In a previous article I spoke about the trend of more/better bets, which encourage you to bet higher in exchange for an increased chance at the frequency of a bonus. A sneakier way manufacturers tackle this is through the concept of a slot machine sequel.
In this, they take a popular slot machine and revise it with a new feature or additional component that amps up the game’s interest, and with it the ability to increase the minimum bet to fuel that new addition. For popular series it’s a way to give players more of what they want, while at the same time bringing something new to the slot floor with less risk that it will fail.
That said, players should understand what’s happening, and how these sequels then impact the minimum bet. I began to speak about this in a recent piece as well, but today we’ll dive deeper into how this works in practice.
Popular Games, Revised with More Volatility
To illustrate how this evolution happens, I’m going to go back to my previous discussion around the Buffalo series, focusing specifically on the games that are direct sequels, and not just leveraging the theme for a new format. I’m also going to leave out games like the Cashman version of Buffalo, which is just an extra feature, even though it’s built in to the bet. In those cases you know you’re getting two separate things in one, just like any game with a bolted on feature like Konami’s Jackpot Streams feature.
Buffalo Deluxe has the same base game layout. The additional dime in the bet goes to fueling a bonus volatility choice that either comes with the chance for higher multipliers and less spins, or more spins and less multipliers. To account for this you get on three coins the following options:
- 15 games with x2 or x3
- 12 games with x2 or x4
- 9 games with x2 or x5
Since the original Buffalo only gave 8 free games for the three coins, you can see where the extra 10 cents comes in – the bonuses are amped up. You’re effectively paying another dime for a more/better bonus.
For this particular game, you usually find it (when standalone) on a Legends format that lets you play the original Buffalo at the original bet, or play the Deluxe for a bit more.
Buffalo Gold also builds off the original Buffalo, and it too requires an additional bet over the original game to fuel the more volatile bonus. In this case, the premium is 20 cents, and the gold heads can turn more higher symbols into Buffalo, amping up the potential for a large all ways pays line hit with buffalo heads.
In Las Vegas and some other markets, you can choose to not bet the gold feature and the game reverts more or less to standard Buffalo. I was confused the first time I saw this as I never recalled being able to do it at home, and sure enough, the only choice in some places is that 60 cent option x your line bet. So in those cases if you want to play regular Buffalo, you have to find the original. Many casinos still have these around but they’re not as easy to find as they used to be.
Buffalo Gold Revolution
A sequel to a sequel, as it were, another 15 cent premium further amps up the bonus so now you get a wheel, where you can get gold heads to kick off the free games, credit prizes, or progressives.
The extra bet built in to the base wager pays for the extras the wheel can provide. It also fuels a random feature on the base game that can occasionally turn a semi-premium animal symbol into buffalo for a single spin.
However, now almost half your bet is fueling the various beefing up of the bonuses and random features. Buffalo’s base game can certainly have some solid line hits to show for getting Buffalo, but since half your bet is fueling a bonus, it puts further weight on needing the bonus to see a good return on your investment.
Other Sequels that Up the Ante
There’s other examples on the casino floor that take this same approach, which include:
- Invaders Return from the Planet Moolah/Return to Crystal Forest: These sequels to classic WMS games offer specialty wild symbols that can amplify the game, with an extra bet built in to the base bet. If you wish to play the original game, both offer the ability to select the original and avoid the extra bets.
- Lock it Link Superlock: The games selected from the Lock it Link library had a 50 cent minimum bet; the bet increases to 60 cents and adds the wheel spin feature that sometimes comes up during the Lock it Link bonus. Line pays and regular Lock it Link features pay as if it were a 50 cent bet.
- Dancing Drums Explosion: The sequel to Dancing Drums has a higher minimum bet (must bet all gold symbols) and has the gold drum feature, which is why a higher starting bet is required. Technically the 88 cent minimum bet is the same as the 5 gold symbol bet but with higher volatility with the new game format, and the higher steps for line multipliers (288 vs. 264, etc.,) all serve to amp up the bets to support the additional features. Betting $5.88 gets you access to the top jackpot.
Keep in mind the sequels are coming faster and more frequently, meaning their predecessors are many times still doing the heavy lifting on the slot floors. If you don’t want to bet the additional bet to get the new features, you’re easily able to just find the older version, which likely is still around given the earlier game would have been popular enough to warrant a sequel to begin with.