Modern video slots have come a long way since the traditional mechanical one-armed bandits, and while those classic three-reel games will always hold a place in our hearts, the trend continues towards games with ever more ways to win.
The software developer, Microgaming, has been at the forefront of developing new games that do away with the traditional paylines on slot machines, and has come up with innovative ways to develop games that feature 243, 1024, and even 3125 ways to win on a single spin.
Regular players will understand how paylines work, but for the uninitiated, the payline is the line across the reels where you match three or more symbols for a win. On the old-style fruit machines the payline was indicated by the black line running across the centre reel. As video slots were developed and five reel games were introduced, it led to new possibilities with paylines.
A basic concept would be a three-reel slot which has five paylines from left to right – one line across each of the three reels, and two lines diagonally from corner to corner.
With five reels, developers were able to introduce more paylines across the reels, with some games offering 9, 15, 25, 30, and 40 paylines. These can be horizontal, vertical, and diagonal, and can even work their way across the reels in a zig zag pattern to form winning combinations. It was way back in 2008 that Microgaming first introduced the Cashapillar online slot, which was one of the first to feature 100 paylines and was considered revolutionary at the time.
Having taken paylines seemingly as far as they can go, game developers are now doing away with them altogether, and that’s where the 243 ways to win slot comes in.
243 Ways to Win Slots
243 ways to win slots work by awarding wins for matching symbols that land on adjacent reels. The symbols don’t need to be on a specific payline, and can be in any position on the reels. This means that if you land three matching symbols on reels 1, 2, and 3 you will win the corresponding amount, even if they are spread at random over the three reels. If the same symbols appear on the 4th or 5th reels, winnings are increased accordingly, and altogether this adds up to 243 ways to win.
One popular way of describing these types of games is that the symbols act as adjacent scatter symbols. A scatter symbol on some games is a symbol that generates a win on its own, regardless of what else is on the reels. With 243 ways to win, each symbol acts as an adjacent scatter.
Microgaming has been behind the development of many of these games, and some of the most popular include The Dark Knight Rises and Lord of the Rings. Other developers to follow suit include Net Entertainment, with their Alien Robots online slot.
1024 Ways to Win Slots
Microgaming continued to expand on this theme, and also developed games with an incredible 1,024 ways to win. These slots work on the same basis of every symbol being a scatter symbol. In the case of Terminator 2, the base game works as a 243 ways to win slot, but when the free spins round is initiated, an extra row is added to the reels increasing the number of ways to win.
Other developers are following this theme, and Microgaming has since upped the ante again with the Dolphin Coast slot, which feature a jaw-dropping 3125 ways to win.
The one thing to consider when playing these slots is that although so many ways to win sounds incredibly exciting, it also means that stakes are can be very high. Most of these games are available as ‘penny’ slots, but even then a single spin can be quite expensive, and these high quality slots are best played when you have a reasonable bankroll to cope with volatility. If you do, then they can be a huge amount of fun and it is a completely different online slot experience.