Lightning Jackpots

Review of Bally’s Lightning Jackpots Slot Machine

The Lightning Jackpots slot machine is a 15 reel, 40 pay line video slot designed and distributed by Bally Technologies. The company’s promotional materials advise casino managers and slot machine hosts that they can “give their floor a jolt of high voltage excitement” with this game, and that phrase sums up the game’s theme and approach quite well, actually.

Bally Technologies’ promotional materials also bill Lightning Jackpots as a companion to their Fireball slot machines. In fact, both of these games are part of a series of games from the company called “Bally’s Digital Tower Series”. The game includes five different progressive jackpot and fifteen (!) different mini bonus games the players can activate on the tower portion of the machine.

Reel Symbols

The reel symbols on the Lightning Jackpots slot machine game are quite traditional, consisting largely of “7” symbols and bars. Unlike traditional slot machine games, though, when the pay lines are hit, animated lightening shows off the players’ win. This is a neat feature from the standpoint of visual excitement. Other symbols relevant to the game’s electricity theme include traditional looking keys, light bulbs, an electrical switch, and a steampunk inspired spaceship. The game draws from a palette of mostly blue, silver, gold, grey, and black.

Plasma Wild Bonus

Of course, the real excitement of the game comes from the multiple ways to win surprise games with the “Plasma Wild Bonus”.  This game is activated when a player has five of the “Plasma” symbols on the screen at the same time. They don’t have to line up on any particular pay line; just the presence of the five symbols on the screen at one time is enough to initiate the bonus games.

Lightning Tower Bonus

The Lightning Tower bonus is where the magic really happens, though. The bonus games that are triggered happen on the tower, and each of them takes the role of another classic 3 reel slot machine game. Each of these games has a name that is evocative of the overall game’s theme. Examples include “Double Thunderbolt”, “Lightning Line”, and “777 Lightning Double Jackpot”.

Lightning Jackpots Max Bet

The maximum bet on this game is 2000 credits. Penny slot hounds can play a single line for a penny a spin if they wish, but the wagering amounts increase to $1000 per spin. Only high rollers would be interested in playing a slot machine game at that wagering level, but the payouts are correspondingly higher when playing at that level.

Electricity and Lightning in Popular Culture

One of the more entertaining aspects of Lightning Jackpots is the theme, which is unusual enough to mention. Of course, electricity and lightning are ever present in popular culture. The comic book superhero the Flash, who’s getting his own TV series this year, got his powers from being splashed with chemicals while simultaneously being struck by lightning. In the movie Frankenstein, the creature is brought to life via the lightning rods the mad scientist has installed in his laboratory. And of course, there could be no Thor, mighty god of thunder, without storms and lightning.

In the United States, school children are taught that Benjamin Franklin “discovered” electricity. This isn’t entirely accurate, but Franklin did conduct considerable amounts of research in the field. The book History and Present Status of Electricity by Joseph Priestley documents Franklin’s experiments in the field. (Franklin and Priestly were frequent correspondents.)

It’s hard to imagine a world not powered by electricity, but the use of electricity, when put in a historical perspective, is quite a recent phenomenon. Scientists from the 19th century, including Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla are largely responsible for the use of electricity in our everyday lives. Without their work, everything from electronic slot machines to Internet casinos would not be possible—along with a whole host of cool non-gaming devices.

Slot Machine Odds and Probability

A certain amount of irony might also explain the use of electricity and lightning in this game’s theme. Yes, lightning means fast, and the game does play fast, but the odds of being struck by lightning are quite small. Gambling math experts often compare the odds of winning large jackpots, especially progressive jackpot and lottery jackpots, with the odds of being struck by lightning.

The odds of being struck by lightning are probably higher than you think, by the way. According to National Geographic, the odds being struck by lightning in any given year is 1 in 700,000, but the odds of being struck by lightning at some point in your life are 1 in 3000.

Lightning is often also associated with the power of the gods. Zeus, for example, wields lightning as a weapon. I’ve already mentioned Thor, who is not only the Norse god of thunder but is also the star of his own series of comic books and movies. Shango is a similar god of thunder in West African and Caribbean religions. Even in Christianity, lightning imagery is used to describe the second coming of Jesus. (“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”)

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