IGT is an acronym for International Game Technology. IGT is the largest manufacturer of slot machine games in the world. It’s said that half of all active gaming machines in the United States were designed by IGT. International Game Technology is a public-traded company. You can find them on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IGT.
A Brief History of IGT
Though International Game Technology has existed since the 1950s, they hit the big-time with the world’s first video poker games in the 1970s, and they went public in 1981. By 1986, IGT re-invented itself several times. This included expansion into the Australian market, the invention of the world’s first wide-area progressive slots, and experimentation with games run entirely on microprocessors.
The 90s were a landmark era for gambling in the United States, thanks to the introduction of riverboat gambling and the expansion of tribal gaming properties. IGT took advantage of this, becoming the first manufacturer to supply tribal casinos and riverboat operations on a grand scale. Within a year of the company’s listing on the NYSE, IGT stock was hailed as one of the top-performing financial products of the year.
One of the most important developments in the company’s history was the Wheel of Fortune slot game. Still considered the most popular gaming machine of all time (thanks in part to IGT’s subsequent release of updated titles and sequels), the success of Wheel of Fortune encouraged IGT to look into other licensed and themed titles. To this day, the most popular games produced by IGT are licensed titles.
The Acquisition of WagerWorks
By 2005, International Game Technology had its finger on the pulse of all but one important gambling market. IGT had absolutely no skin in the online casino industry. They took care of that problem by acquiring WagerWorks in the summer of 2005 for $90 million cash.
At the time, WagerWorks was one of the big names in the Internet gaming business, providing both content and member services to a number of popular casino operations, names like William Hill, Paddy Power, and Virgin. It probably didn’t hurt that WagerWorks had existing content licenses with groups like Sony and Hasbro, which IGT knew it could leverage into licensed online slot games.
The deal with WagerWorks also gave IGT access to the growing mobile gaming market. In the decade since the acquisition, IGT has developed a mobile game portfolio. The company produces slots, table games, and even lotto-style titles compatible with the big three mobile technologies: Windows, Apple iOS, and Android.
It should be clear, after reading that quick snippet on this company’s history, that International Game Technology is a major player in the gaming industry. In the sections below, you’ll find details on popular slots produced by IGT, broken up by category.
Slots Based on Game Shows
IGT is the undisputed champion of the game show-themed slot game.
In the history section above, we saw how the popularity of their Wheel of Fortune game spurred the company on to make more themed games. Let’s look at some specifics about IGT titles based on popular game shows.
Wheel of Fortune – One of the longest-running game shows in the history of television, Wheel of Fortune and its venerable hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White have been on the air since 1983. Despite format, network, and style changes, the show is still one of the most popular in its time slot, one of the most popular game shows ever, and a well-known brand around the world.
International Game Technology owns the license to the slot machine version of the game, and thanks to the rampant popularity of their initial release, they’ve issued tons of variations and different styles of play over the years.
The Amazing Race – A reality game show with a rabid (if disappearing) fan-base, The Amazing Race was one of the first big-format reality shows of its kind in history, and it is still running more than a decade after it first appeared. Though IGT’s Amazing Race game hasn’t had the huge influence that Wheel of Fortune had, the game is still incredibly-popular.
Technically, the name of this game is Amazing Race: In It to Win It. It’s a five-reel thirty-payline slot with a massive 200-credit maximum wager allowed. This game is modern in the best possible sense, stuffed with three unique bonus rounds (the Flag Hunter, Global Challenge, and Spin Till You Win rounds) and real video and audio clips from the show.
Jeopardy – Talk about a show with a long history and a rabid fan-base. Jeopardy is an obvious fit for the world of gaming machines, and since IGT is the absolute best at converting game shows into gambling opportunities, it’s no surprise that they acquired the license for this game a couple of decades ago. They even produce online and mobile versions for non-American customers.
Jeopardy was popular enough that IGT released a few extra versions. At the time of this writing, ten variants on their original title exist, including Jeopardy: Penny Spinning Reel and Jeopardy: Wild Star Red White & Blue. Each has slightly different rules and game play, but all share one thing in common. They were produced with real affection for the source material by the world’s best producer of game show-themed slots. They feature audio and video clips, licensed images from the game, and familiar Jeopardy-style play.
Slots Based on TV Shows
International Game Technology has not grown into one of the most-successful gambling operations in the world by making poor decisions about what their customers are looking for. In fact, it’s been just the opposite. From introducing popular slot features like licensed themes and wide-area progressives to taking chances on some bizarre-but-brilliant game themes, they’ve shown a commitment to producing awesome games that players love.
Creating slots based on popular TV shows must have been a no-brainer for a company already familiar with the taste of industry success in other markets. Here is a look at some of their most popular TV show-based slot games.
Star Trek: Against All Odds – Before fans of the old-school William Shatner or the 1990s Captain Picard eras freak out, understand that this IGT title is based on the recent reboot. Regardless how you feel about the reboot film, this slot machine is not one of IGT’s better themed titles, in part because of its simplicity. Both of IGT’s two Star Trek-themed titles are based on the newer version, probably to cash in on the excitement that built up at the time of the reboot’s release.
