As always, 2013 saw a new cohort of online slots releases for gamblers to try their hand at, including some based on the year’s blockbuster cinema titles.
But one of the most widely known titles from the small screen in the past decade also got a slots incarnation, along with one of the most successful publication titles of all time.
Here’s our pick of the highest-profile online slots releases of the year.
The Dark Knight Rises
The culmination of Christopher Nolan’s reinvention of the Batman franchise was one of the most anticipated cinematic events in recent years – and probably the biggest since the Lord of the Rings trilogy came to a close.
Unsurprisingly, then, Microgaming were keen to build on the success of their previous slot based on the Nolan trilogy, The Dark Knight.
The follow-up featured a Gotham City backdrop, with reel symbols including Batman himself, villain Bane, and the enigmatic Catwoman.
Speaking at the launch in February, Roger Raatgever, CEO of Microgaming, said: “The success of The Dark Knight video slot game has shown the passion that slots fans have for the action and adventure of one of the world’s best-known superheroes.”
Iron Man 3
While cinema fans had to wait the best part of a year for The Dark Knight Rises to launch in online slot form, Iron Man 3 was launched by Playtech within weeks of the film’s premiere.
One of the first online casinos to feature the game was William Hill, who have always been quick off the mark when adding new titles to their offering.
The game comes with an impressive array of scatter symbols, including the Mark 42 suit, Iron Patriot and War Machine, all of which can trigger respins for the chance of a 5-10x return on the original stake.
And the Iron Man 3 logo can also trigger free spins, with the chance again to win extra amounts with wilds and multipliers applied too.
It’s 16 years since South Park was first broadcast on television, bringing its not-so-innocent combination of animated schoolchildren and shocking humour to a global audience.
The South Park game was previewed at the ICE Totally Gaming Conference in London back in February, and was the brainchild of Swedish software developers Net Entertainment.
Company CEO Per Eriksson said he was “truly proud” to be tasked with transforming a global cult phenomenon into an online slots title.
He added that the title was the biggest Net Entertainment had ever handled – and with new episodes of South Park still appearing on Comedy Central each week after 16 years, it’s hard to argue with his assessment of the scale of the project.
The launch of the Playboy online slot by Microgaming might seem a little risque for a brand famous for its centrefolds and bunny girls – although online gambling is, of course, an adults-only business anyway.
But significantly, Microgaming stressed that the new slots title is for all adults, and not only for men, with hand-drawn graphics rather than photographs of scantily clad women.
The soundtrack was composed especially not only to accompany the game, but also to try and convey some of the brand identity and heritage of the Playboy brand.
Microgaming CEO Roger Raatgever called the slot “a knockout”, and with plenty of the most popular features of modern-day online slots, Playboy has good credentials.
They include scatter symbols to trigger free spins, and progressive features which unlock further bonuses each time the bonus round is reached.
Best of the Rest
Other noteworthy launches of the year in brief:
July: Ladbrokes launched a selection of Playtech slots titles under their newly created Ladbrokes Vegas brand, which appeared as a new tab on the Ladbrokes website.
Although the games themselves might not have been new, it’s still significant to see one of the UK’s biggest betting brands entering the online slots space.
August: Almost immediately, InterCasino also added several new slots titles to their selection, including the hugely popular Marvel’s The Avengers.
October: Bet365 Casino added Spider-Man: Attack of the Green Goblin, a five-reel, 25-line online slot with wagers ranging from 25p to a hefty £125 per spin.
This cross between a conventional online slot and an arcade game includes a feature that pitches Spider-Man and the Green Goblin against one another in combat, with cash payouts for each hit successfully landed by the hero.
October: In a particularly busy month, William Hill also added a noteworthy new game to its collection, this time in the form of Amazon Wild.
Most interesting here is the number of paylines – reaching into three figures at 100 different ways to win – making this a member of an elite group of online slots titles.