This is the time of the year when most clubs have an opportunity to get some new machines on the gaming floor as we build towards the busy pre-Christmas period. There were lots of interesting game features from all the manufacturers at the recent AGE Show but the reaction of the players to the games is the most important factor. Some early performance data is just starting to come through for many of the new games with some promising results.
The long awaited release of Aristocrats Dragon Cash games has been no disappointment for the clubs that jumped in early with fantastic performance results for all four of the new games. ‘Autumn Moon’ and ‘Panda Magic’ are just nudging out the other two games, ‘Happy and Prosperous’ and ‘Golden Century’, for the top spots in the rankings at the moment. “Hold and Spin” features have been driving the market for the last two years and these games build on that dominance with an added scatter win of 250 X the bet and many of the bigger punters have already discovered the advantages of the $2 denomination choice on the games. As with the earlier Lightning Cash games there is a choice of $5000 or $8000 top jackpots available and these games are available in the wider Helix+ machine which looks impressive and stands out on the gaming floor. The Queenslanders have Dragon Link available as well as the SAP version, with the link games generally leading the market for that state.
IGT has gone in a different direction providing a number of games with interesting new features to add some game variety to our floors. They have also listened to the clubs by supplying their new concept games at a slightly more advantageous percentage for the club, without compromising on performance. They are two HyperHits games ‘The Golden Bow’ and ‘Longship Legend’ and both are achieving some very strong early results in the NSW and QLD markets. Both games have a common 5th reel with bonus wins which gives the players a chance to improve their win and achieve the jackpots, but have slightly different game features. ‘Longship Legend’ features free games with expanding wilds, and ‘The Golden Bow’ has free games with locked wilds and respins. As well as $5000 and $9000 jackpot startup levels, there is a $3000 jackpot available for smaller clubs.
The second feature concept is a new bonus delivery for players, Prize Disk. It has just been launched in a couple of new games in the last few weeks with ‘Wolf Ridge’ just slightly stronger than ‘Elephant King’ so far. The prize disk scrolls across the top of the reels and gives the players a few shots at extra bonus wins and free games as they play. It is an original feature in a market that is starting to look very much the same and performance results have been very strong.
While it’s not approved and in the market just yet, AGT had a new, low jackpot, feature-driven link, ‘Fire Power’. Multigame and multidenom, the link is designed to hit often and advertises the most recent jackpots for each level to the players with four great games and a variety of feature bonuses including free games, bonus multipliers, extra wilds and symbol counts. A new machine design, the EVO, presents the link very well with noticeably improved graphic clarity on screen.
‘Big Hit Bonanza’ is the latest range of SAP games for AGT with four new games soon to be available. All games have the popular ‘Hold and Spin’ style feature that is prevalent in the market but the players are given an additional opportunity to win bonus credits as well as bonus free games. These games mark a move away from the games with overlaid symbols that have been the core of their product for some time and it will be interesting to watch the market reaction.
One game that sparked much interest was ‘Pacman Wild Edition’. This favourite arcade game from the 80s targets the late 40s to early 50s age groups that are the regular players in most clubs. The sounds and symbols will be very familiar to players in this age bracket and the 3 different feature deliveries in this game should hold their attention for some fun gameplay.
Just moving into a few clubs in the last week is SG Gaming’s new ‘Pink Panther’ series. The first three games in the range ‘Mega Mariachi’, ‘Kalahari King’ and ‘Many Fortunes’ build on the strength of their ‘Locked and Loaded’ games where the players’ wins continue to build and increase as they progress through the feature. It has been a winning formula for SG Gaming and the early Maxgaming results are very strong. The game theme is well-known to regular players and will suit many market segments, particularly the 50+ female players that are such a strong component of the gaming market today.
Konami continues to see solid results from their new Cash Hurricane games across the market. ‘Duo Charms’ and ‘Eye of the Amazon’ are joined by the latest in the range, ‘Tiki Charms’ and are proving to be popular SAP games for the regular players who enjoy the entertaining features. The smaller players in most clubs are still drawn to their Jackpot series with ‘Carnival Cruise Jackpot’ and the newest ‘Paris Moonlight Jackpot’ among others, still ranking well in the Maxgaming reports. These games are proving to be very effective as 2 cent games in lots of clubs.
Aruze has launched a couple of good games since the AGE Show with their multidenom Cash Locomotive games ‘Mighty Greek’, ‘Aztec Legend’, ‘Egyptian Majesty’ and ‘Happy Dragon’ the strongest currently. These games suit small to medium players looking for some fun and to spend some time on a machine.