Little did Charles Fey realize what he was starting in 1895 when he invented what has become known as the first ever slot machine. Called the Liberty Bell, it had three reels with ten symbols on each and a 1 in 1000 chance of winning the 50 cent jackpot. Players who did were also rewarded by the sounding of the bell itself.
Fey may not have been able to predict just where his invention would lead but he soon became very aware that he had a major success on his hands. Within months of the first machines he was able to leave his job as an electrical engineer and set up production full time.
The actual technology of slot machines remained unchanged for many decades until the 1960s when, just like Bob Dylan, the slot machines went electric. Bally was the first company to introduce electromechanical machines, ushering in a quantum leap for the gaming industry. Suddenly there were so many more options available, from the ability to load up the machine with credits to creating diagonal or even zig-zag win lines. Holds and nudges also became common place along with themed machines, very much the pre-cursors of the ones we have today.
Another character who is perhaps just as significant in the history of the slot machine is William Redd. Redd worked for Bally for many years until the 1970s, when he left to set up his own company IGT, now the largest manufacturer of video slots in the world.
Redd was the first person to patent the Random Number Generator, a step which allowed the next great leap forward in the world of slots. The algorithm behind the RNG allowed slots to become video machines in which the reels became virtual and whose pay-outs could be far more accurately set and controlled.
But the real benefit was the arrival of the video element of the game. This allowed an almost infinite number of possibilities to become real from including animation, bonus video rounds and special effects on screen.
Naturally, playing a slot had suddenly become a far more immersive experience, as well as one that could be easily enjoyed in the burgeoning number of online casinos. It also completely changed the nature of slots design, making it more like video game development and including characters, plotlines and even games within games. In fact today, there’s great competition between video games and slots developers to attract the best talent.
Visit any online casino and you can see for yourself how wide and varied the themes of the slots are, ranging from blockbuster movie franchises to lucky leprechauns as well as many linked to sports events like the Olympics or the World Cup that may be happening at the time.
Looking to the future many are predicting that virtual reality will be the next big thing to hit the world of slots with players being able to enter the worlds that they are currently just able to see on screen – all a very far cry from a 50 cent jackpot with an added tinkling bell for excitement!
The NES Classic Edition Is Returning To Stores Next Month
Back in November 2016, Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition, a mini-sized version of the iconic NES console, which came loaded with 30 popular games from Nintendo’s past. The cost of reliving those nostalgic memories? A very reasonable $59.99.
The only problem? Nintendo drastically underestimated demand for the NES Classic Edition, and they were pretty much impossible to find, and many nostalgic fans like me never could get our hands on one, even after searching stores for over six months.
And then came the death blow, the announcement from Nintendo in April 2017 that they were discontinuing the NES Classic Edition, and that if you hadn’t got one by then, you were pretty much screwed.. or forced to pay $200+ for one on eBay.
Thankfully, it looks like Nintendo had a change of heart, recently announcing on Twitter that they will be re-releasing the NES Classic Edition, with the highly-coveted retro console returning to stores on June 29th. YAAAAASSSS!
The NES Classic Edition will cost $59.99 upon its return, just as it did when it launched in November 2016. The games included on the console will also stay the same.
Here’s the full list of the games that come loaded on the NES Classic Edition:
- Balloon Fight
- Bubble Bobble
- Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- Dr. Mario
- FINAL FANTASY
- Ghosts’N Goblins
- Ice Climber
- Kid Icarus
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Mario Bros.
- Mega Man 2
- Ninja Gaiden
- Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
- Super C
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Tecmo Bowl
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
As you can see, there’s a little something here for everyone: a nice mix of timeless favorites, cult classics and maybe even some games that you never got around to playing as a kid.
Needless to say, if you missed out on the NES Classic Edition the last time around, you’ll want to line up at the store come June 29th, as these are sure to sell out quickly!
