The Japanese gaming giant Nintendo is responsible for some of the most iconic games and characters in history, games that have gone on to influence global culture, media, fashion and music on a scale that no other games have been able to do before or since. You don't have to be a lifelong Nintendo fan to be able to instantly recognize the cheery chiptune beats of Mario 64 or the instantly recognizable race course of Mario Kart such as Rainbow Road. Even iconic pioneer games such as Tetris belong under the Nintendo banner.
Part of what makes Nintendo games so successful is their powerful and widely recognizable brand appeal, which is why the iconography of their most beloved games and characters has been replicated across just about every medium you can possibly think of. This happens to also include slot games, which have long been adept at capitalizing on popular existing games to appeal to a wide array of fans worldwide. Nintendo has produced many seriously fun slot machine games of their own over the years. Nintendo-based slot games have earned their way into the annals of the most enduring and endlessly replayable gaming experiences in history. Here are five of the very best.
1. Hot Slots
When choosing the best, it's right to start at the very beginning. Hot Slots was a 1991 release for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) which allowed the players to enjoy all of the heart-pounding excitement of the slot machine experience from the comfort of their own homes for the first time in history. To begin each game, the player must select one of three slots on offer from a fairly simple (by modern standards) gaming format; "Cutie Bunny", "Juicy Fruits" or "Las Vegas", before then going on to rack up medallions with each lucky pull, with the eventual goal of bagging the mega jackpot.
The game was no stranger to controversy when it first came out, with the pixelated 2D graphics generating scantily clad women to adorn each slot game experience. It is these memorable and rather cheesy graphics which has allowed Hot Slots to gather something of a cult following among hardcore gaming fans, and the original copies are still eagerly sought out by collectors to this day.
2. Vegas Stakes
Another classic gaming experience right here. Vegas Stakes was another NES release, this time bringing an element of an in-depth plot to the slot machine experience, not unlike the experience that can be had with a modern-day collection of online slots. As the protagonist in Vegas Stakes, you arrive in Las Vegas (where else?) with $1000 in your pocket and strict instructions to strike it rich out in the desert. The player must utilize their skill to play through a series of progressively challenging slots, poker, and blackjack games, before facing off against the casino boss in a winner-takes-all battle of luck and skill.
3. Slot Machine (Mario Party)
The Nintendo 64 release Mario Party was and remains one of the most famous Mario games ever made. The premise of the game is that you choose to be one of six iconic Mario characters, such as Donkey Kong or Princess Peach, and play through an adventure in the form of a gaming board, collecting stars and progressing to the top in a fun, quirky and addictive gameplay mode that can be enjoyed with other players. What set Mario Party apart from other games, however, was the minigame feature that followed each level. These ranged from the "talking parrot", "the sound lever" and the "mushroom shop", all taking place on minigame island. The best of these was undoubtedly the "slot machine" minigame, in which your character had to hit a block with a mallet in order to strike up three matching images. No jackpot meant no progression at all - pretty harsh.
4. Slot Machine Barrel (Donkey Kong Returns)
In another example of a minigame that arguably ended up becoming more memorable than the main game itself, "slot machine barrel" in Donkey Kong Returns was able to demonstrate the hugely diverse gaming experience that can be enjoyed with a simple slot machine model. In it, your character uses the Wii controller to hit a barrel which sets the slots rolling. If you use your dexterity to hit it the right way, you receive bountiful prizes such as life balloons and banana coins. If not, you lose out. Definitely the most physical slot experience out there.
5. Fantasy Slots
A solely Nintendo DS release, Fantasy Slots is one that seems purely designed for the true die-hard fans of slot machine gaming. The premise is simple; simply flick the stylus to get the Vegas-themed slots going and try to win the jackpot. The winnings you get can be used to decorate and upgrade your virtual Las Vegas VIP suite, allowing you to truly enjoy the high roller experience.
The thing that stands out about these releases is the creativity Nintendo exhibits by consistently bringing out titles that bring a uniquely Nintendo spin to just about any gaming experience, which is what makes them so successful.