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The term 'fruit machine' is generally only used in the UK and Ireland. Although a lot of European countries enjoy playing games with fruit symbols, they are usually only referred to as a fruit machines in Britain and Ireland.
One thing that has really surprised me, is that most of the most popular fruit machines, like Deal or No Deal do not appear online. We still haven't seen an online casino where you can win cash whilst playing classic fruit machines, like Deal or No deal
Even more surprising, when I speak to the game-makers at last the annual ICE event (an industry event where the companies show off their latest games) it seems they have no plans to launch these types of games any time soon.
Of course, this could all change very rapidly. We know from experience that if a company wants to produce a game online they can do it in just a few weeks after making the decision. So there is hope.
There are loads of differences between these games and the style of games which you would find in a casino. UK casinos, like Hippodrome, Grosvenor etc have games that are more similar to Vegas slots.
The first big thing to notice is that a lot of classic fruit machines in the UK have just 3 or 4 reels, rather than the 5 reels that are most popular in casinos these days (although 3 reel video slots are still around).
Then we aso have the element of fruit. As you would expect, fruit machines have loads of lemon, grape, orange and melon symbols, whereas video slots often have completely different and varied themes.
Examples would be Book of Ra, Wheel of Fortune, Cleopatra, Lobstermania - all massive hits in the UK.
Then we also have the nudge and hold features and the bonus features. These are totally different from Vegas slots, or UK casino slots. Especially the nudge and hold which I have never seen in Vegas after many years of visiting.
The bonus games are many and varied on UK fruit machines or pub slots. As you work your way up the games you often move up money ladders, increasing your potential pay-out.
You never see this in Vegas either and the thought of the fact that you could lose the lot at any stage would be too much to bear for players in the USA, whereas in the UK, we are used to this type of thing - the gamble feature, with the opportunity to lose the lot.
One of the reasons for fruit machines like the Deal or No Deal game above not being seen online much could be to do with the way computer screens are.
The typical computer screen is like a TV, but these games in the pubs and clubs are very tall and long, so would not fit on a normal computer screen.
However, I wonder, with the fact that tablet computers are getting more and more popular and that they can be turned around to make a long tall screen, whether companies will consider making fruit machines for them.
I think UK fruit machines like in pubs and clubs and amusement arcades would work really well on an iPads and other tablets - so I really do hope that the companies will try making them sometime soon...
Traditionally, UK fruit machines are very different from the games you find in Las Vegas.
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