As you can imagine, I play a lot of slots in an effort to stay caught up with what’s out there. Inevitably I notice trends, and today I want to talk about some recent evolutions to the Win Celebrations. These are often seen when a player wins a big amount.
Some recent games have implemented some changes to how this operates, and to me it feels like some were for the better, and some were for the worse. Let’s look at some of these changes and how they work out in practice.
Hold & Spin Count Up
After nearly a decade of hold and spin bonuses making us wait as every. Single. Coin. Flies. To. The. Top. Manufacturers are finally (FINALLY!) implementing the ability to speed that process up.
As a new mechanic, and an eye-catching one at that, I can understand the initial impulse to make sure those count-ups were prominent, loud and slow. But with all the other things you can do to speed up a slot – stop the reels, accelerate the count-up, and so on – this was a weird one to leave behind in that process.
It’s just starting to pop up on newer games such as the latest Dollar Storm Mega Grand Link machines, but it’s good to see this finally occurring on this bonus style – it was long overdue.
Elimination of Bonus Count Up
It’s begun to happen on occasion, but some games are now eliminating the bonus count up at the end of the bonus on game series that wouldn’t previously have skipped it.
The new Quick Hit Link has all sorts of things going for it, but one of the things I dislike is that when you get a stellar bonus, it transitions back to the main reels and then… nothing. No Big Win animation common on Quick Hit series games, no final bonus count-up or number displayed, nothing.
I get not bothering with this on bad bonuses (and this game can deliver the occasional clunker of a bonus), but when you win 100x, it feels like a whomp whomp moment when the bonus just ends.
WINNER on Small Prizes
Paradoxically, it still pauses everything to celebrate when you get five Quick Hit symbols or better. But they’ve never paid worse. Where original Quick Hit games would award 10x your bet on 5 Quick Hits, this barely pays 3x as a baseline, with sometimes credit prizes on the Quick Hit symbol bumping things a bit.
Those happen relatively frequently, but don’t offer that much value. Why are you slowing things down for that and not celebrating the bonus? I get that previous games played up the landing of 5 Quick Hit symbols too, but as the pays continue to fall, it just feels like a poor design choice to me.
But let’s not just pick on Quick Hit Link for this. Another new game series, Cash Stacks Gold from Ainsworth, will display a big Winner announcement whenever you win cash on reels prizes.
The problem is that they’re often small, like 1-5x, yet the WINNER display is about as big and grandiose as when you win one of their Must Hit By Major jackpot progressives, but the stakes aren’t anything close to that for this.
These animations slow things down, don’t really fool a player that anything big has happened, and just reinforce how much money has been removed over time from base games in favor of beefing up bonuses.
Announcing wins is a key design element of slots, but when done wrong it can make a game feel awkward or imbalanced. As pays continue to shift in one direction and make games harder to win, it’s important not to lose sight of how those announcements resonate in the minds of players, both the ones done well and the ones done poorly.