LAS VEGAS -- There were plenty of reasons to stop by the massive International Game Technology (IGT) "booth" at last week's Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, not the least of which was the chance to win $1 million via a free spin on a Megaslot machine.
Aside from that life-changing incentive, there was also the rare opportunity to test ride some of the company's new slot games that won't hit casino floors until 2016, the themes of which are quite familiar to fans of modern-day blockbuster TV shows.
In collaboration with Warner Bros., IGT – which merged with GTECH, the world's largest lottery-systems provider, earlier this year – has created an interactive TMZ video slot that uses "never-before-seen photo booth technology."
Harvey Levin of TMZ fame was on hand at G2E in Las Vegas last week to demonstrate the network's new slot machine.
TMZ, the wildly popular celebrity news site perhaps best known for its TMZ Live
"guilty pleasure" show, reaches more than seven million viewers a month. So it was no surprise to see an immediate buzz and swarm of traffic at the IGT area when network founder and host of TMZ Live
, Harvey Levin, appeared to demonstrate the new slot.
The dude may be short in stature, but he's got as much drawing power as some of the celebrities he and his eclectic band of reporters cover on a daily basis.
The unique component of the new TMZ slot is that it makes you part of the action by asking if you'd like to take a selfie as soon as you sit down. If you stall, or try to fix your hair before the picture is taken, you're heckled by the voice of TMZ Live
, who shouts "C'mon, already! It's a slot machine, not a magazine cover!" Once your photo is taken, you choose a "look" – options range from dreadlocks to party hats to glitzy outfits – and your face appears on the screen in a newsroom next to all the regular characters from the show. Then it's game on.
"It's a tour of all the pop culture spots and all the people we have made famous over the last 10 years," Levin explained to a large throng of media, adding that TMZ "without a doubt" has made people like Kim Kardashian "famous." "It's almost like a tour bus where you traverse Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and there are games where you project yourself as a celebrity and go through all the trials and tribulations that it brings."
According to IGT, Levin played an "integral role" in the game's creation by contributing original voiceover work, photography and creative input.
IGT also partnered with Lionsgate, a "next generation" global content leader, to unveil on its social gaming mobile desktop website a game inspired by the hit comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black
. It marks the first time IGT has launched a marquee licensed brand on the company's DoubleDown Casino app concurrently with the debut of a land-based casino version of the game.
One of the new slot machines unveiled by IGT in Las Vegas last week was based on the Netflix hit show "Orange is the New Black."
"Lionsgate has created some of the greatest entertainment brands in the world," said IGT Senior Vice President and DoubleDown Casino General Manager Joe Sigrist in a statement. "Each of the games captures the essence of this blockbuster series in unique ways that fans will appreciate, and the launch of the DoubleDown Casino social version is designed to reach the massive fan base that watches the show on desktop and mobile devices."
Based on the true story of Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black
is the most-watched series on Netflix and follows the adventures of a female prison inmate. The slot game resides on a 55-inch screen, and players experience clips, music, other characters and sound bites from the show.
Lead actress Taylor Schilling's character is featured prominently in the game, and IGT had a look-alike on hand – decked out in orange prison garb – to demonstrate the five-reel, 30-payline game, which offers up to 15 free spins and the opportunity to receive a 2x to 10x multiplier. It also has two bonus features with four character-driven bonus rounds, including Crazy Eyes' Wild, Alex's More Symbols, Mendoza's Double Game and Piper's ALL FEATURES!, which combines all characters' bonus rounds together.
Just behind the Orange Is the New Black
area was a sizable section featuring new Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond 3D
slots. Wheel of Fortune
is the most successful slot theme of all time and, in all, IGT introduced six new 3-D titles at the show, nearly doubling the existing portfolio. Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond 3D
features a striking design with two cameras that sync with the players' eyes and can manipulate the intensity of the graphics.
Other 3-D games on display included Plants vs. Zombies, Ancient Egypt, Cash Fever, Reef of Riches, Return of the Sphinx, and Grit, Guns and Gold, which were displayed amidst other TV-themed new games such as Breaking Bad
, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
and House of Cards