The Jetsons Slots
The Jetsons is an iconic television show that, amazingly, only lasted one season when it was first produced in 1962. Although the show became popular with children in the late 1960s and 1970s, and was even revived in the 1980s, it was probably a little bit too much ahead of its time in 1962 when most American homes were still watching black-and-white television.
The world of the Jetsons was inspired by real-life architecture and futurist thinking. The Skyway Apartments where the family lived, for example, was inspired by Seattle's Space Needle. George Jetson's bubble car was inspired by the 1954 Ford FX-Atmos, a "concept car". Many of the gadgets in the show were inspired by futurist documentaries (like Disney's 1958 film "Magic Highway, U.S.A."), books, and magazine articles. What is amazing about the Jetsons is that while the visualizations are imperfect, the show did foresee many of today's everyday technologies including video calls and programmable automobile navigation.
In 2014 WMS Gaming brought the Jetsons to land-based casino gaming with an interactive slot game that features multiple bonus rounds, music and voices from the television show, and innovative use of many of the iconic scenes from the show.
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Game Design Features & Symbols
The Jetsons slot game is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot machine with a physical bonus wheel. The game uses 20 pay lines and the high value symbols are based on characters from the show.
Bonus Wheel Feature
The bonus wheel is the game's most attractive feature. If the Wheel symbol appears on reels 1 and 5 you win a bonus game. You are prompted to spin the wheel to find out which bonus game will be played. Of course, if you do nothing Astro will spin the wheel for you.
The bonus games are based on different combinations of free spins, multipliers, and special Wild symbols or bonuses. You could win 1 or 2 Wild reels where the entire reels are stacked Wild symbols locked in place. You could win extra Rosie symbols. And so on.
If Rosie the Robot appears on reel 5 her symbol becomes a Wild symbol and she starts scooting across the screen toward reel 1. She turns a random number of symbols into Wilds.
The most common symbol in the game is a television screen. Stacked reels of TV screens often come down but then they turn into various character symbols.
There are a couple of pick bonus games on the wheel, too. In one game Elroy asks you to help George get home through heavy clouds. You click on clouds in four columns clear a path for George to his home, but if you uncover a police officer the game ends. In another game you pick Spacely Space Sprockets.
If you are lucky enough to see 9 tiles of the same character symbol appear together they will join together and play a short animation of that character, such as George brushing his teeth.
For a Big Win you'll see George walking on Astro's treadmill while the dog sits on a floating platform surrounded by piles of cash. George eventually calls for Jane to help him get off the treadmill (this is a classic shot from the end credits of the show). On smaller wins Elroy may zoom up with his jetpack to congratulate you before flying off again.
The tile designs and animations look like they were lifted directly from the television show. The bonus round animations were clearly designed for the slot game but they integrate smoothly into the nostalgic experience. Bonus games end with George sitting at his work console, admiring the winnings.
When the bonus wheel awards you a free spin game based on one of the family members the TV set symbols all turn into that Jetson, thus increasing your chances of winning a prize. You are awarded 7 spins but the feature can be triggered again and again whenever the Wheel symbol appears on reels 1 and 5.
If you enjoyed the Jetsons television show you will probably have fun playing this game. WMS makes good use of many of the gadgets and settings from the show, even if only in an incidental way. You'll see George being thrown out of his bed, his robotic toothbrushes scrubbing his teeth while Elroy urges him to get ready, and more.
Astro, always popular, is a little underused. He does get his own bonus feature. You may also see him do a tail spin on the Double Wild-O-Matic game.
There is one funny thing about the game. When a free spins bonus is retriggered a dialog box pops up and says, "1 More Spins Awarded". What you get is a full set of spins. So if the bonus originally awarded you 5 spins you get another 5 spins, if you won 7 spins you get another 7 spins. This is the kind of annoying little detail that bugs people who have developed software because there should be enough memory on the programming chip to give the game one more word for the message. Why couldn't they say "1 More Free Spins Awarded" or "1 More Spins Game Awarded"?
The game's logo serves as its Wild symbol and you see this come up often enough during the bonus games but the Double Wild-O-Matic feature irritates some people because you win two columns of stacked Wilds but they can move around in-between spins. So if you start with reels 2 and 3 set as stacked Wilds you may finish with reels 4 and 5. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it can lead to some interesting comments from people who see the stacked Wilds jump to new reels for the first time.
The game brings a lot of variety to the slot experience. The morphing TV set symbols are a definite plus worth mentioning because you never know quite what to expect from them. The interactivity of the bonus wheel combined with the pick games gives the player a real sense of participation in the game. Gone are the days when all you did was pull the arm so you could watch the three reels spin. Maybe slot machines in the year 2062 will do crazy things we cannot yet imagine but you definitely have come a long way from the old slot machines people were playing in 1962 when the show first came on the air.