Big Ben Slot Machine
Big Ben is the most famous clock in the world. It was destined to be so from the very start. The immense clock resides at the top of St. Stephen’s Tower in the Westminster Palace in London, wherethe British Parliament meets. The palace was heavily damaged by fire in 1834 and substantially rebuilt. A new tower was designed and built for the sole purpose of housing a clock that would keepaccurate time for the city. Sir George Airy, the royal astronomer, retained the services of Edmund Beckett Denison, a famous barrister who was also a highly regarded expert in the science ofHorology, the measurement of time, to design the clock.
Denison’s design was completed in 1854 and the tower was completed in 1859. 16 horses hauled the clock’s gigantic bell through the streets of London as crowds waved and cheered. The bellwas dubbed “Big Ben”, either in honor of a famous boxer named Benjamin Caunt (he was a very large man) or in honor of Sir Benjamin Hall, who was famous for giving long speeches. No one reallyknows for sure how the bell got its name.
Ben tolled out the hours for the first time on May 31, 1859 but the hammer that Edmund Denison designed was too heavy and it damaged the bell. The clock was taken out of service while a new,lighter hammer was made and when that was installed the bell was turned so that the new hammer would not hit the area where the crack was located. Through the years since the name “Big Ben” hasbecome associated with the clock tower itself, rather than with the bell.
The clock continued to keep time throughout the Second World War, when the Battle of London wrought much damage upon the city. The chamber of the House of Commons was destroyed by an incendiarybomb but the clock tower remained standing and continued to toll away, keeping perfect time.
In 2003 Aristocrat Leisure Limited released the Big Ben slot game. The design uses a mix of clip art quality graphics and animations coupled with standard synthesized slot game sounds. The gamewas notable for offering a 30,000 coin top prize, which was very high at the time for a non-progressive slot game. Aristocrat began porting its land-based casino games to Internet gaming serversin 2011 and Big Ben found its way online in 2012. The rest of this article reviews the online version of the slot game.
Rules of Big Ben Slot Game
Big Ben is a 5 reel, 3 row video slot game with 25 pay lines. All winning combinations on active pay lines pay in multiples of bet per line from left to right except for scatter combinations,which pay for any combination of 2 or more in multiples of Total Bet.
The game’s Wild symbol is the Queen’s Guard and it substitutes for all other symbols in the game except the Scatter. The Wild symbol pays 30,000 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 3000 times betper line for 4 of a kind, 300 times bet per line for 3 of a kind, and 10 times bet per line for 2 of a kind. The Guard doubles the prize for any winning combination (other than combinations ofGuards) to which it contributes. This tile briefly shows the soldiers marching in formation when it contributes to a winning combination.
Big Ben is the game’s scatter symbol. When 2 or more Big Ben tiles appear they play a brief animation that makes it seem like you are flying in toward the clock tower and around it. Big Ben pays1000 times Total Bet for 5 of a kind, 25 times Total Bet for 4 of a kind, 5 times Total Bet for 3 of a kind, and 2 times Total Bet for 2 of a kind. When Big Ben appears on reels 1 and 5 ittriggers the Big Ben feature, which is explained below. When Big Ben appears on 3 or more reels it triggers the Free Spins bonus game, which is explained below.
Other Symbols in Big Ben Slot Game
The Royal Crown and the Union Jack are the next highest paying symbols in the game. They pays 800 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 100 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, 25 times bet per linefor 3 of a kind, and 2 times bet per line for 2 of a kind.
- The Double Deck Bus pays 500 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 100 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 20 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The Red Telephone box pays 400 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 75 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 15 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The Street Lamp pays 250 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 50 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 12 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The Old Tavern Sign pays 250 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 50 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 10 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- There is no “A” symbol but the orange “K” symbol is adorned with a little yellow crown and it pays 125 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 50 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 5 timesbet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The yellow “Q” symbol is adorned with a thinner crown and pays 100 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 25 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 5 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The blue “J” symbol bears a small red and gold shield and pays 100 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 25 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 5 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The red “10” symbol pays 100 times bet per line for 5 of a kind, 25 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, and 5 times bet per line for 3 of a kind.
- The green “9” symbol pays 100 times bet per line 5 of a kind, 25 times bet per line for 4 of a kind, 5 times bet per line for 3 of a kind, and 2 times bet per line for 2 of a kind.
How to Play Big Ben Slot Game
The game displays occasional tips and messages above the playing reels area. The backdrop or background image is of a scene from an alley or narrow street looking toward the Parliament buildingwith Big Ben’s silhouette outlined against the night sky.
There are thirteen numbered, colored buttons lining the left side of the playing reels area and twelve similarly numbered, colored buttons lining the right side of the playing reels. Clicking onany of these buttons activates all the pay lines up to the button’s number and deactivates all higher-numbered pay lines. These buttons also anchor the colored lines that are used to highlightthe winning combinations as they appear on the various pay lines.
A small orange speaker icon near the lower left corner of the playing reels area toggles the game’s sounds on and off.
An information window beneath the playing reels area displays brief messages such as “Good luck!” when you spin the reels or “Play on” when a game concludes without paying a prize. It prompts youto “Play on or gamble” if you do win a prize.
