The $100,000 Pyramid Slot Machine
Technically there was only ever one show but it has been known by many different names because the top prize kept changing and the show moved around, while also changing hosts. The original showwas called “$10,000 Pyramid” and the “$100,000 Pyramid” was a much later incarnation. Two versions of the show were broadcast as “Pyramid” and “The Pyramid” before it returned as “$100,000Pyramid”. The show won 9 Daytime Emmy Awards for Best Game Show. Only “Jeopardy!” has won more to date.
The premise of the game is simple enough. Two contestants are paired with celebrities. The contestant-celebrity teams are challenged to guess a word based on clues. The words are taken froma single category chosen from among six categories. Each team has the option of passing a word to the other team, thus hoping to pass a loss to them if the second team cannot guess the word.
The object of this part of the game is to advance to the Winner’s Circle. Sometimes the teams may tie in scores and a tie-breaker round must be played. Some versions of the show use specialvariations, such as the “Mystery 7”, in which a category name is not provided to the contestants but for which they win an extra prize if they correctly guess all 7 words in the category.
The Winner’s Circle round uses shorter time frames and contestants are not permitted to use hand signals as in the first round. The object of the game is to correctly guess all the wordsin the pyramid, thus winning the top prize. A cash consolation prize is awarded based on the number of correctly guessed words.
International Game Technology (IGT) released the $100,000 Pyramid land-based slot machine game in 2004. It was an immediate success. The game was ported to online casinos in 2010. The rest ofthis article reviews the online version of the game.
The Game Rules
The $100,000 Pyramid is a 5 reel, 3 row video slot with 15 pay lines. All prizes are paid from left to right, except for Scatter wins, and prizes are calculated in credits times Line Bet, exceptScatters which pay in credits times Total Bet.
The game’s logo is its Wild symbol and it substitutes for all other symbols except the Scatter. Five Wild symbols on any pay line award a prize of 100,000 credits (not multiplied by Line Bet).Four of a kind pay 1000 times Line Bet, three of a kind pay 100 times Line Bet, and two of a kind pay 20 times Line Bet.
The Winner’s Circle symbol is the game’s Scatter. Three of more of these symbols in any position on the playing reels trigger the bonus round. Five Scatters pay 15 times your total bet. FourScatters pay 10 times your total bet. Three Scatters pay 5 times your total bet. Any multiplier you win in the game is also applied to this prize. See below for details of how the game is played.
There are nine other symbols in the game. Four of them are high or mid-value symbols and the remaining five are low value symbols.
- The Mystery 7 symbol
- Pays 1000 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 500 times Line Bet for four of a kind, 50 times Line Bet for three of a kind, and 3 times Line Bet for 2 of a kind.
- The Gold Bars symbol
- Pays 500 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 200 times Line Bet for four of a kind, 25 times Line Bet for three of a kind, and 2 times Line Bet for two of a kind.
- The Celebrity Star symbol
- Pays 500 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 100 times Line Bet for four of a kind, 25 times Line Bet for three of a kind, and 2 times Line Bet for two of a kind.
- The Contestants symbol
- Pays 500 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 100 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 20 times Line Bet for three of a kind.
- The low value symbols
- These are based on the usual “A”, “K”, “Q”, “J”, and “10” symbols borrowed from playing card decks but in this slot game they are imprinted with prize images.
- The “A” symbol
- This symbol is imprinted with a car and the symbol pays 250 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 50 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 15 times Line Bet for three of a kind.
- The “K” symbol
- This symbol is imprinted with a mimosa drink, representing a vacation. The symbol pays 250 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 50 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 15 times Line Bet forthree of a kind.
- The “Q” symbol
- This symbol is imprinted with a watch. This symbol pays 200 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 25 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 10 times Line Bet for three of a kind.
- The “J” symbol
- This symbol is imprinted with a large television set. This symbol pays 150 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 20 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 5 times Line Bet for three of a kind.
- The “10” symbol
- This symbol is imprinted with a camera. This symbol pays 150 times Line Bet for five of a kind, 20 times Line Bet for four of a kind, and 5 times Line Bet for three of a kind.
