AGS continues to create exciting games we all love to play
By John Grochowski
What drives a slot manufacturer to make the games in its own style? At American Gaming Systems, it’s partly that game designers produce games they love to play themselves.
“Nearly all of AGS’ game designers are avid gamblers, which makes that passion and obsession with the game even more intense,” said Laura Olson-Reyes, Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Communications. “Our teams design the majority of AGS’ games to offer high-volatility experiences, which tend to attract avid gamblers like themselves.
“AGS games deliver great entertainment value because the AGS team focus on all the elements of the game, whether it’s the math ride, the amazing graphics, powerful and relatable themes, feature sequencing where it belongs, game- synchronized lighting and win celebrations, and impactful sound effects.”
A rising star among slot manufacturers, AGS is carving out its niche in the industry with game development studios around the globe. In the United States, there’s one in Atlanta, one in Austin and a new facility just opened in Reno. They also work hand-in-hand with two studios in Sydney, Australia. “We believe that having our game-development studios in known technology hubs, like Atlanta and Austin, enables us to attract the best talent,” Olson-Reyes said. “Our two studios in Australia also benefit from being able to attract experienced game developers from one of the most mature gaming markets in the world.”
Cooperation is the Key
“Unlike some other slot-makers, our studios do not compete against each other, but rather work together in a collaborative way to ensure that we are designing games that players find entertaining, rewarding, and that bring players back time and time again,” Olson-Reyes said.
All games are designed both for Class III commercial and tribal markets, where each game has a random number generator, and for Class II tribal markets where games have bingo-style central determination that is then translated into slot reels and screens.
Most of AGS’ games rank high in volatility. That attracts players looking for the chance to win big.
“AGS’ extensive game library features high-volatility, medium-volatility, and low-volatility slot games. The majority of the games that we design are high volatility,” Olson-Reyes said. “These games tend to attract players seeking larger, but less frequent payouts. They appeal to players who can invest the time playing for the chance to win a large jackpot or bonus payout. And we also offer numerous games with select-your-own volatility features that enable players to choose their favorite style of game play.”
The latest generation of AGS games coming to casinos include the Fai Cai Shu family of games on the Orion Slant platform. Individual game titles are Eastern Dragon, Emerald Princess, Tiger Magic and Spring Lion. Also on their way for the Orion Slant are Capital Gains and Diamond Rush.
“Our Orion Slant is the second cabinet in our growing Orion family of cabinets, following the success of the award-winning Orion Portrait platform introduced in 2017 and named one of the top 20 most innovative gaming technology products of that year,” Olson-Reyes said “The Orion Slant’s presentation package, with its unique starwall design in a lower-profile cabinet, attracts players from across the casino floor, and the games available for the platform combine to deliver an exceptional player experience.”
Games on the Orion Slant are sure to catch your eye with a 21.5-inch LCD HD topper above dual LCD HD monitors for gameplay. Operators have the option of including an ergonomic LCD digital multi-touch button deck and a U-shaped starwall with 420 game- synchronized full-color LED lights for innovative gameplay celebration. When you win, it’s the starwall’s time to sparkle.
“The starwall’s striking ring of emotive lights surrounds the Orion Slant’s HD LCD touchscreen monitor and can be configured to change colors and patterns on each machine or across entire banks for an engaging experience that corresponds to each feature within the game,” Olson-Reyes said. “The latest HD audio, along with a self- contained subwoofer, intensifies gameplay with a cinematic theater surround-sound experience.”
The cabinet also features a USB charging port; large button deck for increased player comfort; and an optional 10.1-inch LCD button panel for a familiar digital multi-touch player user interface.
As for the games themselves, Fai Cai Shu is a family of high-volatility, Money Tree-themed games. Emerald Princess and Eastern Dragon feature a Nudging Wilds Bonus, also known as an Expanding Wilds Bonus, which is triggered either during Free Spins or randomly during base gameplay.
Spring Lion and Tiger Magic feature a Multiplier Wild Bonus, which turns wilds into multipliers and is triggered during Free Spins.
