When it comes to entertainment on situs slot machines, the symbols are part of the fun. Far from just a backdrop, they’re important in enabling game designers to give us an exciting experience that leaves us wanting to come back for more.
Explanation Of The Symbols Of Online Slot Games
There are many different types of symbols. Let’s compile our own slot symbol dictionary.
These symbols suggest playing card denominations, but aren’t depicted on playing cards. Instead, they’re used to make frequent low-paying combinations on games where the less frequent but higher-paying combinations use themed symbols.
Consisting of elongated rectangles, bars, like fruit symbols have been with us since they early days of slots and are said to derive from the logo of the Bell Fruit Gum company. Machines that use bars usually also use double bars and triple bars, with two or three bars stacked on top of each other.
These are the symbols everyone wants to see on modern video and online slots. Bonus symbols trigger a bonus event. When they show up, you might get free spins, you might get to spin a prize wheel and you might get to touch icons on a screen, playing a game within a game to collect bonus credits and build your bankroll.
In the ever-popular Cleopatra, for example, three Sphinx symbols take you to a free spin bonus. In the U.S., the big breakthrough for video slots came in the 1990s on Reel ’Em In, where three fishing lures take you to a game within a game where you choose a fisherman who you hope will land a big fish worth bigger credits.
Bonus events bring much of the fun to slots, giving you a chance to take a break from the main game, do something a little different and win extra credits without risking extra money.
Instead of one character depicted on a themed symbol, the same character is pictured twice. When one of those symbols lands on the screen, it counts for two in a row all by itself.
One notable game with double symbols is Shadow of the Panther. If you have a double panther followed by a single panther, you have three in a row to make a winning combination. Two consecutive double panthers is four in a row, and so one.
Symbols depicting cherries, plums, watermelons, oranges and lemons have been part of the slot experience since the early 1900s. The Mills Novelty Co., manufacturers of early slots, copyrighted the symbols in 1910, but they’ve long since passed into public domain and have been slot machine staples ever since.
Most symbols must line up on a payline to pay off. Not scatter symbols. If you have enough scatter symbols, you win even if they’re not on the same line. Usually it takes three or more scatter symbols to form a winning combination,. Sometimes two will do it. On Cleopatra, the same Sphinxes that launch free spins if you have at least three of them will bring you a scatter pay if you have two.
Another common slot machine symbol that has been with us for decades, 7s have had entire games built around them. Two of the most enduring three-reel games around are Bally’s Blazing 7s and IGT’s Red, White and Blue, where the big payoff comes from lining up Red, White and Blue 7s.
Repeating symbols of the same type, stacked one on top of the other, can lead to some huge wins. Stacked symbols can take up an entire column. Three or more stacks in a row give you winners on every payline. That’s when your credit meter goes into overdrive.
I once had a session saved on a game called Cherry Magic when I had Q symbols stacked on every reel. As on many video slots, the Q symbol was a low payer, but when every symbol on the screen is the same and you have five in a row on every payline, the payoff pads your budget nicely.
In the age of video slots and online slots, slot games usually have symbols designed to fit in with the theme of the game. You can expect to see stampeding dinosaurs in Dinosaur Stampede and animated fruit with an attitude in Freaky Fruit.
Symbols designated as “wild” match other symbols to help form paying combinations. If you have two of the same symbol lined up with a wild symbol, that counts as three in a row.
There often are restrictions on wild symbols. They usually don’t match bonus symbols, scatter symbols or multipliers, and sometimes don’t match high-paying symbols such as 7s.
The wild symbol concept is borrowed from poker. Wild-card games usually aren’t played in casino card rooms, but many a home game has had players choose games with deuces wild, jokers wild or one-eyed jacks wild. That idea transferred over to video poker and eventually to slot machines.