These days, online slot machines are impressive beasts. Cut scenes, sweeping soundtracks and slick animations have helped make the current renditions of one-armed bandits a sight to behold. But despite all the sparkling new bells and whistles, there’s still something so appealing about the classics.
Some slot symbols are just iconic. So much so that we’ve decided to list the five most quintessential icons found in the gaming world today. We’ve no doubt you’ll recognize this bunch instantly but you may not be so familiar with some of the stories behind them. Prepare yourself, it’s a peculiar tale involving goblins, chewing gum and the American Revolution…
Let’s take a trip through the surprising history of slots!
5) The Horseshoe
To start things off, number 5 on our list is the lucky horseshoe. We’re all familiar with idea of a horseshoe being lucky but we may have heard different reasons for the superstition. There are countless stories of why this particular type of equestrian footwear is seen as lucky, differing by culture. Some say they were originally used to ward off pesky goblins as the sprites were afraid of iron. Others maintain the shape of the horseshoe ‘collects’ luck and stores it for safekeeping. Whatever the reason, horseshoes have been used in slots for generations, originally appearing on the very first slot machines, produced at the end of the 19th century. Maybe that’s why we don’t see many goblins at the reels…
4) The Bell
Ding dong, next up is the bell symbol. Of all the icons on our list, this one may be the most steeped in slots history. It has its roots in the very first modern slot machine ever designed, Charles Fey’s famous Liberty Bell, making its first appearance in 1895. Matching three bells on this game resulted in the highest payout available (a modest 50 cents) and gave the ground-breaking machine its name. Based on the original cracked Liberty Bell of Philadelphia, the bell is seen as a symbol of American independence and freedom. To us, the bell means one thing, a nice win on the slots!
3) The BAR Symbol
This fan favourite hides another curious chapter of slot machines’ past, the chewing gum payout. In the early years of slots, the United States government adopted a strict anti-gambling policy to crack down on the casino world. To get around this, ingenious game designers changed the prize you play for. Matching symbols would now pay out a stick of gum instead of cash. The BAR symbol was an early iteration of chewing gum brand Bell Fruit Gum‘s logo, seen in the first batch of game machines. Which brings us nicely onto our next symbol…
2) The Cherry
Number 2 is the slots staple, the juicy cherry. As mentioned previously, there was a period when slot machines payed out chewing gum instead of money. This saw the introduction of a new set of symbols based on the flavours of gum up for grabs, melon and cherry. Simply match three fruit symbols to win that flavour of gum. This lead to the nickname ‘fruit machines’, still used today.
The cherry is the most recognizable of these symbols and most synonymous with slots in general. Despite the days of chewing gum games being long gone, cherries and fruits in general are still a mainstay in the modern world of slots. There’s just something satisfying about the sight of fruit on the reels which we don’t think will be going anytime soon.
Surprised? Didn’t think so. Lucky number 7 is without a doubt the classic slots symbol. You may wonder why the number 7 appears so prominently in the slots world. The answer is, what other number could? The human race shares an odd preoccupation with 7 and it crops up in a surprising number of situations. There are 7 days in a week, 7 seas, 7 colours in a rainbow, 7 notes on a musical scale, 7 continents and 7 deadly sins. Even James Bond goes by the moniker 007.
Gamblers in particular have a lot of love for number 7. It’s seen as lucky in number of cultures across the globe and It’s widely believed that gambling houses use 7 for this reason. Perhaps most importantly, 7 is the most common outcome on a roll of two dice and three 7s make twenty-one in Blackjack, establishing the number as a familiar friend in the casino. In fact, casinos across the globe were full to the brim one July Saturday a few years ago as gamblers raced for their share of the luck on 07/07/07. It’s stories like this that demonstrate the power of 777 and help to show why it tops our list.