ALL ABOUT THE WHEEL
Aruze’s new “Super Vault” reel-spinning progressive slot takes a popular style and makes it better
By Frank Legato
You may do a double-take at first, thinking Aruze Gaming’s elegant new wheel-spinning slot machine is a certain other famous wheel game.
Called Super Vault, it is a three-reel game, like that other one. The roulette-style wheel perched on the top box is even the same colors as that famous game that first popularized the wheel-spinning slot game in the late 1990s.
It has just about everything but the audience chant. Oh, and one other very important difference: Instead of a huge, life-changing progressive that practically never hits, this one has four progressive jackpots that hit very frequently.
In fact, the four jackpots are slices on the Aruze game’s bonus wheel, which is triggered a lot: Every 64 spins on average, the player gets a crack at the jackpots. Also, while the slot-maker has not revealed specifics on the frequency of the top Grand progressive, the fact it resets between $999 and $9,999—depending on your wager—means it’s a lot more frequent than the big life-changing on the famous wheel game, which typically hits every 50 million spins, or more.
In short, it’s much easier to hit the progressives in this game than the famous game that inspired it.
Super Vault is the third game in Aruze’s 999.9 Gold Wheel Series, which debuted in August with a three-reel video slot. Super Vault is the first in the series to feature a classic three-reel, single-line slot with mechanical spinning reels—it feels like a classic reel slot. The biggest difference aside from the frequent progressives is its denomination—it is a penny slot, which, although rare for this style of game, gives it a hit frequency much closer to what you’d find in multi-line video slots.
And, more than anything, this game takes advantage of one basic truth: Players love to spin that wheel.
“That wheel at the top really entices players,” says Michael Maley, marketing specialist at Aruze. “It’s very similar to one of the top games in the industry, so it entices the players from all around the floor to come and check it out. Just about everywhere we’ve placed it in Las Vegas, we’ve had people waiting in line just to take a look at it and get a shot to play.”
Super Vault is all about the wheel. That frequent spin trigger— three very familiar “SPIN” wheel icons on the payline—is what keeps this game hopping, for bonus credits and for those four progressives, the presence of which builds the anticipation as the wheel starts to slow in its spinning.
And that anticipation and excitement spreads beyond the sole player to those in the immediate area, and beyond.
Because people not only love to spin the wheel. They love to watch others spin the wheel, cheering them on as it ticks to its destination— and causing a lot of commotion around the game. (The good kind of commotion.)
Good As Gold
The 999.9 Gold Wheel series has its roots in one of Aruze’s most popular games, which is simply called “Gold.” That is one of several games to use precious medals or stones as a theme in Aruze’s typically elaborate top boxes. To create the Gold Wheel, the company’s engineers took the main elements of those top boxes—a beautifully sculptured top-box display, in this case depicting a stash of gold—and crafted it around the standard bonus wheel in the company’s oversized Cube-X Ultimate cabinet.
As advertised, the standard three-reel slot game centers on that bonus wheel, and on the progressives. You don’t have to bet the maximum to qualify for a progressive, but each progressive level gets larger the more you wager. The minimum bet is 50 credits (50 cents). The player selects a “bet multiplier” from 1 to 10. On the lowest wager, the jackpots reset at $999 (Grand), $100 (Major), $30 (Minor) and $10 (Mini).
As you press a button to increase your bet multiplier, the progressive meters change accordingly—two credits change the Grand progressive to a $1,999 start. At max bet (250, 500, 750 or 1,000 credits, depending on the version of the game), the top Grand jackpot starts at $9,999.
The jackpots can be linked with two other Cube-X Ultimate progressive slots that are out in the field, Bags of Cash and Diamond Desire. For players, linking the jackpots of all three of the games means those progressive prizes will increment more quickly—larger jackpots, in other words.
There also are two different wheel-spinning bonus events. The standard bonus, triggered by three SPIN symbols, triggers a spin of the Gold Wheel for either one of 13 credit awards—ranging from 100 credits to 3,000 credits—or one of the four jackpots. One great feature is that even if you do land one of the progressives, you still get a credit prize—the wheel will spin again until it lands on a credit amount.
If the three SPIN symbols on the payline include one on the third reel marked “SUPER SPIN,” it triggers what’s called “Gold Wheel Super.” In this case, after the Gold Wheel is spun, the player is awarded a multiplier of 5X, 8X or 10X applied to the credit prize (not the progressive).
In all, it’s a simple game revolving around the spin of a wheel, but that very fact is what is leading to these games being mobbed by players wherever they are placed.
Maley says the imposing Cube-X Ultimate cabinet has been part of that appeal. “We really hit one out of the park with the Cube-X Ultimate,” he says, “especially since the jackpots can be linked together between different games. The game features of Super Vault are similar to those in Bags of Cash and Diamond Desire, so linking them together makes it easy to switch among the three games and keep chasing the jackpots.”
The cabinet is 10 feet tall, and includes flashy features like an LCD button panel, special lighting and subwoofers for enhanced sound. “The sound really goes throughout the whole casino,” says Maley, “and grabs the attention of players no matter where they are.”
At press time, there were more than 20 Super Vault games in the field in Las Vegas—check New York-New York—and more in Mississippi. By July, the rollout will be well under way in other parts of the country.
They’re hard to miss. Never mind the sights and sounds of the wheel. Just look for the crowds.