The remaining widgets are arranged in a row below the information bar. They are described below from left to right.
The Lavender “Info” button brings up the help screen system with the pay tables and other information about the game. Use the red “Back” and blue “Next” button below the help screens to navigatethrough the pay tables. Click on the salmon “Game” button to exit the pay tables and return to the game. The “Back” and “Next” buttons become inactive when you reach the limit of leftward andrightward screens.
The orange “Autoplay” button activates a special dialog screen with three buttons and a slider bar. Use the slider bar to set how many spins the game will play for you at the current number ofactive lines and bet per line. If you have used the “Autoplay” feature previously in the current gaming session you can click on the “Last Settings” button. Click on “Start” to initiate the autospins.
The auto spins feature plays continuously through the number of spins you selected until you leave the game or you interrupt the auto spins or you win a bonus game or your available balance dropsbelow the current amount of Total Bet. The “Autoplay” button becomes a red “Stop Spin” button while Autoplay is active.
The Lines widget consists of three buttons and an information display box. The display box shows you the highest active pay line number. The large blue “Max” button is disabled when all 25 paylines are active but it is enabled when fewer than 25 are active. Use the green Plus and orange Minus buttons to adjust the number of active pay lines. Each button is disabled when its respectivelimit is reached.
The Bet widget is constructed similarly to the Lines widget but in reverse order. So you have the green Plus and orange Minus buttons to the left of the widget and the blue “Max” button to theright. Use the Plus and Minus buttons to adjust the bet per line amount up or down. The “Max” button only sets bet per line to the maximum value (4.00); it has no effect on the number of activepay lines.
The Total Bet widget is positioned beneath the Lines and Bet Per Line widgets. Total Bet equals number of active pay lines times Bet Per Line. The maximum possible Total Bet is $100.
The lavender Gamble button activates the special feature described below. This button is only active immediately after you win a prize on a normal spin.
The large green “Spin” button initiates one paid game and does nothing else.
The “Win” information widget is positioned beneath the “Gamble” and “Spin” buttons. This widget shows you the total amount of the prizes you won on the last spin (if any).
How the Big Ben Special Features Work
There are three special features that may be triggered at any time during the game.
The first is the Gamble feature, which only becomes active when you win one or more prizes on a basic spin. You may then gamble your winnings by clicking the lavender “Gamble” button. Thistakes you to the standard “Double or Nothing / Quadruple or Nothing” game screen found on many Aristocrat games.
The Gamble game presents you with a face down playing card. You may choose one of three options: guess which color (red or black) the card is, guess which suit (Diamond, Heart, Club, orSpade) the card is, or take your winnings and exit. If you guess the correct color your prize is doubled; if you guess wrong you lose your prize and return to the basic game. If you guessthe correct card suit your prize is quadrupled; if you guess wrong you lose your prize and return to the basic game.
You may gamble up to 5 times and the results for up to the last 5 gambles (including from previous spins) are displayed on a small tally bar at the top of the screen. The game help systemsays the theoretical return to player is 95.547% but that seems to apply to the basic game plus other special features. The gamble feature should at best only return about 50% to players.
Big Ben Feature
The Big Ben Feature activates when the clock tower symbol appears on both reels 1 and 5. Ben starts to chime and the number of chimes determines your special prize, which is a multiple ofyour Total Bet. There are twelve possible multiples you can win: x2, X4, X8, X10, X12, X14, X16, X18, X20, X25, and X500.
Free Spin Bonus Game
The Free Spins bonus game is triggered when three or more Big Ben symbols appear anywhere on the playing reels. In addition to paying you a prize for the combination of Scatter symbols, thebonus game doubles all prizes. You win 15 free games for three Big Ben symbols, 20 free games for four Big Ben symbols, and 25 free games for five Big Ben symbols. It is possible to triggerthe Free Spins bonus again while it is still in play.
For a game designed in 2003 Big Ben plays well enough. The theoretical return to player is high enough to be interesting (over 95%) but that’s really a “reach for the moon” measurement. Whatmatters to the player is how well the immediate gaming session plays out, not what the machine will do over 6-10 ten years of play. Although you can go some long stretches without receiving anyprizes the game keeps most of its winning combination prizes low enough that you can stay in play mode for a long time if you manage your budget. The rule of thumb is that the lower the prizesthe more frequently they tend to be, although it’s all determined by the random number generator and sometimes you just don’t win anything.
With the three special features there is enough variety in the game to keep it interesting. Of course, everyone wants Big Ben to toll twelve times and for five Queen’s Guard symbols to appear ona pay line but that’s not a realistic hope. Either you enjoy playing the game or you don’t. The “Gamble” feature, standard on many Aristocrat games, does make it more interesting but players whocare about managing their balance should do the math. The payback may not be worthwhile if you lose on the big bets and win on the small ones.
The incidental sound effects are synthesized. While that may have been acceptable in 2003 it does give the game a somewhat lackluster ambience many years later. About the best that can be said isthat you can turn off the sounds do you don’t have to listen to the constant clicking.