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Dreaming Big: How Slot Machine Themes Are Chosen

Have you ever wondered how game developers come up with the themes for their slot machines? There’s no shortage of imagination involved in creating the hundreds of titles you’ll find in any Ontario casino. But who thinks them up? Where does the inspo for them come from? And what’s the difference between a slot machine “theme” and “type”? All great questions. Now for the answers.

Slot Machine Themes vs. Slot Machine Types

Let’s look at what a slot machine theme is first. Think of it as a story – the conceptual part of every game. The graphics, icons, music, lights, and sounds are all creative things that fall under “theme.”

Every theme is built around a foundation – a “type” of game. All visuals and the overall theme support the type of game being made. The type also lays out the rules for how the game is played. Here are a few different types for reference:

  • Reel: a classic slot machine type with 3 or 5 reels, and the most iconic.
  • Video: creates better interaction and a more immersive experience for the players.
  • Multiple paylines: gives players the chance to win on several lines with one spin.
  • Progressive: offers the chance to win growing jackpots.
  • Bonus rounds: games within a game, that may offer players extra time to play without having to pay more credits.

Imagining Themes for Slot Machines

One of the first things you’ll notice with all slot themes is how many of them feel familiar. You’ll see movie titles. You’ll see riffs on iconic board games. You’ll even see games based on history, Greek mythology, and diverse cultures. Themes that leverage cinema, pop culture, history, culture – things that we all know – are loved by developers because they can use the sounds and visuals to start building a game. Basically, they’re not starting from scratch.

A familiar story is also a good thing when it comes to perception. Players feel like they know the game already, even if they’re playing for the first time. They can relive or continue their favourite stories. In short, they feel connected.

Of course, there are a lot of slot machine themes that are developed from scratch, without a pop-culture or historical starting point. As a purely creative exercise, game developers also brainstorm themes that give them the chance to design original games with fun graphics and storylines with a hook. Honestly, sounds like a dream job!

And don’t forget how important sound is when developing any theme. Sonic cues like the spinning of a wheel help dramatize gameplay, making it exciting. Sound can also be used to help support the theme, making the game more immersive. And of course, sounds help build anticipation and provide a reward when someone wins, amplifying the overall gameplay experience.

Keeping Slots Fun

With all the different themes out there and the excitement they bring to the games, it’s important to remember a couple of things. First, all the flashy lights, loud noises, and fancy graphics can make it look like you’ve won, but they’re for your entertainment only. And second, as fun and enticing as the games are, all outcomes are random. Every hit of the “spin” button triggers the Random Number Generator that determines if the machine pays out or not. This means no machine is “due” for a payout. In fact, a machine that just paid out a big jackpot can do it again on the next spin. To learn more about slot machines and how they work, check out our Slot Machine Strategy page.

We’ve thrown a lot at you here, and you may find yourself “spinning.” If that’s the case, just know you can always learn more by checking out our slots page, where you’ll find free demo versions of our games that let you get comfortable and teach you how they work before you play for real.