The Myriad Symbols of a Slot Machines: Wilds, Scatters, Bonuses and Multipliers.
Slot machines are quite frankly the most enigmatic gambling amusements of all time. Since the invention of the computer chip, they have become utterly unpredictable, witnessing exponential growth in prize value, graphic quality, thematic exhibition and features.
In the old days, special symbols were limited to wilds. Landing a wild symbol meant a higher chance of a payout, but little else. In modern times, technology and creativity have merged to deliver the most exciting, feature-rich and symbolic slot machines ever imagined.
The Myriad Symbols of a Slot Machine
In the most general of regards, there are two types of symbols on a slot machine – standard symbols and special symbols. The standard ones are often a small assortment of thematic images, followed by an equally small mixture of generic, low-paying symbols – usually related to playing cards (A, K, Q, J, or maybe hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades).
The special symbols are the ones that cause more interesting things to occur. They might help create winning combinations, pay higher prizes for wins, pay instant credits, or trigger extra features like second-screen bonus games and free spins.
Special slot machine symbols can divided into at least one of four categories.
A wild symbol is the most basic type of special symbol. Most of you can guess their function. They take the place of any other standard symbols (not special symbols) to assist in the creation of winning combinations.
Where wilds are concerned, only the highest possible winning combination is paid. For example, if a wild sits in a position where it could line up four bells on a line, or three cherries on another line, it’s only going to pay out for the higher value bells, not the cherries.
Multipliers are special slot machine symbols that multiply the value of any winning combination they appear in, or any combination that appears on the same spin. A 2x multiplier, for instance, pays double the standard payout for a win.
Multipliers are rarely their own symbol. They are usually part of another symbol, such as wilds. A wild multiplier can mean that all wins involving wild will receive a multiplied payout. Sometimes, creators install standard or special symbols that can randomly appear with a multiplier attached. In this case, you’ll see the multiplier (2x, 3x, 5x, etc) displayed directly on the symbol.
Scatter symbols are a favorite among slots creators, as well as players. Their original purpose was to deliver what’s known as “scatter pays”. So long as enough of these symbols appear scattered about anywhere on the screen—not necessarily on an active payline—the player receives a payout. More often than not, scatters are also bonus symbols…
A bonus symbol is one that triggers a special feature. Free spins and pick’em bonuses are the most common. The usual set-up is to require 3 or more scatters to trigger the bonus. In the case of free spins, the more scatters that appear, the more free games you’ll probably get. For example, 3, 4 or 5 scatters might award 5, 10 or 20 free spins respectively.
As I said, scatters and bonus symbols tend to go hand in hand. A bonus symbol might trigger a feature, and deliver scatter pays at the same time. Being associated with lucrative features, out of all the symbols of a slot machine, bonus symbols are the ones you’ll want to land the most of.