Roses And Eruptions
Full immersion and interactive play put the latest releases from Aruze Gaming in a class by themselves
By Frank Legato
Slot-maker Aruze Gaming America has always had its share of spectacular ways of presenting slot games.
Aruze, after all, was the company responsible for Jackpot Battle Royal, the famous community game distinguished by giant hands jutting out of the top display. And then there was Paradise Fishing, with its “Reel Feel” technology that had bonus fish tugging at a joystick-like fishing line.
The latest spectacular Aruze presentation is not a community bank like these and others in the manufacturer’s “G-Link” series, but a singlegame presentation. More specifically, a single-game experience. Aruze calls the presentation the Cube-X Vertical 80, because it comprises the popular Cube-X cabinet in a vertical format with more than 80 inches of high definition video.
The new Cube-X Vertical stands on a cabinet around 10 feet tall, which, if not imposing enough, frames two 42-inch vertical highresolution (1920 x 1080 full HD) LED monitors—one on top of the other, forming a giant wall of video as the machine’s display.
“Cube-X Vertical 80 is the first dual 42-inch screen ever in gaming,” says Aruze Product Specialist Cynthia Gonzalez. “This display is huge.”
“The whole point is to have this full-immersion gaming experience,” says Kelcey Allison, CEO of Aruze Gaming America. “And this box was really designed for the millennials; we really focused on that.”
This was done by putting a remarkable package of high technology into that big totem pole of a cabinet. It will all be on display in the two inaugural games on the new platform—Caribbean Rose and Ultimate Eruption.
One of the first things you’ll notice are those oversized LED monitors. The lower one is a new kind of touch-screen surface. “This is the first 42-inch touch-screen that has fully tactile functionality,” explains Allison, “meaning players can touch anywhere on the screen and actually play the game.”
This enables some unique interactive play experiences. “On Caribbean Rose, when players are shooting the cannons, they can actually stand up and touch anywhere on the screen,” Allison says. (If they want to, he adds—there’s also an LED button panel.)
Added to this is a compelling new presentation, created through sophisticated LED technology. Allison likens it to the technology used at Walt Disney World for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. “They use similar technology,” he says. “We’ve just kicked it up a notch.”
On Caribbean Rose, you will find it in a fabulously creepy skull ornament on the front of the machine, which combines a physical sculpted ornament with a virtual 3D element to great effect. “It looks real, like a real pirate skull is actually talking to you,” Allison says. “It actually extrudes from the machine itself—very, very cool technology.”
The two inaugural games in the Cube X Vertical 80 series bring all this technology to bear in bonus events that utilize every inch of real estate on those top-box LED monitors.
Caribbean Rose is a five-reel ways-to-win game—depending on the configuration, there are 248, 832 or 1,024 ways to win on every spin. That configuration changes because the number of symbol positions in each of the five reels changes randomly to a new screen configuration. Also randomly, the top-paying symbol will replace lower-paying symbols to create larger potential wins.
The advanced technology, though, is most evident in four feature-rich bonus events played out on the huge display, starting with the “Naval Battle,” where the player touches the big screen to fire cannons to hit the enemy for bonuses.
The other three employ Aruze’s new 3D technology for vastly entertaining sequences.
In “Ghost Ship Adventure,” the player uses the touch screen to move a character around a ghost ship to win credits. In the “Kraken Free Games,” credits are won when a special symbol appears on the reels to fire a canon at the kraken on the top screen. In “Treasure Island Bonus,” the player selects from a series of treasure chests, winning credits on a quest for the “Big Treasure.”
These bonus events are really frequent, occurring every 30 spins on average, according to the company. That’s about twice the frequency of the average video slot bonus event.
But what really makes them special is the technology of the new platform. “Our newest processor really brings a whole new 3D technology in real time,” Allison says. “For example, on Caribbean Rose, the animation is a stop-motion animation.”
Stop-motion animation was a movie effect made famous by Hollywood effects master Ray Harryhausen in films like Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans—model monsters filmed a frame at a time and moved, meticulously creating a realistic and very creepy animation effect that is unforgettable to fans of the genre. “We’ve got this technology that integrates this effect into the video game,” says Allison. “It’s something that’s never been done.”
But the coolest part of the game, he says, is the actual reel-spinning—on what is called a “morphing reel,” or as Allison calls it, a “ribbon reel.”
“If you took a cassette tape and looked at it, there is no end,” he says in describing the reel display. “With the ribbon reel, you can see the top and back, so it’s almost like a three-dimensional reel that’s spinning really fast.”
The display is gigantic, but the player further interacts with the game by selecting one of three zones of symbols on which their game will play out—one of three colors.
By the way, there is a four-level progressive jackpot on this game. Randomly at the end of any of the bonus events, there is a “Jackpot Challenge” in which a large wheel—positioned sideways with results spinning down the giant display—spins to award credits or one of the four jackpots.
Ultimate Eruption uses the big display to sell its volcano theme with gusto. The base game, a traditional five-reel, 20-line video slot, explodes into a unique play field with a random “Amplified Reel” sequence.
“Because we’re using more than 80 inches, we can actually expand the reels on Ultimate Eruption all the way up to the top,” says Allison. “You get this really dynamic display of reel symbols extending all the way up to the top of the screen, and then molten lava coming down and burning the reels up to change into all these wilds.”
There are three mystery reel features in all. “Eruption Wild” causes all symbols on randomly determined reels to change to wild symbols. “Magma Wild” turns from four to 24 randomly determined symbols into wild symbols.
Three scattered bonus symbols trigger the “Lava Chance” bonus. Players swipe the screen or press the bet button to raise the “lava level” in the volcano—through 14 levels of progressive jackpots. (The bottom nine are static amounts; the top five increment.) If the level exceeds the top of the volcano, the “Big Bonus” is triggered. Otherwise, a free-game sequence is initiated.
These two games are only the beginning for the new format. Soon, Allison says, the company will bring a big-name branded license to the format. “There are big, big things to come,” he says. “We’re very excited about this new format.
“Players are going to love the interactivity. That’s what Aruze’s really famous for, really engaging the player, what I call full immersion gaming. The stop-motion movie animation, the visuals, and the technology that allows them to be able to actually go into the game and really feel like they have a part in the direction of the game… Nothing like this has been done before.”
But trust that Aruze will do it again.