Licensed games are taking the world of land-based and online casinos by storm, with famous characters, brands and logos popping up on slot machines in the biggest casinos in the world. Licensed slot machines refer to those that use a trademarked product, such as a theme from a movie or television show or, in this case, a superhero. The owners of that license take a share of the profits or are paid a lump sum for the use of their brand, whilst the casinos themselves can take advantage of the extra foot-traffic (or online traffic) gained by using something that everyone recognizes.
It seems that all of the bigger television shows and and movies have their own slot machines these days. It used to be the case that the blockbuster shows would be turned into video games as soon as they became a brand or a name big enough for the designers and the publishers to exploit, but these days they make it onto the casino floor long before they make it onto our Xboxs and Playstations. One of the most popular themes with licensed gaming is superheroes, which comes as no surprise due to the way these costume-clad vigilantes are taking over our screens.
So, whether your grew up reading comic books and idolizing the likes of Batman, Superman and Spiderman, or you are one of the new waves of fans who has been drawn in by recent Hollywood blockbusters such as the Dark Knight franchise and the Man of Steel film, to name just a couple, these machines will appeal to you. And that is why they are flooding the casinos, both online and offline.
The World of Comics
Comic books are a strange and very unique medium. The modern age has transformed the world of publishing, with the biggest novelists spread out over several different publishing houses, and even a large number of them self-publishing or publishing with independent publishers. Comic books, however, are still dominated by two names: DC and Marvel. There are still independent producers out there but it is these two that fill the shelves, it is these two that dominate our screens and make it onto our gaming consoles. These are where the big name superheroes reside, where the worlds that we know so well are played out.
The design associated with the DC brand is Cryptologic, which is a license that covers all of the main players in the DC universe, including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. These three games are identical in terms of payment and play, with only the general theme (including the images, the symbols and the bonus game) changing to suit the different superheroes. Superman is undoubtedly the biggest and most well known superhero brand, and is also one of the oldest, so it is perhaps no surprise that the Superman game has the biggest jackpot, with 10.00 credits available for players who can line up the jackpot symbols. The Wonder Woman game has maximum jackpot of 5.000, but this is only paid in a special round known as the Ares Showdown. The Batman bonus is the smallest of the lot, at just a fifth of the size of the Superman bonus, and this is paid during the bonus round game.
Playtech are the brand that are often linked with the Marvel games, as it is they who own most of the rights to use the Marvel brand. Playtech’s unique monopoly on the Marvel name means they were able to connect all of their Marvel games (each of which is linked to a particular character) to a single progressive jackpot, which attracts scores of jackpot chasers who are lured by big money, along with the regular slot machine users who are drawn in by the appeal of playing with Marvel characters. The four most popular Playtech Marvel games are all linked to his progressive jackpot, they are Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and X-Men — their popularity no doubt due to the fact that all of these titles have seen several blockbuster films released over the last decade. These slot games use five reels and twenty or twenty-five pay lines, and there are several jackpots available on each game, ranging from several hundred to several thousands dollars, all of which can be won with a single spin.
The progressive jackpots that are available in all of these games are known as Power, Extra Power, Super Power and Ultimate Power, with the jackpot amount increasing for each level. Despite these identical jackpot structures, all of the games are uniquely tailored to the superhero or superheroes in question. The Hulk features the menacing, muscly, green hero that we all know and love as he fights and stomps his way across the screen; X-Men includes all of the favorite characters from the X-Men universe, including Wolverine and Professor Xavier; whilst Iron Man features Tony Stark looking his best in his super-powered suit.
Despite the dominance that Marvel and DC have on the comic world, there are a few big names that slip through the cracks and make it into the world of superhero superstardom. Perhaps the most famous one of these, certainly in recent times, is Hellboy, a comic book based on a grumpy and somewhat cynical man-demon and his efforts to save the world. Hellboy was created by independent publisher Dark Horse Comics and has also been turned into a number of films and computer games.
The Hellboy slot license is controlled by Microgaming, and is packed full of references to Hellboy and his universe. In the bonus round the player acts as a member of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, collecting artifacts from the characters in the Hellboy universe.
The Lone Ranger has also been released as a slot machine game. The Lone Ranger began life as a television show, and has since been remade, remastered and even turned into a film starring Johnny Depp. There are a number of gaming companies that have released slot machines under this brand, and no one company seems to have an exclusive license on it. There are plenty of different Lone Ranger games to be found online and in land-based casinos, with varying themes taken from the TV series, the radio show and even the film.
The Super Team game by WMS is one of the most unique superhero slot machine games. It is not tied to any superhero or any fictional world but rather the players are invited to create their own superhero, designing his or her colors, costume and even choosing superhero abilities. This game is great fun to play and adds a new dimension to superhero slot machines, and there are more like it sprouting up all of the time as this genre increases in popularity.
Regardless of which hero is your favorite, and which world you want to play in, there are literally hundreds of slot machine games to choose from that make use of the superhero theme. From the biggest Hollywood movies and the most well known icons, to the up and comers and even those that satirize the genre. There are games that use the voices and sound effects from the actual movies — sometimes voiced by the stars themselves —those that merely reference such movies and those that avoid using any likenesses whatsoever in an effort to avoid any licensing issues.