All four games in the Fa Cai Shu family are linked through the Jackpot Pick progressive. The background art of each game features a five-color transition cycle from a cool blue to a warm red, depicting a “hot” machine to players. Throughout gameplay on any game in the Fa Cai Shu family, coins generate and accumulate into a Money Tree, creating anticipation and excitement.
Let’s take a quick look at what each game has to offer. The first four games below are in the Fai Cai Shu family. Each is a five-reel, high volatility video slot with each reel four symbols deep, has 50 paylines and is targeted for penny play with bets of 60, 120, 180, 300 or 600 credits.
The first game in the Fai Cai Shu family has quickly become a player favorite upon introduction with the mystique and allure of Asia.
For the free games bonus, three or more bonus symbols award 10 free games – and free games can be re-triggered for extra-win potential.
Multiplier wilds add to the excitement when they are randomly triggered during base-game play, initiating all wilds on the reels to turn into full stacks of wilds. A three-level linked progressive jackpot creates big win possibilities, as players touch and reveal coins until three coins’ match and award the potentially massive progressive prize.
During the base game, whenever a Wild Dragon symbol appears on the reels, there will be a sparkle animation going to the top screen. Three or more Wild Dragon symbols award eight free games, and the Jackpot Bonus may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Wilds appear.
The Nudge Feature may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Dragon Wild symbols appear. The Nudge Feature nudges all Wilds on the screen to form full stacks of Wilds.
The Jackpot Bonus may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Wilds appears. The player is presented with a screen of 12 gold coins to touch and pick until three matching icons have been selected. The match can bring one of the three linked progressive jackpots plus Free Spins, or simply Free Spins.
Like Eastern Dragon, Emerald Princess is a 50-line, five-reel video slot made for pennies with bets ranging from 60 to 600 coins.
This high-volatility Asian-themed game delights players with a three- level progressive and coin accumulation feature for the lucky Money Tree on the top screen. During base-game play, whenever a Wild symbol appears on the reels, there’s sparkle animation going to the top screen. Three or more Bonus symbols award eight free games. And the Jackpot Bonus, which awards one of the three linked progressives, may be triggered randomly on any base game-spin in which one or more Wilds appear.
The Nudge Feature may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Wilds appear. The Nudge Feature will nudge all Wilds on the screen to form full stacks of Wilds.
Not only does the top screen feature the three progressive meters, it also is highlighted by a Money Tree, a mythical Sun tree decorated with gold coins that is a symbol of affluence, nobility, and luck in some Asian cultures and a symbol of financial good fortune in feng shui. The Money Tree accumulates coins during base-game play; whenever a Wild spark animation reaches the tree, there is a random chance that a coin will be accumulated.
During the Free Games Bonus, three or more Bonus symbols award eight free spins. While in the feature, any Wilds on the screen will nudge to form full stacks of Wilds. The Wild symbols during the free spins have an added glow around the characters for greater excitement and anticipation. The Free Games can also be re-triggered.
The game’s second bonus, the Jackpot Bonus, may be triggered randomly on any base game spin in which one or more Wilds appear. The player is presented with a pick screen of 12 gold coins, and the player will touch gold coins until they have matched three icons to win one of the three progressive jackpots plus Free Games, or simply the Free Games bonus.
In Class III jurisdictions, the three-level multi-level progressives are linked to other games, creating the opportunity for larger rewards.
Also Asian-themed, Tiger Magic has three primary features – a Multiplier feature, Free Games Bonus, and Jackpot Bonus.
The Multiplier feature may be triggered randomly on any base game spin in which one or more Wild Tiger symbols appear. The Multiplier feature will upgrade all Tiger symbols on the screen into 2x, 3x, or 5x Wild Multiplier symbols at random.
Three or more Bonus symbols awards 10 free spins. During the Free Spins, the Wild symbols on the reels will appear as Wild Multiplier symbols. The Wild Multiplier values will be randomly assigned for each free spin, and free spins can be re-triggered for extended excitement.
The Jackpot Bonus may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Wilds appear. The player is presented with a pick screen featuring 12 gold coins. The player will touch and pick until they have matched three icons to win one of the three linked progressive jackpots and the Free Games bonus, or just the Free Games bonus.
