Maybe it's just me - pub machine questions

Racing Dog

Newbie member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Location
England
When I was young I used to play all sorts of mechanical games in the UK penny arcades. When I was older I would be a regular on the pub slot machine, when such machines were still a novel idea! Yeah I'm ancient. I still play vintage machines when the opportunity arises, but I haven't played the pub machines in decades. Why? Basically they just became too damn complicated. Being of a cautious nature I didn't fancy trying to figure out what the confusing array of lights was all about without some sort user guide, and you never get user guides. Why did I think that? Well if I'm learning I'm making mistakes and if I'm making mistakes I'm losing money. No thanks.

So is it just me? I think it may not be just me because I can sit in any one of several local pubs and whilst I'm there see absolutely no one play the machine! Presumably somebody plays these things, but I rarely see them. I was recently on a long week end at a holiday camp where there were five machines in the corridor between the main bar and the ballroom. In the entire weekend I saw nobody play any of them once, despite them being frequently in view. Given that when these machines first appeared in pubs the were so popular it was difficult to get a go on them what is different now to how it was?

I can think of two things. Firstly, because the potential individual payouts are now much higher relative to the stake, the machines must perforce payout less frequently which means the player is faced with long periods of losing mitigated by only the occasional minor payout. That is just tedious, boring and depressing, in other words a complete turn off.

The second is the percentage return. If one can play machines on line that payout 90% or more, and one can even play them on ones phone, why would anyone want to play a greedy 75% machine.

Where did it start to go wrong? Well the switch from electro-mechanical to electronic machines is pretty much the break point. That is also more or less the point where machines stopped being random. I never really understood that either. I mean, if you want a 75% machine, how incompetent do you have to be as a designer that you can't make the machine behave like that as a random chance machine? It is just about calculating the odds is it not? And if you've really designed a game that is too complicated for maths, are you also incapable of running several million computer simulations instead?

All of which leads me to a final question. There is plenty on the web with respect to vintage mechanical machines, which sometimes references early electro-mechanical machines; and there is plenty on the web about electronic machines. But I'm damned if I can find anything about the electro-mechanicals in general and I'm at an age where nostalgia has kicked in! Are there any such specific resources? I'm a bit old for ferreting through general forums looking for occasional threads, at this age one tends to be concerned about burning up the short time left!

Cheers.
 

trancemonkey

Ueber Meister
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Location
United Kingdom
Not entirely sure what you mean by the second to last paragraph. As someone who has designed an programmed multiple fruit machines and slots, I'm inquisitive as to why you think us game designers are incompetent....
 

Steviedoo

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Oct 30, 2015
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South
Not entirely sure what you mean by the second to last paragraph. As someone who has designed an programmed multiple fruit machines and slots, I'm inquisitive as to why you think us game designers are incompetent....

Do you really wanna ask someone who basically just said that machines stopped being random once they became electronic. And do we really wanna know the answer.
 

suchfun

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Mar 9, 2011
Location
canada
affiliates incoming,no one can ever get a thread in here without same people attacking and insinuating that your a moron for making a post,maybe its just the money train they gotta try to keep going,still to me seems rude
 
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trancemonkey

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Mar 29, 2013
Location
United Kingdom
affiliates incoming,no one can ever get a thread in here without same people attacking and insinuating that your a moron for making a post,maybe its just the money train they gotta try to keep going,still to me seems rude

Who is an affiliate?

And I don't believe anyone has said they are a moron for making the post. Merely asking for more information so that we can further the discussion. So I would keep your wild, ill-informed accusations to yourself.... im no shill.
 

Tirilej

Still a Lady
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Sweden
Who is an affiliate?

And I don't believe anyone has said they are a moron for making the post. Merely asking for more information so that we can further the discussion. So I would keep your wild, ill-informed accusations to yourself.... im no shill.

