There are some themes that tend to dominate online games. I don’t know why, but some themes just hit the spot in a way that people can’t resist. It has to be said that online games – much like the good old fashioned fruit machine that preceded them – tend to be melting pots where all sorts of other cultural and artistic themes mingle and mix. If you’d just arrived from outer space and wanted to know what people like on Planet Earth, you could do a lot worse than take a peek at the themes that different gaming providers have used to glamorise and liven up their presentations.
Needless to say, cinema characters are always well represented – whether that is in terms of individual characters or the sort of more generic Jurassic Park characterisation that is making waves currently courtesy of industry providers Microgaming’s highly polished offerings. The levels of graphic and acoustic sophistication that is now part and parcel of these games is, in truth, closer to Hollywood than it is to those old mechanical spinning wheels. It’s quite a canny move really. After all, dinosaurs never go out of fashion – and there’s no reason why our outer space visitors should miss out on a free history lesson is there?
Wild West Appeal
Maybe it’s the hint of Vegas or perhaps the memory of the gold rush, but there is a similarly enduring quality to games that carry a Western theme. John Wayne is still going strong – even after all these years (actor Marion Morrison died in 1979), and the hot gems slot game that has recently been released by Playtech shows that our affection for those old cowboy prospectors is still as strong as ever. Once again, there is a cinematic quality to the game that really has to be seen to be believed.
Perhaps it is the sense of escapism that players are tapping into that explains the widespread use of fantasy and fairy tale characters. Of course, there is no copyright on Snow White or Hansel and Gretel, so you can see why they might be easier to roll out than something like Star Wars or Harry Potter characterizations where the provider would have to pay a royalty. That is not to say that such recognisable themes are not out there – they most definitely are. It’s just that from a business point of view they are likely be more expensive to set up than a generic princess or a knight of old.
That means that when someone goes all out on Marvel comic book characters they are bound to do it full on. The Marvel licensing operation is one of the most profitable anywhere (with Spiderman in particular proving to be a super-popular superhero): the casino industry is not the only place where you’ll see their characters zipping around. And what’s more, with Spiderman, Judge Dredd and the X Men all showing up prominently, those visitors from outer space might be encouraged to behave themselves.
Needless to say, there are countless other themes in use today. We all have our personal favourites, and it is in attempting to touch on that sort of personal sense of fun that keeps providers coming up with new games. What will they think of next?
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