Comparing Online Slots to Traditional Video Games
There’s never been a better time to be a gamer. Regardless of whether you prefer to play on a console, PC, handheld device, or straight from a smartphone, you have more options than ever before. And with some 3.26 billion people worldwide invested in vital gaming technology, their choices will only continue to diversify.
Among the most popular titles played online today is one that blurs the lines between video games and casino games: slots. Once known as one-armed bandits thanks to their pullable lever, slots have since become digitized. Anyone who has spent time on the casino floor or on an online platform knows that modern slots run the gamut in terms of theme—from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to colourful and abstract projects like Starburst.
Some are even available to play for free. In terms of comparing online slots to regular titles, there is no difference in terms of design. Rather, free slots are popular amongst players who want to enjoy the game without getting real money involved. Other times, casino platforms will make certain slot games free for a certain period of time in order to bring more visibility to a popular title.
Regardless of whether slots are free to play or include a large bet amount, they’re a favourite amongst players—but why is that? It seems that their accessible format and high production quality make them a favourite. But do they hold up to video games in terms of traditional features? Let’s explore this digital world that now has been expanded between traditional, modern and the reigns of AI.
Gameplay mechanics refers to the way in which a game is played. A first-person shooter, for example, includes quite a few different mechanics compared to a mobile dating simulation. In slots, players have relatively few options in terms of inputs.
Depending on the title, they can expand or minimize the number of playing reels, manage their bet amount, and whether to automatically or manually spin the reel. Compared to a traditional video game—even a more casual dating simulation—the options are very limited. In fact, this represents one of the greatest differences between the two.
Rules & Objectives
Though gameplay mechanics in slots and video games are distinct, that doesn’t mean the two are entirely unrelated. In fact, many would argue that slots contain the most important element of any game: the objective of winning.
Like thousands of other traditional video games, slots are a single-player title. But players aren’t battling it out in a game of skill against an NPC. Instead, they’re interacting with an RNG. This is a random number generator that determines the totally random outcome of each spin—and they’re also used in just about every video game out there to generate unpredictable behaviour.
Just like gameplay mechanics inform how a player can advance in a game, its rules and objectives outline how that must happen. Once again, in slots, it’s as simple as selecting the ‘spin’ button—which is quite different, once again, from a traditional video game.
Narrative & Plot
Slots do a wonderful job of delivering excitement given its simplified mechanics and rules. But if there’s one reason that players enjoy the games just like they do traditional titles, it’s because they involve narrative and plot elements just like an open-world RPG or a battle royale game.
Let’s take a look at an example. The game Gates of Olympus is a popular choice for fans of fantasy and ancient Greek history. The audio production is top-notch, adding to the gaming experience, while multipliers and scatter symbols keep the action moving. With Zeus standing watch, there’s always the possibility of hitting a major combination that unlocks a bonus feature and more unique symbols and settings.
In other words, the narrative and plot aren’t nearly as fleshed out as long-form traditional video games—but it remains a central and cinematic aspect of this genre.