Read the guy's latest posts and you'll see why he is on a quest of trying to make you look bad :)
 

trancemonkey

Ueber Meister
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Location
United Kingdom
Read the guy's latest posts and you'll see why he is on a quest of trying to make you look bad :)

I know .. some people can't disagree or have a debate without resorting to anger or name calling or the rest. All I've ever tried to do is explain my side or the argument. No one HAS to agree, but the idea is to at least help them challenge their beliefs. If would appear suchfun is not willing to change their mind and would rather say I'm a liar without any proof.

Oh well... Hopefully they will calm down and stop the anger and vitriol. But if not, then there is not much we can do :(
 

slotter999

Dormant account
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Location
UK
@Racing Dog I think you are on the money in regards to stake => jackpot ratio and pitiful blocked wins. It just killed them entirely and make them unplayable or costing £100 plus to force. I still think £15 JP or maybe £25 was the golden era. Getting the satisfaction of JP without costing a fortune.

@trancemonkey from a production point of view I assume AWPs were harder to code than random slots? Maybe not compared against something like megaways but certainly much easier when compared to low tech slots I would imagine? What do you think?
 

Racing Dog

Newbie member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Location
England
I have an unfortunate habit of overstating the case, sorry (but it does get people's attention!).

What I meant was, slot machines, since their invention, have always made a profit. They did that by having the odds paid on random outcomes skewed in the operator's favour. So saying to the players, we are going to make it even worse for you by making the machine non-random, doesn't sound like a move which will encourage players to play. And players are not playing in pubs in the numbers they used to in the early days. As I said, I see machines, wherever I go, standing idle for long periods. That would never have happened (for any significant length of time) in the old days. As this situation has existed for many years, I must presume designers are doing nothing to reverse this trend.

Perhaps we go to different pubs, I can only go by what I see in the ones I go to.
 

dunover

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I have an unfortunate habit of overstating the case, sorry (but it does get people's attention!).

What I meant was, slot machines, since their invention, have always made a profit. They did that by having the odds paid on random outcomes skewed in the operator's favour. So saying to the players, we are going to make it even worse for you by making the machine non-random, doesn't sound like a move which will encourage players to play. And players are not playing in pubs in the numbers they used to in the early days. As I said, I see machines, wherever I go, standing idle for long periods. That would never have happened (for any significant length of time) in the old days. As this situation has existed for many years, I must presume designers are doing nothing to reverse this trend.

Perhaps we go to different pubs, I can only go by what I see in the ones I go to.


I've only skimmed this but as you're in the UK I can tell you that until the advent of randomized videoslots such as the FOBTs and cabinet games recently appearing with online versions, you've never played a 'random' electromechanical slot game in the UK. Until not long ago, mechanical slots in the UK were licensed and regulated by BACTA and were all compensated or had pseudo-random facets to features. This goes for your club machines, arcade and pub ones and still does unless playing one of the ones I mentioned earlier.

This is why most pub, arcade and club machines could be 'forced' or emptied by pro-players. I still cannot get past the fact this was ever allowed to develop here as it's almost anomalous to the UK.

Yes, the stakes and jackpots are now unrealistic and like you I cannot remember the last time I saw somebody play them in a pub or restaurant etc. Why play this garbage at 70-80-odd% when you can play random ones online? The only people whoever really liked them were addicts or people who believed they could win on them and indeed could if they watched previous compensation occurring before they went on them.

You're probably well advised to go to this thread here for some decent info:

My online slots videos (plus UK AWPs)
 

shadow123

Ueber Meister
MM
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Location
midlands
Think there is a little confusion about what an electromechanical slot is here, basically they used a bunch
of relays and the machine sequence was controlled by a programmer with a motor driven shaft with a load
of rotors and switches to control the reel stopping and payout sequences.The randomisation was achieved
by a unit with irregular rotor which stopped and started the main programmer motor in a semi random fashion.
I was designing these machines at bell fruit way back in the late seventies, the truly electronic machines were
just starting to appear about then.The early ones had no compensation,relying on the correct maths and symbol
combinations to give the required rtp the same way electromechanic machines did.Worked out pretty well
really , the rtp was never that far out.
 

trancemonkey

Ueber Meister
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Location
United Kingdom
@Racing Dog I think you are on the money in regards to stake => jackpot ratio and pitiful blocked wins. It just killed them entirely and make them unplayable or costing £100 plus to force. I still think £15 JP or maybe £25 was the golden era. Getting the satisfaction of JP without costing a fortune.

