The Origins of Oz Back to all articles

The Wizard of Oz is one of our favorite movies, and we’re always excited to start a new slot game based on it. We enjoy making The Wizard of Oz games as much as you enjoy playing them!

When we began the Journey to Oz™ game, we knew the base themes (the King of the Forest™ and Wild Poppies™ games) would be 1024 way with the potential for some pretty big payoffs. Quite a few times we won jackpots over $1,200 while playing in our lab. That would be fake money, Mr. IRS (alas).

Connecting a bank of these base games would be a collaborative Big Event® bonus, where every eligible player shares the total won (multiplied by their individual multiplier). Each player would also take turns picking, and that picking would affect the outcome of the bonus for all players.

This is used to great effect in the Dorothy™ free spins bonus, where before each spin a randomly selected player gets to make a pick to enhance the spin. If you pick Glinda™, she’ll appear in her bubble to award 1 to 5 WILD reels for that spin – just like Glinda in our other Wizard of Oz games. (As a wink to the observant players, we used the same symbols from our first Wizard of Oz game as a nostalgia throwback.)

But when we started, our Journey to Oz game was different. I can’t reveal too much because we’re likely to use the ideas in future games, but suffice to say our first pass had more bonuses and one big bonus with backdoors into the smaller bonuses.

Not all of our ideas were good, however.

Before we begin a game, we first take it to our brain trust to get it greenlit. Preparing for the greenlight, we lock ourselves away at a coffee shop for days and dream up as many ideas as possible, then whittle them down to not only what we think are the best ideas but also what’s feasible within the time we’re given.

A favorite quote of mine is from Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, who said, “Make no small plans.” We definitely like to dream big.

But sometimes while brainstorming, we can be led astray before finally coming around to the heart of the idea.

Such was the case with the Cowardly Lion™ bonus.

When the Big Wheel spins and lands on the Cowardly Lion, you enter his bonus.

In the game as it‘s now in casinos, the Cowardly Lion has run off into the woods. Your job is to help him find courage via medals hidden behind bushes. For every bush selected, you get credits. Every medal found will later multiply the credits of a random bush that you’ve already selected.

How the bonus was originally conceived was with a Scare-o-meter that involved Toto™. The Cowardly Lion is afraid of his own shadow, and our idea involved finding Toto who would grab the Cowardly Lion’s tail to scare him.

The more he was scared, the more credits you’d win. As indicated by the meter.

It’s certainly clear now what was wrong, because why would we want to frighten our beloved Cowardly Lion even further, much less profit by winning credits off his fragile emotional state? We enjoyed the sight of Toto pulling the Cowardly Lion’s tail so much that we couldn’t see the, uh, forest through the trees.

So we reversed it and gave the player a sense of empowerment by helping the Cowardly Lion find a way out of being scared. Almost like a certain Wizard might do, hmmm …

We all liked that much better and the bonus clicked together.

But one day we’ll have Toto pulling the Cowardly Lion’s tail. Just in a different context. And maybe after one too many cappuccinos

THE WIZARD OF OZ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Turner Entertainment Co. (s12) Judy Garland as Dorothy from THE WIZARD OF OZ. (s12)


Posted at 4:18 p.m. on February 2, 2012

I love the wms oz series. I have played them all with the original being my favorite. However journey to oz was a very fun play in vegas where I played for the first time. I am looking forward to my local casino to get it! If you ever need any help with ideas I would love to help. I am an avid wizard of oz fan and own autographs of almost every character from the 1939 classic! Keep up the good work WMS!!!

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Posted at 4:48 p.m. on February 2, 2012

Hey realgrub:

I really like the idea of the 1024 games. I hope WMS decides to release more of these! Indeed, this community game packs in all the best goodies (just shy of the kitchen sink)!

Speaking of the Cowardly Lion ... I wonder if some of the beloved characters from the movie deserve their own machine? I bet WMS could work some of their magic!!

A beautiful job on these colorful game. It should be very successful for you!

/\/\/\/\ the Shamus /\/\/\/\



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Posted at 5:20 p.m. on February 2, 2012

Journey to Oz is a great community game. I have played it and can say that the bonus was triggering like crazy. Almost all the bonuses I experienced ended up being the free spins or the Tin Man bonus, but now that I know more about the Cowardly Lion bonus, I can't wait to play again! Keep working your magic and give us more Oz games!!!



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Posted at 5:25 p.m. on February 2, 2012

I'll have to look for it next time I'm in Vegas, which won't be until late April. Everyone talks about it and how much fun it is, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet! So not fair!



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Posted at 3:25 p.m. on February 3, 2012

Hi realgrub,

Thanks for the insight into the game. I'm an Oz gaming fan who likes (so far) Ruby Slippers the best of the rest. Have not had the chance to play this one yet, but will do so in Vegas on my next visit. Everything I've seen and heard so far about the game has been positive, so I'm looking forward to trying it. Maybe next time for Toto and the tail/site_media/images/emoticons/smile




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Posted at 5:15 a.m. on February 4, 2012

Will you please hire me.



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Posted at 9:40 a.m. on February 6, 2012

You did a GREAT job on The Wizard of Oz, I would like to see you do a slot machine with Willy Wonka and the Oompas!!!

Posted at 12:05 p.m. on February 6, 2012

The willie wonka thing would be super!!! Just make sure it is the original 70's movie not the depp version!



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Posted at 4:50 a.m. on February 11, 2012

I love all the oz machines and look forward to them next week. The original was such a new concept and my chair vibrating before glinda appeared was an unexpected laugh. Keep up the good work



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Posted at 2:03 a.m. on February 21, 2012

Looking forward to trying this out!



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Posted at 10:44 p.m. on February 26, 2012

I am definitely looking forward to playing this OZ game!



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Posted at 11:01 p.m. on March 2, 2012

Looking forward to this game...I can't wait until it makes it to my local casino!



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Posted at 9:48 p.m. on March 8, 2012

I love this game! Thank you so much for talking about the Cowardly Lion bonus.



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Posted at 2:50 p.m. on March 10, 2012

Looking forward to this game also. I love the Oz!



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Posted at 11:37 a.m. on April 27, 2012

Looking forward to coming to Vegas in May!



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Posted at 8:22 a.m. on April 29, 2012

I played this game the other day and found it to be very enjoyable, going back today to give it another try, wish me luck!



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Posted at 10:15 a.m. on May 9, 2012

Love, love, love ALL the Wizard of Oz games at Mohegan Sun - Conn. The "wizards" behind these graphics and sound designs are the BEST!! Very entertaining and so many twists and turns keep you involved... no boredom here!!! Thanks so much for the fun!!



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Posted at 1:48 a.m. on May 15, 2012

I really loved this game. They had it at Isle of Capri in Black Hawk Colorado for a very short time and then pulled it out of the Casino. I was sad to see it go, but really enjoyed it when it was here. Keep doing a great job with the series!!



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Posted at 10:52 p.m. on June 12, 2012

lord of the rings remain my fav so far



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Posted at 7:17 p.m. on June 14, 2012

Great game fun bonus rounds! Like how everyone can play bonus round together!



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Posted at 12:29 p.m. on June 15, 2012

I'd love it if this game was at my nearest casino (Harrah's Cherokee)! It's not yet...



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Posted at 2:09 a.m. on May 16, 2013

I actually enjoyed this game. It was fun to play.

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Date: Mon Jun 24 11:06:48 CDT 2013