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Gaming In Veeegaaas!

The Star Trek slot machine in Vegas gets me thinking about the arcade renaissance.

You know, if there's one thing that bothered me about this Vegas trip -- let alone the gratuitous money-sucking -- it's that I couldn't get some free wi-fi in my room. You would think that having a room in a posh hotel would score you some free internet connection of some kind, but nooo. You either have to pay $10 to the hotel, or go to the nearest coffee place (in the hotel) for free wi-fi. Does that make any sense?

Anyway...

I'm kind of a sucker for slot machines, especially those with tie-ins: Monopoly, Star Wars, Alien, Wheel of Fortune, etc. The real appeal for me is the "bonus" stuff that these machines come with. Nothing gives you a better illusion of winning than some animated bonus round. At least you know you might break even at that point.

I found a new game on this trip, Star Trek, and I figured I'd write about it. The interesting twist with this machine is that there was a storyline; While it took away your money, it took you on an adventure! In order to unlock the acts of the story, you had to collect medals, which is no easy (or cheap) task. If you run out of money *cough* there's an option to save your place, which is a pretty nifty thing. It reminded me of the password days. Ah, the days before storage...

"Playing" Star Trek made me think about the future of slot gambling. Will the video arcade have a renaissance in Vegas?

I'm not talking about those video poker dealies; I think there's a glut of gambling simulators out there already. I'm talking about stuff like Battlezone, or Street Fighter, or Gauntlet. You know, classics with a twist; Instead of pay for play, you play for pay (ooh, that's catchy!).

Maybe the Star Trek slot machine is an indication that someone out there in Vegasland is thinking about us gamers and is creating an experience just for us...while making a tidy profit in the process, of course. Heck, if I spent my childhood plugging quarters in a machine for nothing, getting money back would be a welcome twist.

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