@trancemonkey from a production point of view I assume AWPs were harder to code than random slots? Maybe not compared against something like megaways but certainly much easier when compared to low tech slots I would imagine? What do you think?

Fruit machines are complex beasts because of the compensation element, as well as player interaction, game design, etc. You need to check things like "can I afford to give nudges twice if I spin to a nudge square on an 11 or 2 and I have an extra life"... they can be, and are, quite complicated. Especially as games are now far more complex. Arguably too complex - which might be why we don't see people play them as much. The fun has gone and now they are just a low RTP game of risk.
 

trancemonkey

Ueber Meister
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Location
United Kingdom
I have an unfortunate habit of overstating the case, sorry (but it does get people's attention!).

What I meant was, slot machines, since their invention, have always made a profit. They did that by having the odds paid on random outcomes skewed in the operator's favour. So saying to the players, we are going to make it even worse for you by making the machine non-random, doesn't sound like a move which will encourage players to play. And players are not playing in pubs in the numbers they used to in the early days. As I said, I see machines, wherever I go, standing idle for long periods. That would never have happened (for any significant length of time) in the old days. As this situation has existed for many years, I must presume designers are doing nothing to reverse this trend.

Perhaps we go to different pubs, I can only go by what I see in the ones I go to.

You simply couldn't make a "modern fruit machine" random. The old electro-mecahnical ones that WERE random had no features.
 

Casinomeister

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Staff member
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Jun 30, 1998
Location
Bierland
affiliates incoming,no one can ever get a thread in here without same people attacking and insinuating that your a moron for making a post,maybe its just the money train they gotta try to keep going,still to me seems rude
Yeah, keep up the troll-like posts and see what happens. The grown ups are trying to have a conversation here.
 

KasinoKing

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So is it just me? I think it may not be just me because I can sit in any one of several local pubs and whilst I'm there see absolutely no one play the machine! Presumably somebody plays these things, but I rarely see them. I was recently on a long week end at a holiday camp where there were five machines in the corridor between the main bar and the ballroom. In the entire weekend I saw nobody play any of them once, despite them being frequently in view. Given that when these machines first appeared in pubs the were so popular it was difficult to get a go on them what is different now to how it was?

I can think of two things. Firstly, because the potential individual payouts are now much higher relative to the stake, the machines must perforce payout less frequently which means the player is faced with long periods of losing mitigated by only the occasional minor payout. That is just tedious, boring and depressing, in other words a complete turn off.

The second is the percentage return. If one can play machines on line that payout 90% or more, and one can even play them on ones phone, why would anyone want to play a greedy 75% machine.
I was a self confessed fruity addict when I was younger (MUCH younger!) - nearly every week I would get paid (cash in those days!) and go straight to the arcades (I live in a seaside town) and blow half my wages.
Although I did reign it back a bit, I was still addicted for a good 15-20 years.

Two things lead to me stopping this habit:
First playing online took over - much easier, bigger win potential and of course MUCH higher RTPs.
Bit more importantly - all the fruit machines seemed to be clones of just 2 or 3 types - with most being Deal or no Deal clones.
Just not enough variety any more :(

KK
 

Racing Dog

Newbie member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Location
England
Maybe I was being too coy with my age, I was actually talking about late '60s early '70s when you either had no features at all or maybe just hold buttons. If you were really lucky you might also be allowed a small number of nudges once in a while.

To those above who said "too complicated" nowadays, yes thank you for that, you confirm one of my points. Perhaps that can be emphasised by asking what made the original penny arcades so successful? Most of you are too young, even the older ones! Basically it was instant "yay" or instant "aww", in other words immediate psychological feed back. What is good about the win sounds of a modern machine? All you get is some artificial sound stimulus and a tiny number counts up on a tiny display. The real positive feedback, coins rattling in the cup is delayed until much later. Actual coins in the cup as soon as you win is an unbeatable feedback.

