The Global Gaming Expo and the weeks leading up to it are high times for conversations to take place around gaming. For those wondering where I get my ideas for so many of these Slot Vocabulary posts, it’s these conversations.
The industry develops terms for all sorts of things relating to games, and tends to adopt terms across the industry so when they’re talking to others about games and so forth, they’re speaking the same language.
In a recent video featuring Frank Legato on Everithing Slots!, I was introduced to a term I hadn’t heard before relating to slot machines: A watermark.
The idea of a watermark is actually very simple. If you look at the picture at the top of this article, at the symbol in the top left, you’ll see the single bar symbols with the 3x laid atop it, a common feature on Everi’s nine-line three-reel games such as Super Jackpot Wild Gems. That 3x is the watermark – it’s an additional marker overlaid onto the main symbol to signify something.
Commonly you’ll see watermarks indicate a multiplier, but that’s not the only way it can be leveraged. Wizard of Oz Emerald City by Light and Wonder not only features watermarks with multipliers, but also those with ruby slippers and emerald gems, as a way of triggering a bonus event.
Especially on mechanical reel games and formats, watermarks can offer additional flexibility by adding additional ways to add features within the limited number of reel spaces such games can offer. But such scenarios can also be leveraged on video reels as well – it just really depends on the game’s design.
But the watermark has a time-tested place in slot design, adding some variability to games that would otherwise have more limited formatting due to the physical restrictions on what a reel strip can house on a mechanical slot machine.
You wrote: “If you look at the picture at the top of this article, at the symbol in the top left, you’ll see the single bar symbols with the 2x laid atop it …”
The actual watermark is 3X, not 2X, overlay in the single bar.
Thank you! I swapped the photo out before publication and missed the text. Always appreciate the corrections!