Retro games can often evoke a sense of nostalgia and childhood memories for slot players, which is why Lukas Hrabinsky, head of development for online games at Synot Games, believes that an old-school design was an obvious choice for the supplier’s Pixel Reels title.
But can games which are reminiscent of a time gone by appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy demographic? For Hrabinsky, this was a resounding yes.
He said: “We wanted to capture the look and feel of old pixel games, and at the same time include mechanics used throughout the gaming industry of that era. To put it another way, we wanted to include an interesting feature and the simplicity of pixel graphics allowed us to do just that. In the end it came together beautifully. We wanted to go beyond what is considered standard slots.
“We ourselves grew up on games with pixel graphics, so we said why not try to go with something like that. The entertainment industry constantly revives the retro theme, so even gen Z-ers are already accustomed to the notion.”
During the game, the Expanding Wild, which is the blue spaceship, appears only during the Free Spins mode and lands on reels two, three and four. Once it substitutes a symbol it then expands to cover the whole reel.
Additionally, if one, two or three orange spaceships lands on reels two, three or four, the main feature is triggered. Each Spaceship will shoot 10 symbols on the corresponding reel, guaranteeing a win but they also collect Free Spins, Coins and Multipliers.
After the invasion is complete, the Free Spins round starts. The number of spins free and starting multiplier depends on the amount of symbols collected by the orange spaceship during the Invasion.
This ‘invade’ feature, Hrabinsky explained, offers a blend of gambling with simple game mechanics – something which he believes can elevate the player experience.
“We wanted to blend gambling with essentially simple game mechanics – flying a rocket through space and shooting at anything that moves,” he continued. “I think we accomplished that. But gambling is about the payouts. So the player gets to “invade” a bunch of symbols to configure the upcoming Free Spins, our highest paying feature.”
When it comes to narrowing down a particular theme for a game, Hrabinsky noted that slot developers should create titles which incorporate innovative techniques. He shared that this strategy can help keep titles like Pixel Reels at the forefront of players’ minds.
“Retro as a theme is always in. Even supermarkets use it as a marketable term! Many old things become timeless tokens of nostalgia and childhood memories. These are the aspects the industry should try to incorporate using innovative techniques – be it graphics, sound or making a memorable feature part of the gameplay, as we did.
“Anything can become a source of inspiration. It all depends on how you look at it. Different things were popular at different times. Pick the one that resonates with you and make it work within the slot realm.”