Slot Machines: What are they?
question. Not a bad place to come to have it answered either.
Well lets start basically. We have a machine, we have a slot
on the machine for accepting currency, which is of course
the second most important spot on the machine, and from the
proprietors point of view the most important. So naturally,
we put the two together and pow, the machine slot was born.
Name was readjusted a few years later when someone said it
sounds better to say slot machine. Maybe I made that bit up.
I know what you're all wondering, if the slot's the second
most important part of the machine, what's the first? Don't
ask questions you already know the answer to, mAn! The reels
are the most important part, that's what defines if we're
a winner or a big L.
Alright, so we've got our component list down, we've got
machinery, we've got a slot, we've got reels. Put 'em all
together we got a slot machine. Slots were the first gambling
device that mechanically accepted and disseminated wins and
losses without making mistakes, no room for human error, the
model of the 21st century. Popularity of course, has been
driven away from games which rely on face to face competition
or dealer/player rivalry. This is not insignificant, as it
reflects an American way of life, moving away from face to
face, and towards electronically presented entertainment.
It mirrors our societies embrace of television as a one-way
medium. Sad really, but at least you don't have to sit beside
a big smelly cigar toting Texan. Hey no offence to Texans
out there, you guys got some damn fine karate choppin' rangers.
Back to what we were discussing, well now I don't want to
cross over too much with my section on slot machine history,
but life is one big crossover, so get used to it. No, really,
it is one big crossover, but I won't bore you with my metaphysics
of life. Lets get to the meat. Essential, slot machines are
a cabinet housing containing three or more narrow cylindrical
drums, commonly called reels, which are marked with symbols.
Vertically disposed on a common axis (they all share one rod
of metal to spin around), the reels are caused to revolve
freely when a player activates the machine and pulls a lever-like
handle affixed in the side of the cabinet. Payoffs are handled
instantly, based on the horizontal alignment of symbols after
the reels come to rest.
There ya go, a formal definition. Truly understanding what
the machines are on the other hand, requires a much broader
sweep of the mind. When I think about what a slot machine
is, I can't escape the symbolism inherent in its existence.
You can't take the slot machine out of the context of gambling,
and silly old me I think too much about the world I live in,
America is a gambling town if there ever was one. You can't
take the slot machine out of America, and you can't take America
out of the slot machine.
Read on to my next section: Online
slot machines, the new bandits
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