One of the most successful models for producing a hit slot machine is to attach it to an already popular franchise. Whether it is a movie, a television show, a comic book or a video game, having an audience of people who are familiar with the theme and are predisposed to try more products based on the franchise makes it more likely that players will flock to a machine.
That’s why companies like Endemol Games have an important role to play in the iGaming industry. The gaming wing of Endemol, a Dutch media company that has been in business since 1994, they have access to an enormous library of television properties that can be used to create games for online and land-based casinos, as well as for many state-run lotteries throughout the world. These include many of the most popular game shows and reality series in the world, which have been developed not only into slots, but also into variants on popular table games as well. Some sporting brands are also included, adding another dimension to this collection.
Perhaps the best news of all is that these games tend to be of rather high quality, allowing fans of each of these franchises to get plenty of enjoyment out of each title. And while not all of these games are offered throughout the world – many are regional offerings that are only available in the UK, or Canada, or various European jurisdictions – they definitely offer a lot of fun for those who have the chance to play them.
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Playing Games About Games
One of the reasons that game shows (and sports) tend to be natural themes for slot machines is that they are already gamified – you don’t need to come up with weird ways to turn the theme into something you “play,” because that work has already been done ahead of time. Instead, it is more about taking the elements that are already in place, and making sure that the designers and developers do as good a job as possible at working them into a slots (or other game) framework.
Let’s take a look at a few examples in order to see how Endemol has managed to do this. First, we’ll start with Big Brother, a slot machine based on one of the most popular reality shows every produced for television. Available only in the UK, this 25-line, five-reel machine is available in versions that feature progressive jackpots as well. Graphically, this is a relatively simple presentation, but the art is still very high quality: symbols include the famously invasive cameras from the show, peepholes, adoring fans, and symbols that show both clashes and romances between contestants on the show. Wild and scatter symbols are designed to look like versions of the show’s iconic logo, while players can earn extra cash in bonus rounds based off of the tasks completed by housemates and a Housemate Hunt game in which you reveal contestants to earn free spins and multipliers.
Not all of the slots from Endemol are about game shows, however. One great example of a sports-based game is UFC, a machine that is designed to appeal to fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the most prestigious organized in mixed martial arts competition. Players start the game by picking one of 12 elite fighters from UFC history to represent them during play. The game is filled with video and motion capture footage of each athlete, and symbols include ring girls, the infamous octagon, training equipment, and ring announcer Michael Buffer. Special bonus rounds see you picking moves for your fighter as he takes on one of his biggest rivals, using clips from actual fights to add to the excitement.
These are just a couple of the many great branded slots that you’ll see as a part of the Endemol collection. There are even some original, non-branded games included, and while these aren’t the games that the company is best known for, they are valuable additions to any casino as well. A few more of the titles created by this group include:
- The Million Pound Drop
- The Money Drop
- Catch Phrase
- Come on England!
- Deal or No Deal: The Banker’s Riches
Additionally, Endemol has created a number of table games and other offerings that are variants on familiar classics, only with twists that are based on some of the properties and brands that have been used throughout their game line. For instance, Deal or No Deal is used to provide twists on two different games: blackjack and roulette.
In the blackjack game, the action plays out largely like a standard table game, with the exception that players have the option of ending a hand early in exchange for a banker’s offer that varies depending on the strength of the player and banker hands. Meanwhile, Deal or No Deal Roulette includes bonus features in which players have the chance to play two versions of the television show: one that is very similar to the original suitcase game, and another that utilizes the roulette wheel itself to selection from a range of prizes.
Other Deal or No Deal versions are also available in varying markets, with some simply being versions of the show in which the player puts up a stake in exchange for the chance to win a range of prizes (with banker offers being provided as cases are eliminated). But other games have also been created based around games such as The Money Drop and Fear Factor, often localized in a variety of languages including Italian, Spanish, and Greek.
There are also some scratch card games created by Endemol, including one based on Big Brother. However, many others are more original creations, with titles like Avast ye Booty and Route to Riches, each of which try to take a few liberties with the basic scratch card formula.
In the UK, some sites also have access to a Deal or No Deal Bingo game, in which players enjoy much of the same social action that has made online bingo so popular, with the possibility of upgrading their winnings via a call from the banker after every round. Several Endemol games are also available in mini-game versions that can be imbedded onto webpages for a variety of gambling operators.
Popular in Regulated Markets
If you’re looking to give these Endemol products a try, your best chance is in some of the major regulated gambling markets found in Europe and elsewhere. You’ll see these games on state-owned sites in places like Loto Quebec in Canada, as well as on sites in Italy and the UK. Major brands including 888 and Paddy Power have utilized these games as a part of their lineups, not only at casino sites but also alongside sportsbooks and bingo operations as well.
Endemol doesn’t provide a complete casino platform, so you’ll instead see their games typically included in larger software systems that are provided by names that are more familiar to gamblers. In fact, a recent licensing deal saw the company’s content included in the Open Gaming System, a platform provided by the NYX Gaming Group.
As for awards, you won’t see this firm included among the prize winners at many major gaming operations – but that’s not to say they are never recognized. It just usually happens for their shows, rather than for the games that are based on them. Sometimes, however, there is overlap between the two: BAFTA recognized the company for its home play along game that accompanied broadcasts of the Million Pound Drop, giving them a Television Craft BAFTA for Digital Creativity in 2011 (the game also won Best Use of Digital Technology at the Broadcast Digital Awards).
Great Content for TV Fans
If you’re not someone who has watched the television properties that Endemol Games bases their titles on, then you’re not likely to get much out of these games. That’s not a knock on their quality: it’s just that there are plenty of other good games out there that don’t require knowledge of these programs in order to understand exactly what’s going on.
But at the same time, it’s hard to believe that there will be all that many people – especially in the company’s main market, the UK – who aren’t familiar with at least a few of these shows. Who hasn’t seen Big Brother, or Deal or No Deal? We’re sure there are a few of you out there, but for the most part, these are titles that will resonate with the vast majority of players. If you’re in a market where Endemol operates, it is well worth giving a few of their games a try, as they do an excellent job of mixing solid gameplay, interesting features, and faithfulness to the shows that inspired them: a winning combination for any developer.