The return of Big Bertha
By Frank Scoblete
In a former column I discussed the evolution of the slot machine over an approximately 130-year period beginning in 1890-91 with the Sittman and Pitt mechanical device, which ruled the bar scene for a few years only to be replaced by Charles Fey’s true slot machine, the Liberty Bell, in about 1893.
Other unscrupulous manufacturers imitated Fey’s machine and some even had the gall to call their machines the Liberty Bell. These machines became the gambling gold mine for bar and saloon owners (what’s the difference between a bar and a saloon?).Then came fruit machines (“he got a lemon!”) called Gumball machines and these became the rage for a while.
Then we went through a sweep of the remaining evolutionary movements of the slots from the electromechanical Bally machines, be- ginning with the Money Honey, to the computerized video slots, video poker, digital slots and coinless slots. Gigantic jackpots were and now are available to slot players and the casinos are quite content with the money channeled to them from their slot aisles.
All that takes us up to a few days ago.
Now, dear readers, a new moment is about to explode on the slot scene; a moment of which even the casinos might not be aware. It’s a monster moment that had its germination long ago with a machine called Big Bertha.
Slot players know all about the Big Bertha type of machines and almost all of these players avoid them as these machines are a true sucker’s bet. They are for the casino tourists, so to speak.
Big Berthas can be as tall as or taller than the great former NBA player Yao Ming who stood 7’6”.They are as wide as a truck. They are the first monster machines of the casino landscape. And they have been around for a long, long time, much the way dinosaur fossils had hardened in the ground over the centuries waiting to be discovered and explode upon the world in the 1800s.
But the day of the new monster slots has now arrived.
I just returned from Atlantic City’s magnificent Ocean Casino Resort where I saw the digging up of the spectacular fossils of Big Berthas. Now these fossils, unlike the ones of the long dead dinosaurs, are alive, kicking and thriving. The new machines are like the dinosaurs of the books and movie Jurassic Park – alive! They are big, beautiful, sleek and thriving.
They are in groups of four – in circular carousels; or six, three on one side, three on the other side. There is plenty of room between carousels and between the half-dozen on all sides. Players are not suffocated by aisles of seemingly countless machines all squished with one another.
What makes our new monsters stunning is their height; somewhat taller than Yao Ming’s size. They require all players to look up even; no matter how tall such players might be. Their colors and contours, a slight curving of the facade as they reach for the sky, makes them look as if they were created by the best special effects department of Marvel movies. These machines are great for the players too, as the freedom from the crowds is a much-preferred situation than being crammed in. Their imposing heights make players feel special merely by playing these behemoths.
Are these machines good for the casinos’ bottom lines? I think so. They actually don’t spread out on the floor but rather up they stretch into the air, a place never utilized within the houses of Lady Luck. That rarified atmosphere is their domain. And other than perhaps a slight increase in the charge for creating such air-sniffing creatures, the cost difference between regular miniature slots and one of these giants is probably relatively minor.
And I would think worth every extra penny needed to create a horde of them for every casino.
These slot machines – call them what you will, be they monsters, behemoths, skyscrapers, leviathans, Nephilim, Goliaths, Bertha’s beautiful babies – are merely the call to the future for anyone who enjoys slot play.
Seriously, why play any other machine? Why crowd yourself in with the legions of slot players when you can have the airy comforts of being with the giants? Heck, you are what you hang out with. So why not be a giant? It is easy to join their company; just sit down and play one of these machines.
Let me use an automobile analogy as my last example of this new slot revolution that you should join. Think of these giant machines as the SUVs of slots – as in bigger is far better. There’s a reason why our roads are crammed with such giant cars. They make people feel powerful. However, unlike the SUVs, the monster slots cause no harm to the roads or egos of other drivers. They are there for your pleasure and your pleasure only.
So, in closing, why not jump on these new slot machines. If more players play them then more of these machines will appear in the casinos. And that will be excellent to the slot-playing public.
Give them a try and enjoy.
All the best in and out of the casinos!
Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores.