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Video Games - Concepts and Latent Influences (Part 1)

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Dated: (March 1985) Pages: 1-9
W L Holmes
Date Published
9 pages
This article describes the slot machine and its evolution and considers its influence on video games.
Charles Fey first developed a marketable slot machine, 'the Liberty Bell,' in 1887; 'electronic' slot machines appeared in 1964. Ploys and diversions are incorporated into the design of slot machines to disguise their true purpose. For example, as early as 1902 some machines had 'skill stop,' 'future play,' or 'vending' features. Characteristically, a slot machine requires inserting a coin to put the device into play mode, which is activated by a lever, arm, or button. Once activated, reels or drums bearing several symbols rotate in a timed cycle. As a rule, the combination of symbols produced when the reels stop is purely by chance. Other features incorporated into the operational aspects of the slot machine, such as multiple coins, retention ratio, meters, and time of play are also identifying features. Many video devices share some of these characteristics. Many, for example, use a dual program concept: one incorporates the elements of a gambling device (consideration, chance, and reward); the other eliminates the 'reward' element by limiting the number of hands per coin/credit and awarding a fixed number of points instead. This concept is obviously designed to foil law enforcement efforts to investigate gambling violations. Ten references and two tables are included.


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