Classic Slots and Fruit Machines

fruit-machines-casinoseurope1Classic slots and fruit machines represent titles from an older generation of slot machine gaming. Their design is basic, their features are stripped back, and they are far more primitive than modern video slots.

Still, these classic slots and fruit machines are continually offered across the internet and in many land-based casinos. Most importantly, they are continually played by many gamers. What is the appeal of them? With far less features, surely there is less entertainment available? In this article, we will delve into the world of classic slots and fruit machines, to see why that simply just isn’t true!

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Defining a classic slot

It is important that the definition of a classic slot isn’t skewed here. Although it may sound like it, a classic slot is not one that has simply become legendary or popular. It is actually a term used to describe a slot which contains a specific structure and gameplay setup. Generally, there is a fairly specific formula that must be adhered to, for a slot to qualify as a classic slot.

Occasionally though, a few developers have tried to break the mould, and add a few features to them, with mixed success. Sometimes a slot that wouldn’t ordinarily qualify is seen as a classic slot because it still has X, Y and Z.

On other occasions, it is just far too complex and different to make the classic slot classification. In the case of the latter, the game will probably be classified as a video slot, instead. We’ll delve into the requirements a game has to have to be a classic slot later on in this article, but let us just say for now, that a classic slot is as close to the first ever slot machines as you’re likely to find.

How close are they to the original slot?

Actually, they are pretty close. The very first slot machine is commonly thought of as the Liberty Bell. This slot was invented by Charles Fey in 1985 (though, another date is sometimes argued).This slot machine had three spinning reels, and painted onto each reel were diamonds, spades and heart symbols. Yes, this slot used playing card suits as symbols. If the player landed three identical symbols in a row, they won.

Modern day classic slot machines and fruit machines aren’t actually that dissimilar from this. They too contain three spinning reels, and only have a handful of basic symbols on those reels.

Nowadays those symbols tend not to be playing card suits, but a combination of fruit, and other simplistic, easy to identify objects. The basic premise of today’s classic slots is the same as the Liberty Bell. If you match three identical symbols, you win.

Of course, technology has improved since the late nineteenth century, so our classic slots today can be played online as a computer program. Many land-based gaming venues across the world though, still have standalone machines, much like the original Liberty Bell.

Is a fruit machine a different game, or a classic slot?

But does a fruit machine qualify as a classic slot, or is it an entirely different type of slot altogether? This is a very good question, and there are those that will argue both sides equally well. Generally speaking though, a fruit machine is a classic slot. Moreover, it is a particular style of classic slot. What then, makes it a fruit machine, a fruit machine and not any other standard classic slot?

The answer comes from the symbols that are presented on the reels. A true fruit machine will not contain spades, diamonds or hearts like the Liberty Bell. It will also not contain Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces like a video slot. Instead, all (or pretty much all) of the icons will be fruit.

Matching three identical fruit symbols will award you a win. It is also possible that fruit machines have one or two additional features built into their design, such as nudges (which are common in the United Kingdom), or occasionally, a side-game.

The latter is dangerous territory, as it could disqualify the fruit machines from the classic slot genre, and make it a video slot. Generally though, this rule is relaxed for fruit machines.

Wagering and payline structures

Now we are into the bread and butter of the classic slot and fruit machine setup, the nuts and bolts of what classifies them for what they are. Classic slots and fruit machines all must contain no more (or less) than 3 reels. Any slot that contains more than 3 reels is not a classic slot by definition. There are other things that classic slots and fruit machines generally have in common too, which video slots may or may not have.

All classic slot and fruit machines are relatively cheap to play. Generally, players cannot go around adjusting the value of their coins to the extent that they can with video slots. Players can choose between a few denominations, and then may (or may not) wager up to 3 (on the rare occasion 5) coins per spin. A spin on a classic slot or fruit machine should seldom ever cost any more than a tenner a pop.

Classic slot machines and fruit machines also should have a minimal amount of paylines present. The norm used to be just a single payline, spread over the centre of the reels. Lately, some classic slots and fruit machines have found themselves with 3 or even 5 paylines spread over the reels. This is rare though, and thought to be the maximum amount that a classic slot can have.

In the case of those slots that do have more than one payline, it may also be worth checking out the value of each payline. Classic slots with multiple paylines will often award larger winnings, if you land symbols on one particular payline over another. It is also very common on classic slots that feature multiple paylines, for only one payline to be the jackpot payline.

The symbols of fruit machines and classic slots

There are seldom ever any thematic icons or symbols found in classic slots and fruit machines. By this, we mean that the icons have nothing to do with whatever theme the slot has chosen to decorate itself in. This is reserved for the land of video slots, for the most part.

Fruit machine symbols are incredibly easy to pick out. You will generally have a selection of limes, lemons, oranges, pineapples, grapes, plums, watermelons, apples and bananas (which is rare, but on occasion can be found), and of course, the most popular symbol, the cherries. The slot of course, will not contain all of these icons, just some of them. It is also not uncommon to have a fruit basket icon in fruit machine slots. There is no special preference for what symbol is worth more, this varies from fruit machine to fruit machine.

Classic slots often choose to go for an entirely different set of symbols. The icons that they use have become an intricate part of slot machine history. Most classic slot machines choose from bars, double bars, treble bars, sevens (in a variety of colours), bells, dollar (or pound) signs, cherries and more. The trick with the icons used in classic slots, is that they are all very easy to identify.

What we will say about the number of symbols or icons used in classic slots and fruit machines, that there is a direct relationship between the amount of symbols that there are in the slot, and the amount of paylines present. For instance, the more symbols you have and the fewer paylines you have, the harder it is to win. The more paylines you have and the fewer symbols you have, the more likely you are to win.

Special features

It is most unlikely that your chosen classic slot or fruit machine will have special features. How unlikely? Very! The reason is because special features didn’t exist when the first slots came out; they are rather an invention reserved for video slots.

You might even argue that they gave way to video slots and that video slots were created because of them. That doesn’t mean to say that they are completely without precedent in classic slots and fruit machines, though; especially the newer slot games.

Wilds have been known to crop up from time to time. You certainly won’t find any expanding or stacked wilds, but a single wild icon could be found. This is what often triggers the debate about whether the slot qualifies as a classic slot or not.

A wild is a typical substitute symbol, which counts for any symbol that you may need to win a payline. Some fruit machines also have bonus games, such as a mini board game, taking you from step to step, to win additional money- This though, is far more common in UK land-based pub fruit machines, and are not found online as frequently.

Finally, there are nudges. Nudges allow players to hold a reel (that has symbols that they wish to keep) and nudge another reel down a spot or two. This will help a player to attempt to create a line of the same icons, to win. Nudges are only really common on fruit machines, and generally only on single-line fruit machines at that.

Finally, before you ask: yes, fruit machines and classic slots can both have progressive jackpots!

Where Should You Play Classic Slots?