New Online Casino Slots Free Spins TriggeringBy: Adam Richards, Tuesday February 9th 2010
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When free spins bonus rounds were first introduced in online slot games they became an instant hit. They enabled players to accumulate large payouts without having to make any investments. The free spins rounds were usually triggered when three or more of a designated symbol appeared on the reels. This has been the standard procedure in almost all of the online slot games that offer free spins.
The online slots arena is an extremely competitive space in the Internet gaming industry. Some innovation is always being introduced into the online slot games. Recently there have been a number of slots in which the free spins bonus round has been triggered in a different manner. The generic procedure is the same though each individual game has a slightly different treatment. Basically a counter is set up that keeps track of a defined event on the reels. Every time that event takes place the value of the counter increases by one. When the value of the counter reaches the specified value the free spins bonus round is set in motion.
Tribal Treasure from Microgaming has a very simple form of this procedure. The event that activates the counter is related to the gold idol symbol, which is the tribal treasure. This symbol appears only on Reel 3, but every time it does so it is "collected". A counter above the reels indicates the number of gold idol symbols collected by the player. When the player has collected 10 gold idols the free spins bonus round is triggered. The number of free spins awarded is fixed at 10 and the payouts are multiplied 5 times.
Another online slot game from Microgaming has a slightly more complicated mechanism. This is the Christmas themed slot game Scrooge. This game has two counters. One counter determines the number of free spins awarded and the other counter determines when the free space will be awarded. Hence the number of free spins awarded in the bonus game is not a constant. The event that moves the counters is any winning combination. Whenever such a combination occurs on the reels the player clicks any one of the symbols involved. This randomly moves one of the two counters. When the counter that triggers the free spins reaches the value of 25 (for December 25 or Christmas Day) the free spins bonus round is awarded. The number of free spins that are awarded is decided by the value shown in the other counter.
Playtech has made this mechanism even more exciting in its recently released online slot games like Cute and Fluffy and Fairy Magic. These games have five counters, one for each reel. Every time the designated bonus symbol appears on the reel the counter for that reel increases by one. When any of the counters reaches a value of four the bonus round is triggered. What this implies is that the bonus round can be triggered as early as the bonus symbol appearing four times, provided it appears on the same reel each time. Or the player may have to wait till the bonus symbol appears 16 times, when one of the reels is guaranteed to have the counter reaching a value of four. The bonus round offers bonus credits along with a fixed number of free spins at a fixed multiplier.
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