WMS designer MrMonopoly visits the Player's Life blog to answer the question: after creating the most ambitious game in WMS history, what do you do for an encore?
Most players — and all of the designers at WMS — have a favorite Monopoly Slot game. Given its long history of success, it’s hard not to find at least one Monopoly game that you cherish above all others.
The slot player in me still loves the original Once Around: the simplicity of the game, and the way it made me feel that I was really playing Monopoly, capturing the experience perfectly. A close second, however, would have to be the first Monopoly Big Event game, which debuted just a few years ago. Even though it was a 180-degree turn from the original Once Around game in terms of depth and size, it still managed to capture that “Monopoly feeling” for me all over again. Adding the Community aspect and allowing me to re-live the Once Around bonus with other players added a whole new level of excitement to a feature I already loved.
Monopoly Big Event was one the most ambitious games in WMS history — but the sequel had to be even bigger. Bigger floor presence, bigger bonuses, with the potential for bigger wins. Embarking on such a task was not easy, considering the innovation and success of the first Big Event Monopoly game.
How do you make a bigger floor presence than the casino floor’s first-ever Community Gaming slot machine? We came up with two solutions.
Anyone who has visited Las Vegas long enough can probably remember the “Big Bertha” machines that used to sit at just about every casino entrance. These mammoth slot machines always drew a crowd whenever anyone dropped in a few dollar coins. These were the inspiration for the new Bigger Event triggering mechanism. We wanted to capture the “Bertha” experience of the past, while also giving the players more chances at triggering the Bigger Event. Mr. Monopoly will spin his own “Big Bertha,” 45 seconds on average, triggering bonuses or awarding wins.
The second solution was to make the entire experience bigger by adding an additional screen for dual wide screen displays, perfect for Collaborative Gaming play. I’m still impressed when I trigger the Play the Board bonus, even after months of development and play testing — an entire side of the Monopoly board, rendered in full 3D, spans two giant widescreen displays.
Creating bigger bonuses was quite an undertaking when compared to the original Big Event game. After all, how do you create a bigger experience without just relying on more screens? That’s where Collaborative Gaming popped into my head.
As a casino game designer, it’s always been a dream of mine to create a slot machine with real, meaningful interaction between players. A game where players can share their luck with others and have other players’ good fortune shared with them. Rather than sitting and watching the bonus play out across the top screen, all players in the bonus can now take turns interacting with the different bonuses for shared wins. I think this brings a real feeling of community and accomplishment, where players can say, “I’m the one who made everyone win.”
We recently completed the game’s first installation at the Venetian. Watching a full bank of players working together and winning together is a thrilling experience for me. Since Monopoly Bigger Event was the first Collaborative Gaming slot game, I had fears that some players would just not “get it,” or even worse, not like it. Luckily, the players I saw not only understood it, but seemed to enjoy the experience as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Offering the potential for bigger wins was quite a challenge as well. The first Big Event Monopoly was a well-designed game that offered players plenty of chance for big wins. I thought, “We should celebrate big wins in the base games by creating the potential for bigger wins in the Collaborative Gaming Bigger Event bonuses,” and the Bigger Event booster was born.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to play the game yet, every four dollars won (in the penny version) in the base game awards a 3X Bigger Event Multiplier Boost. The boosters overlap, meaning the bigger the win, the bigger the Multiplier Boost. While playing the game before commercial release, I’d seen the Bigger Event multiplier jump to the triple digits on several occasions. Imagine triggering the Bigger Event with a 100X multiplier!
Having worked on a few Monopoly games in the past (Monopoly Wild Dice and Monopoly Advance to Boardwalk) and playing all the past versions, I’m amazed by how the brand manages to keep offering fresh ways to offer the player new and exciting places to take Mr. Monopoly. As players, we’ve seen him party on a locomotive, manage his own hotel, ride a roller coaster and even travel through space. As long as players keep enjoying Monopoly games as much as we enjoy making them, I’m sure we’ll see Mr. Monopoly in even bigger experiences and wilder places in the years to come.
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