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A Munsters Reunion

Incredible Technologies takes players back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane with “The Munsters Family Portrait”

By Frank Legato


“People are rooting as the frame goes back and forth,” says Schrementi. “They’re hoping it either ends all the way on the left or all the way on the right, because the big wins are on the left, and (the picking bonus and others) are on the right. You’re watching the reels, but you’re also hoping the frame ends up on either side.”


MunstersCharactersFor people of a certain age, the theme is burned in the memory—images and one-liners from a campy 1960s TV sitcom that gained near-cult status through the magic of syndication.

We know the address where TV’s The Munsters was set: 1313 Mockingbird Lane. We remember the best bits like we watched them yesterday, which, in many cases, we did:

Grandpa: “Hmm. What smells so good?”

Herman: “I cut myself shaving.”

We remember the characters—various monsters and ghouls trying to fit into a suburban middle-class neighborhood, including Grandpa the vampire, Herman the Frankenstein monster, his wife Lily—Grandpa’s daughter and, of course, another vampire—and Eddy, their son who somehow ended up as a werewolf. (We never asked why.) Then there was Marilyn, the beautiful niece who was embarrassingly normal, at least by Munster standards. (Lily:  “Oh, Marilyn… the circles under your eyes. How lovely you look today.”)

Also burned into our collective memory are the gags and bits from the show: Herman Munster’s childlike tantrums, in which he would cause earthquake-like tremors pounding his fist. Grandpa causing explosions in his mad-scientist lab, or trading barbs with Herman in one of the best examples of classic TV chemistry between comic actors, namely Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis (a pairing that survived two series—remember Car 54, Where Are You?). All the cast members (aside from Marilyn, of course) remaining hilariously clueless about why mailmen and milkmen were terrified to enter their suburban haunted mansion.

The original CBS series ran only two seasons, from September 1964 to May 1966, when it was one of two monster-in-the-suburbs comedies (it ran concurrently with The Addams Family). But after decades of reruns and feature films (three with the original cast), the show’s characters—particularly those portrayed by Gwynne (Herman), Lewis (Grandpa), Yvonne De Carlo (Lily) and Butch Patrick (Eddy)—have become pop icons.

A few “Munsters” slot machines appeared several years ago, from slot-maker IGT, which proved the entertainment value of the Munsters theme. This year, the theme is tackled by Incredible Technologies, the slot and video game manufacturer famous for Golden Tee Golf and many other classic arcade games. The Chicago-based manufacturer recently expanded to production of casino slot machines, and has had hits in casinos with games like “Crazy Money” and “King of Bling.”

Incredible Technologies (IT) got the license to create a new game based on The Munsters in partnership with game design studio GC2, producer of such popular IGT slots as Coyote Moon and Kitty Glitter. “They are located near here in Alton, Illinois, and we have a very good relationship with them,” says Daniel Schrementi, vice president of gaming marketing and new media for Incredible Technologies. “They brought The Munsters to us. We liked the feature, we liked the license, and we’re excited to release it.”

Upright-Left-Munsters     The two suppliers made the theme come alive through a combination of IT’s video game expertise and special game features created by GC3, most prominently a base-game and bonus feature called “Slide & Win.”

“We’re one of the few companies that does true, real-time 3D graphics on everything we do,” Schrementi says. “It’s a video game type of engine. That powerful engine mixed with our digital sound and our overall presentation fit this game.”

The technology allowed IT to fit in scores of video clips from the original TV show, including bits featuring all the main characters. “They pop up for big-win celebrations, scatter events and win symbols—real, black-and-white video clips from the show,” says Schrementi. “Any fan of the show is going to be drawn to the game just to see their favorite clips pop up. It’s all the famous stuff.”

One thing the game also has that appealed to players of the prior Munsters slots is that famous theme song—the surf-guitar series theme that millions of people could probably hum if asked to. In fact, Schrementi says the theme music was one of the elements that immediately appealed to players who were brought in to test the game during development. “People recognize the theme from playing other versions of The Munsters,” he says, adding that this game will capitalize on that popularity with “a new game mechanic and a new way to play.”

Slide & Win

That new way to play is Slide & Win, which presents the player with a nine-reel game screen—nine reels, three symbols each. However, there’s a sliding transparent frame that covers a five-reel portion of the screen, and it slides back and forth as the reels spin. It lands on a five-by-three section of the screen, and the 40 paylines apply to that section for winning combinations.

If the five-by-three frame lands on the far left of the screen, it will activate reels populated by a lot of wild symbols and the “Mad Lab Bonus” trigger. On the far right is a trigger for an interactive picking bonus called the “Free Slide Bonus.”

“People are rooting as the frame goes back and forth,” says Schrementi. “They’re hoping it either ends all the way on the left or all the way on the right, because the big wins are on the left, and (the picking bonus and others) are on the right. You’re watching the reels, but you’re also hoping the frame ends up on either side.”

The bonus events mine the best moments of The Munsters, both in the bonus content and in the TV show clips that accompany them.

The Slide & Win mechanic comes into play in both, including the free-spin event won through the Mad Lab Bonus. When the bonus is triggered, the game takes you into Grandpa’s dungeon laboratory, where you pick one of the show’s characters. The symbol showing that character then becomes wild during 10 free spins, which repeat the Slide & Win feature to result in a lot of extras such as bonus “Potion Award” multipliers, extra free spins, and the bonus symbol that retriggers the entire event.

The other bonus is a new kind of picking event called the “Mad Bat Bonus.” The player picks from a screen of bats to reveal various bonus credits, but then the Slide & Win frame comes to life, moving from right to left and adding multipliers to the awards as it goes across the reels.

According to Schrementi, theme and bonus feature come together perfectly in this game. “In the history of our company, we really like to try things that are daring and different, and this fits right in,” he says, adding that the Slide & Win feature is likely to become commonplace on a number of future IT games.

Meanwhile, he says, Slide & Win is enhanced by all that video from the show’s funniest moments, which appear with all the big game events—“big wins, scatter wins, line wins… any time the player is happy,” says Schrementi.

That concentration on the characters and bits from the show, he says, is what makes The Munsters Family Portrait special. “The theme works because of the popularity of the show, the attraction of the theme and the core demographic of when the show was popular—not only when it was new in the ’60s, but in syndication, which is when it really gained its momentum and true popularity.

“It is a theme that transcends multiple generations.”

Look for the Munsters slots everywhere by this month. At press time, it was in 10 casinos across California, Florida and the Midwest (see box), but Schrementi says it will be in all 14 of IT’s licensed jurisdictions, including Nevada, by mid-summer.

“We’re pretty excited about this game; it looks completely different than anything that’s on the floor,” he says. “We have high hopes for this one.”




The Munsters Family Portrait

Incredible Technologies


Slot Type: Five-reel, 40-line video slot; free-spin and second-screen bonus events; multi-denominational


Payback % Range:



Average Hit Frequency:

Approximately 50%


Top Jackpot:

200,000 credits



At press time: CA, FL, IA, IL, LA, MI, MI; others pending



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