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The history of the pokie machine is long and fascinating. Mechanical clockwork powered the first pokie machines, which ranged in size from the size of a desktop computer to the size of a refrigerator. Since then, the humble pokie machine has continued to evolve along with major milestones in technology.
The late 20th century would see the birth of the video pokie game, in which clockwork and physical reels would be phased out in favour of computer chips and screens. One of the most important factors in advancing the pokie machine was the introduction of the Money Honey.
On our online pokies page, we describe the Money Honey as a pioneer in pokie machine history, as it was the first machine to incorporate automated pay-outs into its design. When Bally introduced it in 1963, it was the first of its kind to have a bottomless hopper and the ability to automatically pay out money. An attendant was required to return the player’s prize money in the past, which was obviously not a long-term solution.
In 1976, Fortune Coin produced the first video pokie machine after the success of Bally’s previous technological advancement. The reels were shown on a 19-inch TV screen and the gameplay was processed with electronic boards. To keep the entire assembly safe, cabinets similar to those found in arcades were made to house the components.
One of the company’s initial test locations was the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. The Nevada State Gaming Commission approved them in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and they rapidly became one of the most popular games on the Las Vegas Strip.
The microprocessor also had a significant impact on video pokie development during this period. Slot machines were able to keep track of how many coins had been inserted and how much money had been wagered thanks to the advanced features that were made possible with these processors. The stepper motors may also be controlled using proximity sensors. The processor may also choose which symbols appeared on the reels and how much each winning combination would be worth.
The microprocessor also ushered in random number generators. Video pokies use random number generators instead of levers to spin the reels, whereas the early pokie machines used lever-activated mechanisms to spin the reels (RNGs). Reducing the need for a lever, increasing reliability, and preventing casinos from manipulating RTPs were all benefits of this change.
The feature sets of pokie machines only increased as a result of the shift to the digital platform. Bonus rounds, free spins, and other side tasks have become more common in video pokies. Modern online pokies continue to incorporate some or all of these elements.
International Gaming Technologies (or IGT for short) is one of the pokie machine manufacturers that saw the potential in digital pokie games, developing more sophisticated games with new mechanics and features. As expected, these new pokie games were an instant hit with casino players. Since then, IGT has switched its focus and investment away from mechanical devices and toward video pokies. One example of their innovations in this space, “Reel ’em In”, was the first pokie to contain a second bonus round screen.
However, this does not imply that the popularity of the traditional pokies of the past has decreased. They are, in fact, a major attraction for gamers who are looking for an old-school gaming experience without all of the bells and whistles associated with newer titles. With only three reels and a few paylines, the traditional pokie machine experience may be brought back to life with today’s software.