience the eclecticism of the traditional slot machine. Therefore, you’ll notice that many games still use the original symbols as their lowest paying icons!
As the slot machine grew in popularity, laws were put in place to prohibit their use, since there was concern about how ethical they were, as gambling was frowned upon. To get around this issue, a fruit-themed slot machine was cleverly designed, disguising itself as a chewing gum dispenser. This was the birth of the fruit machine.
Since the chewing gum that inspired the machine’s design was fruit flavoured, the game’s symbols took the form of various fruit, which included lemons, cherries and grapes. These fruity symbols were joined by the classic bell symbol and also a Bell-Fruit Gum icon. This rectangular symbol eventually evolved and became the bar symbol, that is still present in many online games today.
Video slot symbols
When you visit your favourite online site and browse the selection of Slots, you’ll be greeted by a huge variety of themes, which will certainly keep you entertained. Since many slot games are now elaborately themed, their symbols have had to follow suit, and though many games still use classic symbols as their lower-paying icons, their higher-paying symbols may be new and exciting.
For example, in an Ancient Egyptian themed slot, you could be joined by jewelled symbols, mummies and mysterious pyramids - what more could you want? Not only has the form of the symbols changed, but they now have more functions than ever before. In a video slot, you could unlock the game’s most exciting features by landing a wild, a scatter, or a bonus symbol.
Since there are so many symbols and features for you to get your head around when playing Slots online, make sure to read the game’s pay-table and information section before you start playing your chosen game!