This title uses five reels and a special multi-ways winning system (720 ways, to be more precise) to stand out from what’s becoming a crowd of IGT slot sequels. Bettors must wager sixty credits per spin, and with credit size ranging from $0.01 up to $5 apiece, the total wager range is between $0.60 and $300.
The theme is pretty simple – you must help the starship Enterprise stop the evil Narada from completely demolishing the Earth. IGT’s inclusion of an Energizing Wilds symbol makes bonus rounds appear more often, and with larger prizes. It’s a fun game, but not on the level of some of IGT’s best licensed titles.
The Beverly Hillbillies – a very popular television show from the 1960s, The Beverly Hillbillies is the perfect theme for a slot if IGT wants to appeal to Baby Boomers. The Beverly Hillbillies essentially worked out as a replacement when their network lost the I Love Lucy show in 1957.
The theme of IGT’s Beverly Hillbillies is the traditional theme of the show – a group of like-minded backwoods types bumbling around the otherwise glamorous backdrop of Hollywood. This is a twenty-payline and five-reel title featuring all the original characters: Jethro, Jed, May, Elly, and the whole gang.
The Ellen Show – IGT’s license and production of a slot based on a TV talk show shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with this company’s oddball approach to game themes. Though talk shows aren’t necessarily great fodder for electronic games, Ellen DeGeneres’ daily show is an absolute phenomenon, with millions of fans tuning in for her personal brand of “laugh, dance, play” philosophy. She’s a hilarious comedienne with a wild and active approach to TV show hosting that lends itself well to slot play.
This isn’t really one title but two unique games – one is Ellen’s Dance Party, the other is 12 Days of Giveaway. They offer slightly different play and different sets of prizes, but both include actual quotes and clips from Ellen and the show along with near-constant clips of the show’s familiar theme.
Slots Based on Movies
With successful titles in the game show and TV show markets, it stands to reason that IGT would move into film and start producing popular titles based on the big box office smash titles of the past thirty years. Here are some details on the company’s most popular movie-themed slot titles.
Star Wars: Original Trilogy – When IGT sets their mind to creating a licensed game, they get the job done. Imagine the headache it must have been licensing this theme and producing a game good enough to earn the title?
This relative newcomer to the IGT game library pays homage to the “original” Star Wars trilogy, episodes four, five, and six. This is really three games in one, each game based on one of the original three films. Players must wager at least thirty credits to start the game, and each of the three “movies” has to be activated, so your total minimum wager is ninety credits. With credit sizes ranging from $0.01 to $2.50, the actual minimum wager is $0.90 per spin.
What’s best about this IGT title – bonus round play. Soar through space in an X-wing fighter, destroy the Death Star, battle walkers on Hoth, and witness the epic duel between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Fans of the original trilogy will enjoy the attention to detail.
Transformers: Battle for Cybertron– Taking advantage of the massive popularity of the various Transformers movies, IGT produced a really fun licensed slot with lots of audio and video clips to draw in a crowd on the casino floor. This game uses five reels and forty pay lines, with a wager range between $0.60 and $600. IGT is good at producing titles at a variety of price points, and with such a wide range of available bets, there’s something for all types of players on this movie-themed release.
The Hangover – Basing a slot machine game on one of the most popular Las Vegas-themed films in recent memory was another smart move by a company well-known for making smart moves. It is a natural fit, considering the heavy use of Vegas images and music as background in the film.
This game is a nice surprise, as it is a themed slot and a wide-area progressive at the same time. Players move through four character-themed progressive bonus systems along with four bonuses based on events and clips from the film. Real actor voices are added to enhance gameplay.
MegaBucks Progressive Jackpot Slot
I’ve set the MegaBucks Progressive game aside in its own category because it’s just that important to the history of this company.
Some say that IGT’s top game in the past three decades is Wheel of Fortune, but I think the game they’ve released that’s had the biggest impact is the MegaBucks progressive. Technically a wide-area progressive slot, MegaBucks’ top prize starts at a staggering $10 million and ticks up to considerable heights, thanks to the sheer size of the network.
MegaBucks is a one-dollar slot that gives players the option of wagering between one and three coins. Only spins involving the maximum bet size are eligible for the progressive jackpot.
How big does the jackpot get? According to IGT’s website, the most-recent one in November of 2014 at the Rampart in Las Vegas was worth $14.3 million. Based on the reported jackpot payouts on their site, the top prize only pays out a couple of times each year.
More IGT Progressives
This company has a wealth of high-value progressive jackpot slot games besides the MegaBucks machine. This table shows some of IGT’s most-popular progressive games along with their value at the time of this review.
|Game||Progressive Prize Value as of 4/10/15|
|Wheel of Fortune Special Edition||$1,922,000|
|Wheel of Fortune $0.50||$337,000|
International Game Technology is the king of the electronic gaming machine industry, and a major player in online and mobile gambling as well. Their slot games are a sort of gold-standard by which others are judged. If you find yourself in a land-based gaming venue in America, most of the games you play are IGT releases. At this time, Americans don’t have legal access to IGT’s online and mobile games, but gamblers from anywhere else in the world have lots of ways to play them.
Bottom line – IGT produces a huge variety of fun slot games. They may be known best for progressives and game show-themed titles, but their game library is long and varied, and a lot of attention is paid to keeping players entertained.