IGT is famous for licensing existing properties and converting them into slot machines. Given this successful business model, it was only a matter of time before they went after the rights to Avatar, the sci-fi blockbuster from director James Cameron and currently the highest-grossing movie of all time.
Released in 2009 with a budget of over $230 million, Avatar generated more than $2.788 billion at the global box office. It was praised by critics for its visual effects and nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture.
While they haven't won any Oscars or caused people to camp outside of movie theaters, the Avatar slot machine line has been almost as successful as their cinematic counterpart. They've captured numerous industry awards since their debut in 2013, and future releases promise to be just as lucrative. The machines are available throughout Nevada and other gambling meccas, with two-seat and five-seat models being the most common.
Whether you're a fan of the films or just obsessed with profitable slot machines, the Avatar series from IGT should help satisfy your cravings. This article details the current versions of the game at land-based locations, as well as providing an overview of the franchise and offering some interesting factoids.
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Overview of the Avatar Movie
The film takes place in the year 2154. Humanity has mastered interstellar travel, but the Earth is experiencing a major shortage of natural resources. To combat this energy crisis, the Resources Development Administration (or RDA) mines for a precious mineral called "unobtanium." One of the most significant deposits of unobtanium is found on Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centauri system.
The Na'vi live in harmony with the environment and worship a nature goddess, so they're none too keen on aliens coming along and setting up a mining operation on their world.
Since the atmosphere of Pandora is poisonous to humans, the RDA conducts exploration by using "avatars," genetic hybrids of humans and Na'vi that can be mentally inhabited in order to interact with the environment. This program is led by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), an exobiologist who wants to establish peaceful relations with the locals.
This sentiment isn't shared by Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) and Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). The former is the head of the RDA mining operations on Pandora, while the latter is the no-nonsense head of security. Both men wish to obtain the unobtanium at any costs, even if it means wiping out the indigenous population in the process.
When one of their avatar operators dies, the RDA calls upon his twin brother, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), as a replacement. Jake is a paraplegic former Marine, and he's excited to inhabit the avatar body and once again be able to walk. To sweeten the deal, Col. Quaritch promises Jake that his legs will be restored if he can gather valuable data about the Na'vi. Jake doesn't realize it at the time, but Quaritch intends to use this information to wipe out the locals once and for all.
During a mission onto the planet, Jake is separated from his group and encounters a Na'vi female named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). She is immediately impressed with his courage and takes his appearance as an omen. She brings Jake back to her tribe, and the young Marine slowly begins to learn about Na'vi culture and sympathize with their plight.
Over the course of a few months, Jake comes to realize that the RDA are nothing more than violent aggressors. He falls in love with Neytiri and embraces the Na'vi way of life, but this change of heart does nothing to convince Selfridge and Quaritch to alter their destructive plans. This sets both parties on a collision course, with the future of Pandora hanging in the balance.
James Cameron's Avatar: The Sacred Bond
The first IGT slot machine released in the series, this 25-payline, 50-credit slot is part of the Mega Jackpots progressive network and offers payouts exceeding $1 million. The game includes multiple screen with crystal-clear clarity, and the speakers mounted in the head rest make for a truly immersive gaming experience.
Players are able to collect a number of prize levels and achievements, and these can be used to unlock new characters. Since the game is packed with detail, it gives players the option of signing in and picking up where they left off. There are also unlockable hidden achievements, making the slot similar to a traditional home video game.
The most common bonus round triggers randomly and provides the player with three choices before the upcoming spin:
The spin receives a random multiplier ranging from 4x to 15x.
The flying beasts known as banshees come across the screen, dropping three to eight wild symbols in the process.
Bonus credits are awarded if a Na'vi characters appears on the reels.
The Amp Suit Bonus and Banshee Attack Round are similar in design, challenging the player with defeating a formidable foe in order to gain additional credits. Other bonus rounds offer free spin, hidden prizes, and a several other options. In most cases, the player has the ability to choose the bonus round that they prefer.
Group play bonuses can also be activated, allowing multiple players to join in and compete for payouts. One option calls upon the group to destroy RDA attack helicopters, while another pits the players against an Amp Suit with select weak points that must be targeted for a critical hit. Another group bonus provides free spins and allow the players to take turns choosing whether a spin involves free credits, wilds, or multipliers.
James Cameron's Avatar Treasures of Pandora
While the other game in the series focuses on the more militaristic side of the movie, this slot is concerned with the spiritual and environmental elements. It's a 2-up multiplay game with 5 reels and 45 paylines. The maximum wager is 360 credits, and base games are stacked vertically with independent reels and 243 ways to win. Vertical base games may also fuse together during gameplay, providing a whopping 7,776 ways to win. A penny version of the game was the first to hit the market, but plans are in place for larger denomination machines.
Just like in The Sacred Bond, players can log into the game and resume their progress. This is especially useful given the large number of playable characters and unlockable items. Music can also be customized to suit your tastes, and saving progress keeps the player from having to adjust it every time they play.
In addition to the usual assortment of wild and scatter symbols, this machine includes three bonus features. Each of these is listed below.
Try to find the seeds of the sacred tree by touching it on the screen. Each selection reveals different symbols. Some provide bonus multipliers, while others award credits (which the multiplier is then applied to). The fan lizard symbol is the one to avoid, as uncovering three of these results in the bonus round coming to an end.
You get six opportunities to match the Na'vi with their correct banshee. If you choose correctly, you'll receive bonus credits while watching the Na'vi warrior fly off on their winged steed. Once all selections have been exhausted, the round comes to an end.
The player receives five free spins, and the screens then merge together for over 7,700 possible winning combinations. Additional free games may also be gained during this phase.
Did You Know? Interesting Facts About Avatar
Avatar was a massive success at the box office, and its slot machine adaptations have also received acclaim from both customers and industry insiders. Each game in the series focuses on a different aspect of the film, although all releases include familiar sights such as the Na'vi and the local flora and fauna of Pandora. IGT has once again shown why they're the global leader in slot machine production, and players can expect more versions to be released as the inevitable movie sequel inches closer towards becoming a reality.