Though Japan has strict rules on gambling, consumers manage to find a way to participate in this activity. Even though both online and offline gaming is prohibited, there are thousands of dedicated establishments across the country which both men and women like to visit.
Have you heard of Pachinko parlors? Looking slightly gloomy and extremely noisy, these hubs are the most popular entertainment venues in Japan. These centers proudly host a new type of slot machines- pachislots! Stay tuned to find out more about them!
Brief Guide through Pachinko Machines
Used primarily as a gambling device but also as a form of recreational arcade game…
…Pachinko is a type of mechanical game coming from Japan. These machines resemble pinball in the Western gaming industry, but the two are entirely different things.
The activation of these devices is rather simple, as all it takes is to pour metal balls at the top. The balls then dribble down and hit metal nails on the way down, the outcome is decided by where the balls end up. A player can affect the outcome by moving the nails.
Some machines have a bumper to bounce the ball as it reaches the top, while the others allow the ball to travel around the field, to fall on the second time that it reaches the top. In either case, the ball enters the playing field, which is filled with numerous brass pins, several small cups into which the player hopes the ball will fall (each catcher is barely the width of the ball). There’s also a hole at the bottom into which the ball will fall if it doesn't enter a catcher.
The ball bounces from one pin to another, both slowing the fall and making it move laterally across the field. A ball that enters a catcher will trigger a payout, in which many balls are dropped into a tray at the front of the machine. Many games made since the 1960s feature "tulip" catchers, which have small flippers that open to expand the width of the catcher. These catchers are controlled by the machine and may open and close randomly or in a pattern; an expert player might try to launch the ball with an impulse and timing to reach the catcher when the flippers are open.
The goal of the game is to capture as many balls as possible. The machines were originally strictly mechanical, but modern ones have incorporated extensive electronics, becoming similar to video slot machines.
Similar to web and land-based slot machines, there are hundreds of different themed Pachinko devices. They can be based on movies, music, and whatnot. Some of them have a rather modern and futuristic design with actionable animation, special effects, and noisy audio. The others look old-fashioned and mostly focus on the basic features, such as balls falling onto nails.
The winnings do not come out as coins (or money) but they come in the form of more metal balls. Since gambling for cash is illegal in Japan, the balls won from games cannot be exchanged directly for money in the parlor. However, next to the parlors there are shops where one can buy physical items for the balls, which in turn can be exchanged to cash. Rewards may be as simple as chocolate bars, pens or cigarette lighters, or more valuable such as electronics, bicycles and other items.
Online Pachislots Explained
Representing a direct descendant of the traditional Japanese pachinko game…
… known as pachisuro (パチスロ) or pachislot (portmanteaus of the words “pachinko” and “slot machine) are a brand new type of slot machines on the market. Slot devices of this sort can be found mostly in pachinko parlors as well as the adult sections of amusement arcades, known as game centers.
The devices are regulated with integrated circuits and have six different levels changing the odds of a 777. Based on the levels, the outcome varies between 90% to 160%. For skilled players, the percentage goes to 200%. This means that Japanese slot machines are “beatable”.
Parlor operators naturally adjust the majority of machines to simply collect money. However, they do intentionally place a few paying machines on the floor so that there will be at least someone winning. By arranging so, they encourage players on the losing machines to keep on with the activity, using the psychology of the gambler’s fallacy.
Same like pachinko machines, these slots can vary in themes and design. They are also equipped with a video screen, to make the gameplay more actionable. However, there are certain rules and regulations put forward by the Security Electronics and Communication Technology Association an affiliate of the National Police Agency. Those imply that:
- there must be three reels
- all reels must be accompanied by buttons which allow players to manually stop them
- reels may not spin faster than 80 RPM
- reels must stop within 0.19 seconds of a button press
In practice, this means that devices cannot let reels slip more than 4 symbols. Other rules include a 15-coin payout cap, a 50 credit cap on machines, a 3-coin maximum bet, and other such regulations.
Japan Technical Games Leads the Way
Also known as JTG …
…this studio is currently known as one of the biggest pachislot and pachinko games developers. Offering releases based on the theme “Easy & Fun”, the team developed titles that are simple to understand for everyone. The studio strived to build a brand that can be trusted by all types of players.
The supplier is already in successful partnerships with several companies from the industry such as Solid Gaming, Oryx Gaming, and Golden Hero. Some of the titles to pioneer the new generation of slots, including Hawaiian Dream, Battle Dwarf, Golden Dream, and Oiran Dream.
Each of them brings comes with a package of highly-dynamic features which are additionally empowered by fine animation and flashy effects. The melody makes the impression even stronger, along with an appropriately chosen palette of vibrant colors.