Gambling and Graphics: The Visual Identity of Online Slots
- January 03
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When it comes to debate and discussions regarding graphic design, it is not often that attention tends to turn to the world of online casinos. However, when research states that 29% of the gambling market in the UK is based on online services, there is surely a reason to consider the visual appeal of this phenomenon.
Much has been said in the past about the influencers behind the design in offline slots and it is interesting to note that the move to online has not specifically affected their general graphic design. The style of games at online casino sites still very much reflect the traditional feel of the games you see in amusements, casinos or bars up and down the country.
No doubt this is completely deliberate, with the striking colors and cartoon-like imagery creating an air of familiarity which is used to ensure that players both young and old recognize the games as similar to those they have played away from their tablets or laptops.
In many ways, the graphic style of such games is not about reflecting any type of cool imagery. It is meant to be slot gaming in the classic, traditional sense – gaudy, bright and unashamedly proud of it. There is also clearly a desire to create a strong audiovisual identity in such games, as an effort is made to ensure that specific games can be differentiated from others.
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For example, among the slot games available at 32Red is the ever-popular Mega Moolah, which pushes its safari theme to the limit with the chirping crickets and tweeting birds supporting the general wildlife imagery used throughout the game. However this is in stark contrast to its sister game Mega Moolah Isis and its focus on ancient Egyptian imagery including hieroglyphics, mummeries and dramatic, mysterious music. All of this combines to create a clear atmosphere which takes the game beyond simply clicking a few buttons. 32Red actually offers as many as four variants of the Mega Moolah game in order to cater to diverse tastes.
TV Franchise Inspiration
While designers may have a job on their hands to create a truly original feel to many games, in some cases the hard work of a concept has already been done for them. The use of official licenses means many major movie and TV franchises have slot games online, including Tomb Raider, Hitman and even Game of Thrones.
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The latter embraces the concept of the hit TV show in a number of ways, with gaming options reflecting several of the famous houses which do battle in the series and the general medieval look and feel being reminiscent of the striking design used within the show. The benefits of this are twofold: not only does this give the game its own unique style, but it also is an important step towards attracting fans of the show and the accompanying books to play the title.
This is a similar approach to other titles such as Hitman, Tomb Raider and Hellboy and the effort to incorporate the feel of their individual brands. Games including Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, which were both created by Microgaming, even take this idea a step further by incorporating actual imagery from the film – including pictures of the actors – into the game.
However, an official license isn’t everything. Slots gaming in general is an area where clever design work can bring an air of familiarity to games even if they are not specifically linked to certain types of media. Examples of this include Agent Jane Blonde, which can be found on Roxy Palace and has a certain action-packed spy feel to it. Similarly Thunderstruck II’s use of imagery including a hammer-wielding Norse warrior certainly seems like something you have seen elsewhere.
Keeping up with the Tradition of Flashy Visuals
All in all, the graphic design used within slot games online is a fascinating area worthy of further exploration. The clever use of different styles creates an individual feel for games which makes them stand out from other titles.
While the gaudy visuals and bright colors may mark this area out as one which isn’t home to sleek and cool design, slot games both online and offline remain incredibly popular and the important role that visual aesthetic plays in this cannot be underestimated. Perhaps this is an area which designers will pay a lot more attention to in the years to come.
Khalid Janjua is a business owner and entrepreneur from Manchester, United Kingdom. Khalid is currently working on Saturn-Tec, a website which provides design & cheap web solutions. Follow Khalid on Twitter: @hybridlava. Follow the development of @saturntec.