If you’re ever in Nevada, you can see the original Liberty Bell machine at Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant in Reno.
The 3-reel format, pioneered by this pioneering game, became the standard for over a century.
In 1963, Bally Industries created the first fully electromechanical Money Honey game. It was also a 3 reel, 3 row machine, much like the first digital slot machines with reels. The 3×3 layout was the main layout in the industry until the early 21st century, as almost all titles used it.
When players started looking for more variety in slot play, developers had to innovate, expanding the boundaries of the genre. One of the easiest ways to make these games more dynamic was to add extra reels to the machines, expanding the number of possible symbol combinations and ways to win.
In the late 2000s, WGS Technology, formerly known as Vegas Technology, began experimenting with a 7-reel configuration for its online products. Vegas Technology was one of the main software providers for one of the earliest and best-known online gaming platforms, English Harbour, which launched in 1997.
They changed their name to WGS in 2011 and produce games of similar quality to those offered by competitors Rival and Realtime Gaming. They also offer video poker games and RNG variations of classic table games.
Some of the most popular titles in this sub-genre were Framing Futures and Lucky 7s.
By today’s criteria, both were primitive games whose only novelty was the extra reels. In terms of gameplay and presentation, they stood out little from other spinners, and some might call them below average for their era.
Now, 7-reel games still exist. what’s more, there are even 9-reel slots. However, most of them are not popular in online casinos. Their grid expands to this size only in the bonus round or because of an extra feature. Many of them also include a cluster payout mechanic.
7-reel, 3-row titles, where winning combos are formed by landing matching symbols in a straight line, are rare. Although there are a few of those too. Super 4 Bells, by Dutch company StakeLogic, is one such title.
The original WGS products failed to gain popularity because they were not high quality.
They used too many classic elements, such as fruit machine-inspired symbols, and did not innovate the gameplay beyond the extra reels. During this time, other providers started to introduce things like avalanche mechanics and cluster pays, which greatly diversified the gameplay, adding a new slot experience.
The WGS titles were weak in comparison. Furthermore, they did not fit mobile phone screens. They contained too many elements, making them impractical for mobile devices of early 2010.
Currently, the most played 7-reel game is Play’n Go from 2017, Reactoonz. However, as mentioned, this is not a classic slot. It features a 7×7 layout, and wins are awarded when five or more alien symbols are found in a cluster. It contains all sorts of wild features and can be a little complicated for some beginners. Its popularity prompted Play’n Go to produce a sequel in October 2020, which uses many of the same concepts found in the original.
Other quality 7-reel slots include Fruit Party by Pragmatic Play, Seven-7’s by Crazy Tooth Studio, Rainbow Rewards by CR Games and Wild Elements by Red Tiger.
The latter is a high variance fantasy-themed slot with a maximum win potential of x5,142 your bet and is a standout because it includes a jackpot prize.
Fugaso has two 7-reel Egyptian-themed games you might want to try, Rise of Parimatch and Imhotep Manuscript. Both feature 3-row slots, almost identical graphics and an RTP of 96%. Vault of Anubis from Red Tiger is another Egyptian-inspired 7-reel game with cluster payouts.
If you’re looking for classic action, you can choose Omega 7 and Mexico from 36 Gaming or Firestar from iSoftBet.
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