Tiger Magic features a Money Tree on the top screen. It accumulates coins during base-game play whenever a Wild spark animation reaches the tree.
The mighty Lion is the highest-paying symbol, along with other symbols associated with Chinese festivals and celebrations such as drums, red packets, lanterns, and oranges.
During base-game play, three or more Spring Lion symbols award 10 Free Games, and the Jackpot Bonus may be triggered randomly on any base-game spin in which one or more Wild Spring Lion symbols appear.
Spring Lion also has the Multiplier feature, Free Games Bonus, and Jackpot Bonus seen in other Fa Cai Shu games and the Money Tree.
A new game in AGS’ Money Charge Jackpot series, Capital Gains is a penny video slot in the 243-ways-to-win format. There are five reels, each three symbols deep, and as long as there are matching symbols on each reel across the screen starting from the left, they can form a winning combination without falling on a set payline.
Capital Gains will charge your profit-making instincts with the Money Charge Bonus, a pick bonus, free games, and a four-level linked progressive.
Players trigger the pick bonus with three or more Bonus symbols, and when six or more trigger credit symbols land on the screen, you enter the Money Charge Bonus.
During the Money Charge Bonus, players win credits and progressive awards. Locked symbols reset the spin counter to three and award all locked prizes, including the chance to win the Major, Minor, and Mini jackpots multiple times during the bonus feature.
During the pick bonus, players touch to choose and potentially win the Money Charge Bonus or a Free Games Bonus. During the Free Games Bonus, players win up to 15 free spins, and they can win even more free games during the feature for maximum win potential.
The latest in the Diamond District game family, Diamond Rush is a five-reel penny video slot in the PowerXStream configuration. Starting from the left, reels are three, three, four, three and three symbols deep.
This game takes you on a trip through the dazzling Diamond District, where you’ll anticipate the chance for luck and fortune. Anticipation is high with the Cash-On-Reels concept with credit and progressive prizes on the third reel. The Diamond District Bonus awards credit prizes or one of the three progressive jackpots on reel three with a five-of-a- kind DIAMOND win.
Three bonus symbols award eight free games. A multi- level linked progressive engages and awards potentially massive prizes. Progressive jackpots can be won during any base-game spin, adding to the excitement.
The latest offerings are part of developments that bring excitement to players and AGS personnel alike. According to Olson-Reyes, AGS’ award-winning company culture fuels creativity and innovation.
The company was named among ‘Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For’ for three years in a row – 2019, 2018, and 2017. For each of those three years, AGS was the only gaming supplier named to the prestigious list.
The winners were selected by an independent research firm following a voluntary, confidential survey of all AGS Atlanta-area employees, who evaluated key measures in multiple categories.
Olson-Reyes said the exceptional company culture are driven from the top by David Lopez, President and CEO since 2014.In that time, AGS has made a number of strategic acquisitions, including slotmakers Cadillac Jack and Rocket Gaming. Topline revenue growth has hit 307 percent.
“No matter which AGS office Lopez is working from on any given week, you’ll rarely find him sitting in an office,” Olson-Reyes said. “When he isn’t in a conference room meeting with his senior team, you’ll find Lopez having lunch in the break room or talking with employees at their desks. He is a man of the people – for the people – a CEO who wants to know the pulse of the company and actively seeks feedback. Many of his conversations with employees involve joking, laughter, playful teasing, and a genuine interest in their lives and families.”
Employees approve in a big way. Lopez won a Glassdoor.com Employees’ Choice Award honoring the top CEOs in 2019. Among the approximately 900,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, David earned a 98% approval rating by AGS employees based on anonymous, voluntary, unsolicited employee reviews over the last 12 months. In contrast, the average CEO’s approval rating is 69%.
That’s led to the cooperative atmosphere that goes into designing the innovative, exciting new games players are seeing.
“AGS’ tagline is ‘Obsessed with the Game,’” Olson-Reyes said, “and it truly reflects the team’s focus on developing great games.”