Today was the second day of the ICE Totally Gaming Exhibition at London’s Earls Court and being a dweller of the centre of the iGaming industry, I thought I’d have a stroll down and poke around to see what the iGaming industry had to offer.
First impressions; the exhibition hall would be more appropriately referred to as a tent, as upon entering it initially appears a circus of colours; a multitude of flashing lights, animated video graphics and all singing, all dancing performers (including IGT’s Elvis impersonator and VLT makers Jajot’s lovely lady jokers with cleavages bigger than the melons on its slots) – all adding to the pulsating atmosphere of the exhibition floor.
Once my eyes had adjusted to accept images of more than just tightly clad girls wearing lycra joker outfits, the sheer volume of casino products was literally mind blowing. Lucky, I’m not epileptic – otherwise I would have been writhing around on the floor within minutes. Anyhow, with thousands of vibrant Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and slot machines were calling me to pull down hard on their arms, and I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on those slots and give them a test run.
The first to grab my attention was WMS’ Aladdin slot game – not only did this baby have a giant purple genie grasping a electric crystal ball hovering above the screen, but playing the game made sure you were entertained with mesmerising vibrating chairs that had built in surround-sound. The graphics were pretty mesmerising too. One thought that came to mind was “this is casino gaming technology at its best”.
IGT probably held one of the biggest stands – after Playtech‘s double floor stand that is – boasting slots themed after movies such as The Hangover and Ghostbusters. And it’s hardly surprising there’s so many cultural references on these machines. Something more compelling than fruit is obviously needed to grab the next video gaming generation of gamblers.
Bally Technologies was another firm to take up a substantial amount of exhibition space. And sha’mon mother f***er – with its gigantic Michael Jackson King of Pop slot banners – it certainly needed it. Bally exhibited one of my favourite VLs of the day, a dual-screen Wheel of Fortune-esque slot which possessed an impressive mechanical rotating wheel with holiday themed gameplay. Their mobile iGaming stand didn’t fail to impress either, with iPads and smartphones exhibiting the company’s latest touch-screen online casino games that worked like a treat. Aristocrat’s casino systems also boasted an impressive array of VLTs with its Stunt Man Sam slot definitely taking the stage by storm.
When you’ve been sat playing on slot machines for pretend money and starring into the hypnotising turning of roulette wheels all day, you come to realise that once you’ve seen one, it becomes hard to distinguish it from the next. But that doesn’t go without saying they don’t all have their own unique little perks, such as 3D slot graphics, live animated buttons and characters and vibrating chairs. The ICE Totally Gaming exhibition didn’t half show me what an incredible line-up of casino technology there is out there.