Pachislot - Pachinko's Little Brother
A typical busy pachislot parlor
What is a pachislot and how are they played?
The term 'pachislot' may be unfamiliar to most westerners, even those who are seasoned gamblers. Pachislots are a type of Japanese slot machine that is big in Japan. They are a relatively new phenomenon as gambling is still illegal in Japan and only in the last few years has it begun to be decriminalised (well, in reality there are so many legal ways to get your gambling fix that, while technically tue, this statement has felt false for many years). Pachislots are unlike any other slot machine as they have music and flashing lights and are much more colourful than western versions. They are interactive and feature LED displays and small television screens playing animations. Special editions are produced frequently, featuring tie-ups with pop stars and movie franchises. One unique machine even honors President Obama's inauguration.
Pachislot machines are based on a very popular Japanese game called pachinko, where the player has to guide a ball through what looks like an upright pinball machine and put the ball into a hole. There are entire gaming rooms, called pachinko parlors, devoted to these machines and pachislot machines are starting to join them. Pachinko parlors are as popular as casinos are in other countries but they are full of flashing lights and bright colors, rather like the pachinko machines themselves.
The Wolverine and friend make their getaway through a Tokyo pachislot parlor.
Gambling is illegal in Japan, but to get around this, pachislot machines dispense small balls or tokens if the player wins, which are then traded for a small prize, such as a toy car in the gaming center. The player then takes the prize to another location nearby to redeem for cash. It is also illegal for gaming rooms and pachinko parlors to keep pachislot machines for more than two years, so they are frequently updated and traded for better models, giving the customer a unique experience and keeping them interested.
Like many slot machines, there are three wheels featuring a variety of symbols. Each of the wheels spins at an extremely fast rate and has a button beneath it that stops the wheel manually, no more than 0.19 seconds from the gamer pressing it. While some may put a win at pachislots down to luck, in reality there is a lot of skill and lightning fast reactions needed to be good at it. It is so popular in Japan that there are pachislot tournaments and champion pachislot players.
Pachislot looks reassuringly similar to regular slots
While pachislots are rarely used in casinos and gaming halls in the west, they have gained something of a following as a collector's item. One American pachislot enthusiast has over 35 machines at home and there are many videos on the internet of collectors showing off their rare and unusual pachislot machines. And collecting pachislot machines is much cheaper than collecting their Vegas equivalents. Pachislots cost around $250 and Vegas style slots cost anywhere between $800 and $2,000.
If you ever get the chance to play a pachislot, let's hope you have quick reflexes! These fun and colorful machines will keep you enthralled for hours. If the pachislot has sparked your interest, you should check out this great article, which features five different types of slot machines. And if that isn't enough, you can play lots of different types of slots on Wink Slots' fantastic online gaming room.