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BallyMJII-WBSSp_1Bally is coming out with some amazing new cabinet styles this year, but some of its best games are in the style of last year’s mega-hit “Michael Jackson King of Pop”—a normal 22-inch game screen under the long, vertical 32-inch screen, hooked up to the booming Pro Sound Chair.

At the very top of the new Bally games this year is the sequel to the Michael Jackson slot, Michael Jackson: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.

This is one of those sequels that’s better than the original, as the new Michael Jackson slot concentrates its theme around famous Jackson videos and his breakout album Thriller.

The game’s title was the opening song on that album, which is the largest-selling album of all time. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,’” the slot machine, captures the feeling of the song—one of seven singles from that epic LP—and makes it the backdrop for reel spinning.

“Startin’ Somethin’” weave’s Jackson’s legendary music videos seamlessly into the bonus rounds. For instance, the “Billie Jean Free Games” features Bally’s “Locking Wild Multipliers.” Wild symbols landing during free spins lock in place for the remainder of the spins, but they also carry multipliers, the level of which are determined by MJ himself—his famous dance in the “Billie Jean” video, in which he lights squares on the sidewalk with his dance steps, merged into the game screen so he activates multipliers as he does the steps.

Michael Jackson, however, is not the only musical icon coming to the slot floor this year thanks to Bally. How about ZZ Top? The legendary Texas blues/rock trio gets the Bally treatment in the same format as MJ, but this time with a live performance as the basis of the songs.

ZZ Top Live from Texas captures the essence of the band using high-resolution video footage and audio of one of the band’s recent concerts in its home state of Texas.

The energy of the live performance comes through with a lot of power—as with the Jackson slot, thanks to the combination of video and the booming sound chair. Four of the most well-know hits from the concert—“Gimme All Your Lovin,’” “La Grange,” “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man”—are woven into the bonus rounds.

A third licensed game on the same format is Titanic, based on the 1997 blockbuster film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The theme of the slot centers not on the Titanic disaster, but on the love story in the movie—to the backdrop of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from Titanic).”

As with the other new games using the immersive format, scenes and visuals from the movie are woven into the game, including a main bonus event that takes the player on a 3D journey through various parts of the ship, including the bridge and the elegant first-class ballroom areas.
There are also several games using the improved version of this format, including a huge 42-inch LCD monitor. (This cabinet housed double wheels in last year’s “Hot Shot” game.) One of the first is the sequel to last year’s game based on the musical film Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Grease Pink Ladies is centered around not only on the two stars of the film, but on the four other top female cast members of the popular 1978 film—Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo, Didi Conn as Frenchy, Jaimie Donnelly as Jan and Dina Manoff as Marty Maraschino. Scenes involving them all are built into several bonus events to make the game completely different than the original game.

Also on the big new format is The Magic of David Copperfield, which incorporates high-definition footage of the best illusions of the famous magician and Vegas icon into several bonus events.

But from Bally, also watch out for games on what’s called Alpha Pro Wave cabinet, which is like nothing you’ve seen on the floor. It features a 40-inch monitor in a concave curve shape. It’s like someone stretched the portrait monitor, then took the top and bent it toward himself, so it could be comfortably played like a slant-top.

Bally is releasing a parade of games in this format, because all the games in its normal 32-inch format (The “V32,” with the portrait-style vertical monitor) can be offered in this format. Among the new games on the Pro Wave are the colorful Red Phoenix, with a free game that allows the player to choose the volatility by picking from free game/multiplier combinations; and Fu Dao Le, which incorporates an Asian theme using beautiful artwork and stacked symbols that appear as game logos at first, but are then revealed as a line or wild symbol.

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