Clones: How Some Slots Can Be a Lot Alike

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Lightning Dollar Link clones together

When we go to a casino, it can be impressive how many different games there are out there. But as you play, you begin to realize that many games are very familiar.

To reduce development costs, and increase the chances for a hit, game makers will often develop what are known as clones. Clones are multiple games that are in all ways the same except for its name and graphics. The pay table structure is identical, but visually it can look quite different.

When AGS launched Rakin’ Bacon, it became a clear hit, and has now seen additional versions come out over the past few years. Rakin’ Bacon started as a clone of other AGS games that didn’t have the same level of success. Indeed, the original Rakin’ Bacon still maintains some floor space at many casinos, while the games it was cloned from, like Olympus Strikes, is pretty rare at this point.

Lightning Link machines were released in cloned pairs. Tiki Fire is the same game as Heart Throb; High Stakes and Magic Pearl are also the same, as are Sahara Gold and Happy Lantern.

Sometimes, game makers will opt for a near-clone option. They’ll introduce one little twist that makes the games distinct, even though for the most part they’re the same. A great example is the Wicked Wheel series by Everi. 

Each new release is a pair of games, one of which has wilds with multipliers that are activated when used in a line hit, and the other which has wilds with credit prizes that are awarded when part of a line hit. Otherwise the games are identical.

The final variation is generally a rule tweak, popular with brand extensions. For instance, Dragon Link games are effectively tweaked versions of Lightning Link games, with the addition of more denominations and the alignment of free games to always be 6 on the trigger (as opposed to some Lightning Link versions that can have 8 or 10).

With these techniques, it can be easier to release new games to the market with already proven math, without having to start from scratch, and with less development requirements.

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