How to Play The $100,000 Pyramid Slot Machine
Except for the “Pays” button, which is located in the upper right hand corner of the screen, all of the game controls for the $100,000 Pyramid slot game are located on a single dashboard belowthe playing reels area. This makes the user interface simple and easy to master quickly. Some slot games place controls all around the playing reels, which can be distracting and confusing forsome players.
Buttons and Controls
- The “Pays” button activates the help screen system. All of the information you need to know about the various prizes is provided on the first screen. However, you can use the left and rightarrows at the bottom to navigate back and forth. If you click the right arrow while viewing the first screen all that happens is the information in the lower left hand corner, for the Scattersymbol, is replaced by a pay table. Click on the right arrow again and you are taken to a screen that shows all the pay lines. If you click left from this screen you’ll be taken back to thescreen with the Scatter pays. One more left click takes you back to the entry screen.
- The playing reels screen is outlined by colored triangles that denote the pay lines. Unfortunately these triangles do not go dark when their corresponding pay lines are deactivated so youneed to pay careful attention to the Lines widget on the control dashboard. The triangles are only used as anchor points for the colored lines that highlight the winning combinations thatappear after each spin.
- The Lines widget uses a Minus and Plus arrow button to cycle through the available options: 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15. It is not possible to activate individual pay lines. You must choose toactivate a cluster that includes smaller activated clusters.
- The Line Bet widget controls how much you wager per active pay line. Values range from 2.00 up to 50.00. This widget also uses Minus and Plus arrow buttons to adjust its value.
- The Total Bet window simply computes how much each spin costs you. If you play 15 lines at the maximum Line Bet of $50 you’ll be paying $750 per spin. Be mindful of that when you play thegame.
- The yellow Spin button sits in the middle of the dashboard. You use it to initiate one paid game, nothing more.
- The Win information window displays the total of the prizes you won from the last spin.
- The Balance information window displays how much money you have left to play the game. This could differ from your casino balance.
- The blue Auto Spin button activates a small menu from which you select how many games will be played for you: 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. The games are all played at the number of active paylines and Line Bet that you had set when you start the spins. The game deducts the amount of the Total Bet from your balance at the beginning of each spin. The auto spins continue until youclose the game, click on the “Stop” button (formerly the “Auto Spin” button), or if you win a bonus game. The auto spinning also stops if your available balance drops below the amount of theTotal Bet.
- The Wrench icon on the far right of the dashboard activates a small menu in which you can change the game’s graphical settings.
The Bonus Game
If you have seen the television show and know how the pyramid bonus is played, you will either be disappointed to know that this bonus game is much simpler or relieved to find out that it issimply a pick game.
The bonus begins when three or more Scatter symbols appear. You are taken to a screen with a pyramid composed of five decreasing lines of triangles. All five triangles on the bottom row arelit up. You are prompted to pick five triangles. As you do so the game reveals extra spins, multipliers, extra bonus picks, and advance arrows.
As you reveal the prizes in the golden triangles, any triangle that turns up an Advance arrow deactivates the rest of the unexposed triangles on that row and you advance upward. When you use allof your picks the game reveals everything else that was covered by the triangles. Then you are taken to the free spins portion.
The basic Free Spins game begins with 2 spins and a 1X multiplier. You actually play the adjusted number of free spins with the cumulative value of all the multipliers you collected. The freespins game uses the same set of playing reels as the basic game. All you get from this point forward is whatever the free spins produce in winning combinations, which are multiplied for you.
There are more exciting slot games that you could play, to be sure. The sound track for this game is also monotonous as it plays the show’s theme song over and over again. You will have to muteyour computer’s sound system to stop the music.
The theoretical return to player varies from 92.78% to 95.03%, no doubt because of the variability of the bonus game. There is just no clean way to predict what the most likely outcomes of thegame will be. It’s probably best to assume those percentages represent the worst and best case scenario for each machine. RTP is computed for the life of a machine, based on all the wagers ittakes, not on an individual player’s session. You could do quite well or quite poorly compared to the theoretical average.
The graphics are clean and crisp. They do a good job of evoking the atmosphere of the show, especially given that the backdrop is a picture of the real stage rather than an artist’s rendering ofthe set. People who enjoy watching the show should feel right at home playing this slot.
Unlike some slot games based on television shows there are no pictures of hosts or guests and no clever or encouraging sound bites to pique your interest. This game is really all about the spins.