The Evolution of Slot Games

The Evolution of Slot Games: From Classic Fruit Machines to Modern Video Slots

When you’re playing online slots, we’d venture to say that you’re probably not thinking about how that particular game might have been played a century or two ago. Today –you’ve got your mind on our jackpots and our jackpots on your mind.

But once you’ve got your head in the history game, it’s quite the ride through time. It’s fun to go back in time and compare the slot-like games of yesterday to the games of now, and see the progression.

Slot games weren’t always as convenient as landing on a cushioned, triple-stitched couch with a mini supercomputer in your hand. There was once a time when… ahh, let’s not spoil the fun.

Let’s travel into the history of slot machines when our cherished games were nothing more than a hunk of metal, and then return to the present where we can relax with easy deposits, spins, and payouts at Cafe Casino.

When Were Slot Machines Invented?

Vintage slot machine against an orange background.

Our journey through the history of slots begins in the 1890s. You know the time with high-neckline dresses with extra poofy bustles and frock coats with top hats? That’s the one. And that’s the era when slot machines were invented – first developed by Sittman and Pitt.

The earliest ancestors of slot machines were more akin to poker machines than what we typically think of as slots. They featured five rotating drums adorned with 50 poker card symbols. Players had to insert a nickel, pull a lever to manually rotate the drums (our first one-armed bandit!), and hope for a winning poker hand to claim a prize.

Without a built-in payment mechanism, an attendant watched each spin and rewarded the winners with prizes like cigars and drinks.

It was a far cry from the bells, whistles, and cash payouts of today’s online slots, but by jove was it a marvelous start.

Liberty Bell Slot Machine

Fast forward (but not that far) to 1895 and we meet a mechanic named Charles Fey from San Francisco. Fey was a trendsetter of the times, but not only for his high-end Barouche Carriage.

Fey sought a way to automate the popular poker-playing experience, but he wanted to add his own flare, too. He introduced the Liberty Bell slot machine. It’s attributed to being the world’s first-ever of its kind and the original prototype of today’s modern slot games.

The Liberty Bell slot machine featured three spinning reels with symbols like diamonds, hearts, horseshoes, spades, and a cracked Liberty Bell. With fewer symbols (remember, the poker machine predecessor had 50), it was easy for players to calculate payouts and follow along with the game.

It also paid out winnings automatically, which certainly helps when it comes to pleasing a crowd.

Fey’s handy, innovative features offered a more user-friendly experience which would set off a series of new standards in the years to come.

Fruit Machines

Vintage slot machine featuring fruit symbols, on an orange background.

As we step into the 20th century, slot machines continued to evolve with the “Fruit Machine” in the early 1900s.

Classic symbols including the patriotic Liberty Bell were slowly replaced with more widely appealing juicy fruit images like cherries and melons, just like you see in today’s popular classic slots.

At the time, many establishments struggled to keep up with strict gambling laws. In order to allow their patrons to partake in the fruit machine fun, they replaced the cash payouts with fruity chewing gum. In fact, the famous “BAR” symbol that is widely used to this day comes from an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company! 

While that wouldn’t be ideal by today’s standards, at least you were confident that your fellow players had good breath. That’s a big win on its own when dinner is involved!

Money Honey Slot Machine

Skipping ahead to the 1960s, the “Money Honey” slot machine ushered in another era of transformation, which is practically impossible to talk about without imagining an Audrey Hepburn-type leaning on a chaise lounge with a Virginia Slim dangling out of her mouth.

Introduced in 1963 by American gaming machine manufacturer Bally Manufacturing, the Money Honey machine transitioned mechanical slot machines into an electromechanical system.

A typical Money Honey slot machine had three spinning reels with the usual lineup of symbols. It used its electronic system to calculate payouts and dispense coins automatically, making the Money Honey far more convenient than its predecessors. The max win from the Money Honey was 500 coins – not bad!

While they used levers at first, eventually they were replaced with simple buttons.  

Do you know the iconic winning sound of clinking coins into metal trays? That comes from the Money Honey slot machine and its bottomless coin hopper.

If the mere thought of clinking coins gets you all riled up, then get a load of this. At Cafe Casino, you can pocket tons of coins in the form of a referral bonus when you refer a friend to play. You get a bonus per friend, and there’s no limit to the number you can invite.

Video Slot Machines

Video slot machine against an orange background.

Now, let’s focus our attention on the 1970s and ‘80s when technology took a giant leap forward.

The first video slot machine was in 1976 in California, launched by Las Vegas-based iGaming company Fortune Coin Co.

During this era, the advent of microprocessors revolutionized the slot gaming experience. Now instead of physical spinning reels, slot games are lit up with graphical representations of spinning reels displayed on a video screen.

Myriad new possibilities arose with colorful animations and interactive features, additional paylines, additional reels, progressive jackpots, and the famous Random Number Generator (RNG) ensuring that each spin was as fair as the last.

Modern Slots and Online Slots

Finally, let’s stop the train at the station of the present day. Toot toot.

The internet changed the world in practically every aspect, particularly with slot games. Ever since the first online casino around 1994, slot games directed their forward march online, all the way to laptop computers, iPads, and mobile phones. 

Online slots nowadays are marked by their convenience and a thrilling mix of art, science, and entertainment. Jackpots are available in all types, and some of them are even configured with a “must-drop” time.

Hot Drop Jackpots are slots with special jackpots that must drop before their timer hits zero. That includes a jackpot every single hour. The folks of the 1800s would be floored. 

Players in the 2020s can take their pick from regular or progressive slots, simple or complex, classic or modern. Online slots have made their way around the entire world, and some cultures have given them affectionate nicknames like “pokies”, such as Australia.

The sky’s the limit with the modern slots features of today, and there’s hundreds of Cafe Casino online slots just waiting for you to explore.

The history of slot machines provides a fun context to look back on with interest, but certainly not with envy. Nowadays, we’re pretty darn lucky to have the convenience of online slots at a place like Cafe Casino.

We’re also lucky to have the speed and convenience of depositing at such a crypto casino to get started, especially since you can still view your gaming balance in USD. It’s the most popular method of depositing and withdrawing around here, too, so it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t possible!