The core attraction for most Canadian players at the best online casinos is a big buffet of top quality video slots. These games are pretty much the staple casino machines today, even in land-based clubs, adding phenomenal sound and graphics to the core mechanics of slot gaming, and bonus features far beyond the physical limitations of traditional reels. Sure, classic casino slots are fun, but video slots add a whole extra dimension.
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What are Video Slots?
History – The term ‘video slots’ is in many ways is a bit of a throwback to the last century when real men played reel-based casino machines with moving electro-mechanical parts! During the 1980’s the Fortune Coin Co. debuted the very first game to replace those physical reels with virtual versions shown on a video screen. It was a daring, futuristic step at the time, but soon the idea caught on, riding the wave of interest in video games that followed pioneering games such as Atari’s Space Invaders. In time, as computer and graphics technology vastly improved, developers began to take full advantage to create video slots with ever more elaborate features, and five reels soon became the standard base-game configuration.
Possibilities of high-speed internet – With the arrival of high-speed consumer internet connections in this century, the potential of video slots to bring an authentic casino experience to players’ desktop PCs (and now mobile devices too) unleashed an unprecedented explosion in online slot gaming. Today, video slots are a world away from the machines that started the revolution.
The platform of the internet and modern game technology has let developers’ imaginations run riot, so video slots come in astonishing variations with myriad themes that encompass fantasy, sci-fi, comedy and pop culture. Developers have also innovated (and keep innovating) with novel symbol and bonus features that add wonderful depth and surprise to the basic mechanics of slot gaming, keeping things interesting for players.
How do Video Slots Work?
Under the bonnet it’s all computer wizardry and random number generation that we’ll leave to the geeks, but from a player’s view, video slots have the same DNA as classic casino slots. As a result, they are super simple to play. The player places a stake to spin the (usually) five reels, with the hope that when they stop spinning, winning combinations of symbols have lined up on active paylines. Video slots spice things up a little with casino bonus features – some common examples of which we’ll cover a little later – but the core mechanics are always the same making it easy for most players to get to grips with new video slots very quickly.
How do I Play Video Slots online?
Easy – Playing is generally pretty simple. The hard part is really choosing which to play and where to play it, and we hope our reviews can help make that easy for you, too.
Placing your bet – Once you found a video slot you like, you then need to decide what you want to wager on a spin. All online slots offer flexible betting options, so whatever your budget you should be able to set a line bet value and number of active paylines that suits you. Once done, you’re good to click the spin button and see what fate has in store for you!
Video slots vs. other slots – Video slots are no different form any other type of slot, in that they are games of pure chance. That means there’s no skill needed to enjoy these games to the maximum, nor will a new player be at any disadvantage through lack of experience. Every spin can deliver a big win if luck is on your side. Video slots don’t discriminate between players.
Special Features of Typical Video Slots
Mentioned earlier, video slots liberated slot designers to bring special features to the basic slot party and some have become so well established that they appear on pretty much every slot game nowadays. Of these, the top three most common features are:
- Wild Symbols: These are special symbols found on the reels that can substitute for all other symbols (possibly with some exceptions that will be indicated in the slot’s rules). This power allows them to form unexpected winning combinations. Special Wilds have also become common sights on recent video slot games, having enhanced powers to exert wider influence on results when they appear. Expanding Wilds, Random Wilds and Sticky Wilds are all examples of this trend and greatly enhance the excitement of play.
- Scatter Symbols: These are symbols that can trigger wins without needing to line up on an active payline. Simply having a specified number in view will be the condition that needs to be met to trigger a payout and / or another bonus feature. Scatter symbols are also one symbol that a Wild cannot typically substitute for.
- Free Spins Feature: Often triggered by a spin resulting in three or more Scatters in view, many video slots will then award a fixed number of free spins. All wins are paid out based on the stake that was played for the triggering spin, and sometimes a multiplier is added to all free-spin wins to create even bigger rewards. It is also not uncommon for the reels to be enhanced with other symbols during free spins to make them even more likely to deliver exciting results.
The above is not an exhaustive list of special features you’ll find in the video slot universe, but it’s a fair chance you’ll find one or more of these on the next video slot you try. Our full reviews of specific slots always explore that game’s unique features, so if you want to know exactly what bonus ways to win are possible from a slot check our reviews first.
Video Slots: Conclusion
It’s probably arguable that all online slots are video slots, since none of them rely on physical reels and playing them without a screen would be as mad as playing hockey with a Ping Pong paddle. However, they generally have come to define the typical five-reel, multi-payline slots sprinkled with bonus features that dominate the lists of most popular games at the best online casinos.
Despite the vast choice of video slots players can wallow in at any or our recommended casinos, new players should not be overwhelmed since the essence of playing any one of them is supremely easy and inexperience is no barrier to getting the very best from them. Luck is all that matters when taking a fine set of online reels for a spin at our favourite destinations, so have fun and may luck land you a wild ride with a big win as your ultimate reward!