I suppose I ought to also confess to having bought a brand new Fivewin style machine back in the summer! Now I'm really showing my age! lol

But we are straying from the main point which is why is nobody providing machines that pub patrons actually want to play? Pub clientele is not Arcade clientele, is not Casino clientele. Most people don't want to spend hours mastering a machine, but if putting a few coins in gives the fun of getting a few coins back, loads of casual players would start playing again.
 

shadow123

Ueber Meister
MM
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Location
midlands
I started playing around then with dire consequences i would rather not go into, never stopped me playing
though.I remember the ACE Monty Carlo machine coming out,revolutionary for its time but lethal to
service as everything was mains voltage including the reel mech, There was a case of someone
almost being electrocuted by the game start handle which somehow became live at mains voltage.

Disagree about the electromechanical machines being truely random,they were far from it,
but were ok for the time.As far as I know (shoot me down here),the best random generator is
based on white noise from a reverse biased diode which was incorporated into the pre processor
electronic machines.
 

snorky510238

Chief glockenspiel maker
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Location
Uk
Maybe I was being too coy with my age, I was actually talking about late '60s early '70s when you either had no features at all or maybe just hold buttons. If you were really lucky you might also be allowed a small number of nudges once in a while.

To those above who said "too complicated" nowadays, yes thank you for that, you confirm one of my points. Perhaps that can be emphasised by asking what made the original penny arcades so successful? Most of you are too young, even the older ones! Basically it was instant "yay" or instant "aww", in other words immediate psychological feed back. What is good about the win sounds of a modern machine? All you get is some artificial sound stimulus and a tiny number counts up on a tiny display. The real positive feedback, coins rattling in the cup is delayed until much later. Actual coins in the cup as soon as you win is an unbeatable feedback.

I suppose I ought to also confess to having bought a brand new Fivewin style machine back in the summer! Now I'm really showing my age! lol

But we are straying from the main point which is why is nobody providing machines that pub patrons actually want to play? Pub clientele is not Arcade clientele, is not Casino clientele. Most people don't want to spend hours mastering a machine, but if putting a few coins in gives the fun of getting a few coins back, loads of casual players would start playing again.
I don’t know much about it but what is the max jackpot allowed in a pub a £100 or something? And percentage payout? Gamblers are more educated nowadays. Back then that was your only choice take or leave it. Nowadays why would you pay 50p for a max cap of x200 win or whatever it is, when that same 50p can earn you say 100,000 x stake online. Pretty much the only people who play pub or chip shop slots are compulsive gamblers.
 

paul7388

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But we are straying from the main point which is why is nobody providing machines that pub patrons actually want to play? Pub clientele is not Arcade clientele, is not Casino clientele. Most people don't want to spend hours mastering a machine, but if putting a few coins in gives the fun of getting a few coins back, loads of casual players would start playing again.

Guess it comes down to most people are not interested in playing machines in pubs anymore. Sadly what you said is mainly the opposite now. Most people that did play machines in pubs now gamble online and use their phones for it.

I used to play machines in arcades. Used to enjoy putting a few quid in the machine in the pub. But once i started gambling online i just had no interest.

Do not play machines at all now. Actually decided to put a few quid in one on the ferry a few months back first time in many a year. After just a coupe of quid i was bored and just had no interest in playing. Guess people have moved on now and machines will die out eventually. Even have an arcade near where i stay. Years back it would have been full. These days you pass it and noone in it. If you went back to basic machines they would be even worse. People now want everything as fancy as they can get. Just some older people still like things that are basic. But even the old grannies are now playing bingo on phones and tablets lol.
 

shadow123

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Location
midlands
Not been an arcade for years, like you i just had a few plays and got bored,cant see where the fun was
now but thats all we had at the time
 
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