Friday, July 12, 2013

Vegas slot machines: let the TV games begin

LAS VEGAS--The big game in Vegas these days seems to be television. Not just in terms of production (Pawn Stars, American Restoration and Counting Cars all shoot there), but in terms of gaming.
Walking through the casinos, you can't miss the many TV-themed slot machines. There's a big bank of Sex and the City machines, usually grouped in four, in every casino in town. Landing on Mr. Big seems to pay the most.
Other show tie-ins seem a little odd. Why a CSI slot machine? If you don't pay your casino bill, you win a free forensic autopsy? There are American Idol machines with big screens featuring former winners, The Amazing Race has a slot tie-in, as does Survivor. There are even large Family Guy gambling deals where you can line up three Stewies in a row and win.
No where in sight, however: The Simpsons. D'oh!
The Pawn Stars, of course, are immortalized in gaming. Rick Harrison says he was sitting in a bar with son Corey ("Big Hoss") when a slot machine manufacturer at the next booth couldn't help overhear several of Hoss's wisecracks. A meeting took place right there in the diner and a year later the Harrisons plus Chumlee were imortalized in neon and chrome. Rick says mobile editions of the Pawn Stars slot machine are coming soon to a phone or tablet near you.
I also spotted a Judge Judy slot machine and, yes, it takes pennies.
Besides the many current TV shows lit up as game machines throughout Vegas, there are also a few golden oldies. I spotted a You Bet Your Life slot machine at Treasure Island, which surprised me--the Groucho Marx game show went off the air over 50 years ago. I spotted several large Deal or No Deal machines with Howie Mandel smiling down from the monitors. (You have to use gloves to press the buttons.)
There's a Cheers game which features the actual voice of John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin. Cliff grunts and moans when you spin and lose, blurts that he has to meet his wife anyway when you get up and leave.
If somebody really fat sits down the machine automatically shouts "Norm!" No it doesn't, because, hey, this is Vegas and it would be shouting "Norm!" all day long.
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