Slot machines have been around for a long time, as everyone knows. But what most people probably don’t know is just how long this incredibly popular form of gambling entertainment has been available, and actually the exact date of the invention of the slot machine is unknown. According to Wikipedia, slot machines were first developed somewhere in between the years 1887 and 1895, though the timeline of their development is a bit on the murky side.
What is known is that the man who invented the machine now commonly nicknamed “the one armed bandit” due to its lever function and its ability to take players’ money, was a man named Charles Fey who lived in San Francisco, California. Initially the games were mostly takeoffs of early attempts at creating automated poker machine games, which proved to be overly complicated and thus mostly unsuccessful affairs, largely owing to the inability of these very early machines to account for the myriad of possible winning combinations that can occur in the game of poker. By developing a simpler game, Charles Fey introduced the world an early form of what is now a ubiquitous casino fixture.
By 1960s, the Bally Corporation had developed the first ever fully electromechanical version of the slot machine, and the machines have come a long way in the half century since. It is almost amusing to think that the very early gambling machine was hobbled by the complexity of the standard card games it was attempting to replicate, given the capability of modern companies to create virtually any type of game you can think of and many that you can’t think of now that we live in a computerized era. Of course, that kind of limitless possibility and creative branding has introduced the gambling public to an entirely new type of gambling machine: the branded slot machine.
While branded slot machines are not something new – they’ve been a fairly standard fixture at casinos the world over for at least a decade now – they are becoming more and more bold in their branding, with casinos and slot machine manufacturers partnering with big Hollywood media companies to produce machines like The Dark Knight slot machine and the Twilight Saga slot machine. Much like you get the toy for the movie at McDonald’s and the ride featuring the movie at your local theme park, so too can you play the slot machine associated with your favorite movies.
Going from simple barrels with levers attached to basic electronic machine to complex games featuring limitless possibilities for play features and marketing opportunities, it is fun to imagine what the game manufacturers will come up with next. With the technological advances we see constantly occurring in today’s tech-driven society, the sky certainly is the limit.