Top 5 video slot features explained

5 of the top modern video slot game feeatures

The MegaMoolah.com website is clearly dedicated around the wildly popular Mega Moolah video slot. But Mega Moolah is not the only progressive video slot out there worth playing. There are few other slots on the market that offer the same combination of state-of-the-art game play and good jackpot winning potential.

We should however mention that while other jackpot games are great as well, they do not come close to the jackpot amounts lucky winners have won on the Mega Jackpot while playing the Mega Moolah slot.

So what makes for a truly great video slot? Eye-catching graphics are very good. So are interesting story lines and games based on pop culture or other important influences. But for our money, it is the extra features developers build into their games that truly separates winners and losers.

We would like to introduce you to some of those features in this post. If you are a veteran of video slots, none of what you read here will be news to you. But if you are new to the whole slot gaming experience, trust us when we say that great features are your best friend. The features that come built-in to individual slot games give them their character.

So, let us begin. In the following paragraphs you will find a list of five of most common video slot features along with thorough explanations of what they are and how they work.

1. Scatter and Bonus symbols

First- and second-generation slot games were pretty straightforward in terms of their symbols. The total number of symbols in any given game was limited, and there were no special symbols with different functions. It wasn't until the introduction of the Wild symbol that things began to change. Fast forward a few decades to the introduction of the Scatter and Bonus symbols.

Though the terms 'Bonus' and 'Scatter' are often used interchangeably to describe the same kinds of symbols, they are different from the developer's point of view. A Bonus symbol is a symbol that is generally used to introduce Bonus play.

For example, let us say you have a video slot that offers a Free Spins Bonus game. In order to trigger that game, the player has to land three or more designated symbols on the reels during a standard spin. The symbols in question are considered Bonus symbols because they trigger Bonus play.

A Scatter symbol is something entirely different. A Scatter symbol pays a win when it appears on the reels. In some games, every landed Scatter pays. In other games, Scatters only pay if the player lands two or more. At any rate, Scatter symbols pay separate from any winning combinations that might appear. This means the player can win on Scatter symbols even if he or she does not land three or more like symbols to create a win on a single pay line.

From time to time developers will choose a single symbol to act as both the Bonus and Scatter. Other times developers will include one symbol without including the other. It is really up to the designers and their preferences.

2. Free Spins Bonus Games

A pure, old-school video slot gaming experience doesn't allow for anything other than placing your bets and spinning the reels. But to make things exciting, today's developers include Bonus Games. One of those Bonus Games is the Free Spins Bonus. A general rule of thumb requires the player to land three or more Bonus symbols on a standard spin in order to trigger Free Spins.

Now, the actual practice of spinning the reels does not change when Free Spins are active. Instead, the attraction of this type of Bonus game is that it doesn't cost the player anything additional to spin.

Consider a video slot with a Free Spins Bonus game offering 10 Free Spins once triggered. You land your three Bonus symbols and off you go. The game will automatically spin 10 times. But guess what? You are not placing any additional bets. Those spins cost you nothing.

As for your winnings, they are calculated based on the same wager and active pay lines that were in play during the spin that triggered Bonus play. A 10 bet on the last paid spin acts as the basis for calculating Free Spins winnings even though you are not betting on the Free Spins.

3. Gambling option

Some of video slot games display a 'Gamble' button somewhere in the control panel. When active, this button triggers a special feature that a lot of slot players love. It is the aptly-named Gamble feature. Allow us to explain how it works.

Games that offer this feature allow you to gamble winnings earned from any single spin that results in at least one winning combination. So let's say you win a tenner after spinning the reels once. You can choose to collect that prize and move on to the next spin or gamble the prize in hopes of doubling it. You would click the 'Gamble' button to activate the feature.

Most Gamble features present you with a 50-50 choice. You might be presented with a deck of cards and asked to choose whether the next card that comes up will be black or red. Choose correctly, and you turn your 10 into 20. You can then collect your prize and return to base play or gamble again. If you guess incorrectly though, you lose your 10 and automatically return to base play.

It is not unusual for Gambling features to allow you to gamble up to five times in a given session. So based on five gambling opportunities and a 10 starting amount, you could potentially walk away with 320 in winnings. But you lose it all if you guess incorrectly on any of your gambles.

One last thing to note is that gambling does not affect anything other than the money or credits you won on the spin that started it all. You are only gambling winnings from that particular spin and no more.

4. Rolling, Tumbling or Cascading symbols

A number of game developers have come up with a feature that involves replacing winning symbols with new symbols to allow winning on a single spin to continue. They all have their own names for this feature. Some refer to 'rolling', or 'tumbling' symbols while others prefer the word 'cascading'. The feature works pretty much the same regardless of its name.

A game with tumbling or cascading symbols starts like any other. You determine your bet and active pay lines, then spin the reels. If you land no winning combinations the round is over. You set your new bet and active pay lines and spin again.

Let's say your next spin results in two winning combinations with a total of 7 symbols in play. The game will calculate your winnings and add them to your balance. Then those 7 winning symbols will disappear and be replaced by 7 new symbols. The new symbols may tumble down, or cascade, from the top of the screen to fill in the empty spaces. They might also just materialise on the screen.

In either case, the reels are evaluated a second time. If no more winning combinations appear, the spin is over and you move on. But if new winning combinations are formed, the process of eliminating and replacing symbols continues. It keeps going until you no longer have any winning combinations on the screen.

People love this feature because it extends winning spins indefinitely. It is a great way to add to your winnings without requiring any further bets. And best of all, you do not have to do anything. The game handles it all for you.

5. Progressive jackpots

Our personal favourite is the progressive jackpot. As you know, large progressive jackpots are one of the things Mega Moolah is known for. A progressive jackpot represents an opportunity to really WIN BIG!

They get their name from the fact that such jackpots continue to grow until someone wins. How do they grow? By way of player contributions. We can use Mega Moolah to illustrate how this works.

Mega Moolah is a Microgaming title that is offered through online casinos located all over the world. Everyone playing the game at any one time is connected to the Mega Moolah jackpot network. That includes you. Every time you spin the reels, a tiny portion of your bet is contributed to the jackpot. The same goes for every other player on the network.

Every spin of the reels puts more money in the jackpot. The more people you have playing at any given time, the faster the jackpot grows. It just keeps growing until someone takes it all in the Jackpot Bonus Wheel.

Game developers have the option of making progressive jackpots local or area-wide. A local jackpot is confined only to those players playing a particular game at a single online casino. Local jackpots tend to be smaller for this reason. But hey, a jackpot is a jackpot.

Area-wide jackpots account for players across the same network regardless of the particular online casino they happen to be playing it. Mega Moolah's progressive jackpot is built on this model as it reaches a worldwide audience via hundreds of licenced casinos.

There are a lot of great extra features that really enhance video slot play. Game designers know that, which is why they keep looking for that next new feature players will love. A game with a good selection of extra features can quickly become a fan favourite among online gamblers - which is really the point.

In summary

It's unlikely that you will find all of the best game features rolled into one video slot. But if you are going to play any slot game you might as well try a progressive jackpot slot. Register today and try Mega Moolah - at time of writing the jackpot broke through the 14.6 million barrier!

Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.

Next article: Which music-themed slots would you like to see from Microgaming?