Libratone’s TRACK+ Wireless Headphones Keep The Chaos Out And The Music In
When the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones were unveiled at CES earlier this year, I was intrigued by their Smart Noise Cancellation technology, which lets you control how much of the world you want to let in or out.
Now, active noise cancelling headphones are nothing new, and they’ve long been a must-have for frequent travelers like myself who want to “get away from it all” and just enjoy their tunes.
But Libratone has taken it a step further, with the TRACK+ offering 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation so you can control how much you hear of the world around you. You can even let Smart Mode do it for you automatically, adjusting based on your environment and activity.
When the TRACK+ detects movement like running or a workout, it will automatically allow in slightly more ambient noise so you’re aware of your surroundings. Because let’s face it, the last thing you want is to get hit by a car or bike because you couldn’t hear them coming!
Similarly, when you’re sitting still in a loud place (like an airplane or train), the earphones will cancel the maximum amount of outside noise so you can focus on the music and nothing else. And in that respect, they work incredibly well.. assuming you read the directions.
You see, during my first testing session, I wasn’t all that impressed with the TRACK+, as there was too much ambient noise coming through, even on the highest noise cancellation (-20dB) setting. The problem? The eartips weren’t forming a perfect seal with my ear. Once I switched to a larger eartip (four different sizes are provided), the difference was night and day, with the outside world completely disappearing.
Since then, I’ve taken the TRACK+ on a few flights, on a train ride to New York, and even into a crowded Starbucks. And in every case, they performed amazing well, allowing me to focus on my music, movies, podcasts, and such without being distracted by the outside noise.
Those planning on hitting the gym will be pleased to know that they have a splash-proof IPX4 rating, that the earbuds are sweat-proof, and the included sport fins allow you to run on the treadmill without concerns about them falling out. And thanks to the ANC, you can drown out those grunting meatheads and focus on what you’re there to do.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the Libratone TRACK+ Wireless Earphones, and I’d highly recommend them to anyone who’s looking to drown out some of the outside chaos. At $199, they’re not to cheapest option out there, but they’re well worth it. These wireless eadbuds offer high quality sound, 4 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, long battery life (8 hours), and a sleek, minimalist design. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Visit www.libratone.com to learn more about the TRACK+ earphones.
Amazon Key In-Car Delivery Lets Drivers Leave Packages In Your Car
Amazon wants to make sure that you get those packages in the most convenient way possible. They have their standard mail delivery, where they leave your packages on the doorstep and you hope that it’s still there when you get home.
Recently, they added a new offering to combat this problem, Amazon Key, which lets drivers enter your home and leave your packages there. But that introduced a whole lot of security concerns, because you’re letting a random delivery guy into your house unsupervised.
Now, Bezos and crew have introduced a new delivery option that’s pretty ingenious. It’s called Amazon Key In-Car Delivery, and as the name suggests, it allows Amazon to deliver their wares right into your car’s trunk. How crazy is that?!
Effective now, over seven million owners of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo vehicles in the United States can enjoy the convenience of having Amazon packages delivered inside of their vehicle using Amazon Key. There’s no extra cost for Amazon Prime members with an active OnStar / On Call account, and this service is currently available in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding areas. More cities will follow, if this proves to be a popular service.
So what do the car manufacturers get out of this? Simple. It’s added value to owning these car models. And one more reason for owners to keep paying for OnStar after the trial period ends. And Amazon gets to ship fast, having yet another option. Naturally, they hope that you order more and more often because of this.
With Amazon Key In-Car Delivery, packages can be delivered to a vehicle when it’s parked in any publicly accessible area, whether on the street, at your workplace surface parking lot or in your driveway. Delivery is available on tens of millions of items sold on Amazon.com. So most of the things that you order already. It works with Same Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping.
All you have to do is download the Amazon Key App and opt-in to link up your Amazon and OnStar accounts. Once that’s complete and the delivery location has been registered, you can shop on Amazon.com and select the “In-Car” delivery option at checkout.
Finally, a reason to be excited about some extra junk in your trunk. 🙂