Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 9 / APRIL 1990



A One-Armed Bandit on Your ST


With flashing lights, buzzers, bells and the chance to win some big money, slot machines can be very tempting. Unfortunately, playing them can be hazardous to your bank account. Now, with Mark Siegel's Super Jackpot Slots, you can get the feel of playing these one-armed bandits on your ST and it won't cost you a dime. The program runs in low resolution only.

A winner every time in the file JACKPOT.ARC on Side 1 of your START disk.

If you've ever been to Las Vegas, you've seen them: slot machines, rows and rows of slot machines. Clicking, clacking, buzzing and ringing, these machines can lead you to fortune or disaster, depending on how much you're willing to spend and, more importantly, how much you're willing to lose.

With Super Jackpot Slots on this month's START disk, you can play the slots, absolutely free and in the privacy of your own home. You still get the clinging and clanging but at least you won't lose any money (real money, that is).

Getting Started

To play Super Jackpot Slots, boot this month's START disk; the START menu program runs automatically. At the main screen, click on Prepare, then select "Super Jackpot Slots." The program will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. Make sure the files SLOT.PRG and SLOT.DAT are in the same directory. Super Jackpot Slots was written in GFA BASIC 2.0 and runs in low resolution only.

At the Desktop, double-click on SLOT.PRG to run the program. The game will take a few moments to load and then the screen will display six one-armed bandits waiting eagerly for your money. Click on the small dollar bill in the upper left comer, and an alert box will appear, giving you the choice of gambling with $50, $100 or $200 in computer cash. Decide how much you can afford, then click on any of the six slot machines to play. There are two 25-cent machines, two $1 machines, one $5 machine for all you high rollers and a 5-cent machine for the conservative gambler.

A Typical Super Jackpot Slot Machine

Let's familiarize ourselves with one of these highly sophisticated gambling devices before we take it for a spin. The upper section of the slot machine displays all the possible winning combinations of symbols and the number of coins each pays. As with many of the slot machines in Las Vegas, you win the biggest jackpot if you line up three 7s in a row.

On each of our six machines, the normal payoff for triple 7s is 200 coins. Of course, that's only $10 on the nickel machine. But you're not risking much. It's much more on the $5 machine where those 200 coins add up to $1,000. However, each machine also has it's own progressive "super jackpot," which can get as high as $999,999. This jackpot gets larger as more and more money is put into the machine. The amount continues to grow until some lucky devil wins it, and then the jackpot is reset to a lower amount.

To make things interesting, the jackpot toggles on or off with each coin inserted into the slot machine, so you may not always spin with a chance to win the larger amount. To collect the super jackpot you must hit three 7s while the super jackpot total is displayed at the top of the machine. Otherwise triple 7s pay only the normal jackpot of 200 coins.

The lower half of the slot machine consists mainly of the three reels that spin when the arm is pulled and then randomly come to rest, displaying different combinations of symbols. These symbols vary from machine to machine. Some machines have cherries, others have grapes. Some may have gold bars, or dice, or neither or both. And by the way, if you get three lemons in a row, don't get excited. A lemon on these machines is just as good as a lemon at a used car dealer.

Super Jackpot Slots brings all the excitement of
Las Vegas slot machines to your ST. At the
opening screen, choose the machine you wish to
play. Dollar amounts range from five cents to $5.
Amazingly realistic, Super Jackpot Slots' game
screen simulates slot-machine action almost per-
fectly--just put your coins in and pull the slot!

On the lower right of the slot machine is the slot for inserting coins, and on the lower left is the "win meter." This meter counts out how many coins were awarded, if any, on the preceding spin.

You'll also notice a stack of coins to the right of the slot machine. This is your gambling money, thoughtfully provided by your ST. No more then 25 coins are shown on the screen at one time even if you have hundreds of coins. But, as soon as you have less then 25 coins your stack of money will begin to shrink. If there are no coins showing on the screen, you don't have enough money to play that machine, but you may have enough to play another. For instance, with $4 remaining you'd have no coins to play the $5 slot machine, but you'd have 16 coins for either of the 25-cent machines and a huge stack of 80 coins if you played the 5-cent slot machine.

To switch from one slot machine to another, click on the little yellow button marked "E" (for exit), just to the right of the win meter. This will take you back to the opening screen, where you'll notice that the top of the machine you were just playing is flashing. You can go back to that machine or any one of the others just by clicking on it. You cannot leave a machine after you've inserted money into it. (You wouldn't do that at Las Vegas would you?) You'll have to wait until after you spin.

While you're playing a slot machine, your gambling bankroll is displayed in green, in the upper right of the screen. When you have less than 25 coins, this display will turn red to warn you of impending poverty. Of course, if you were actually playing the slots, you probably wouldn't know exactly how much money you had at all times, unless you counted your money after each spin. So for you purists, click on the little yellow button marked "$" to the left of the win-meter. Presto,your gambling amount is no longer shown. Click on the button once more to restore the display.

Playing Super Jackpot Slots

Okay, enough preliminaries, let's play. Move the mouse pointer over to the stack of coins and click. A coin should appear face up, in place of the mouse pointer. Press the left mouse button and drag the coin so it rests just above the coin slot. Now click the mouse again. If you did this correctly the coin will drop into the slot and the appropriate payline marker will light up. If you missed the slot, the coin will fall harmlessly back into the metal tray that catches coins as they come out of the machine. It doesn't show on the screen, but it's there, trust me.

You can bet from one to three coins on each spin. If you play just one coin, the slot machine will pay off on the middle row of symbols only. Insert a second coin, and the top row will also pay off on a winning combination. Wager the maximum of three coins and all three rows of symbols are possible winners. You can't put more than three coins in a machine at one time. After three coins have been inserted, you will not be able to pick up another one from the stack.

If you've finished feeding the slot machine, you're ready to roll. Move the mouse pointer onto the red ball at the top of the arm. Now click the mouse and pull the arm down. The three reels will take a few spins and then stop from left to right. If a winning combination of symbols comes up on a payline which is lit, you've won. The number of coins you've won will be displayed on the win meter, and your winnings will spit out from the bottom of the machine.

If you want to play three coins at a time, there is an alternate way to work the machine. Click on the button just to the left of the coin slot. It's marked with the value of the machine (25 cents, $1, etc). Three coins will automatically be subtracted from your bankroll and the reels will spin immediately with no need to pull down the arm. This method will not work if you don't have enough coins or if you've already inserted a coin into the slot. The button will darken to indicate this.

The game ends when you're out of money. You can go back to the opening screen and get more money to lose, or you can quit the program by clicking on the green exit sign in the upper right of the screen. When you end the program, the file JACKPOT.DAT will be updated and the next time you play Super Jackpot Slots all the slot machines will be just as you left them.

Program Info and Wrap-Up

Super Jackpot Slots was written in compiled GFA BASIC 2.0. All of the program's graphics were designed with DEGAS Elite. Some of the sound effects were digitized using REPLAY 4 from Microdeal. Special thanks to 2-Bit Systems Replay for helping get those sounds into the program.

Good luck and may your super jackpots grow forever.

Mark Siegel lives in Van Nuys, California. This is his first program for START.