What Are Megaways Slots?
While 3 and 5 reel slots tend to have 1 to 40 pay lines which over the past years gradually increased to 1,024 ways to win, Megaways slots took it a step further and added support for up to as many as 117,649 winning possibilities. The Megaways trademark slot engine was created by Big Time Gaming and has since revolutionised slot design and mathematics.
Big Time Gaming licensed the Megaways feature and Blueprint Gaming was one of the first game providers to pick up the rights and has since then released a notable amount of Megaways slots, with other developers set to follow.
Unlike standard slot games, the pay lines are variable and selected at random before each spin. You never know if you will activate 5,000, 50,000 or 117,649 ways to win, which makes these games so extremely volatile and exciting to play. Megaways slots are becoming more commonplace at online casinos and some famous Megaways slot titles include Bonanza, Extra Chilli, Raging Rhino, Genie Jackpots, Irish Riches, and Legacy of Ra.
The Evolution of Megaways Slots
Microgaming was the first game supplier to offer games where the symbols pay out when they land adjacent to one other on a reel, from left to right – no matter the position. In other words, with their innovative game logic, you didn’t need to line up all the symbols into a fixed pay line in order to win.
This way of designing slots was groundbreaking to the evolution of slots and Microgamings pioneered with their 243 paylines (all ways pays) with games such as Thunderstruck II and Immortal Romance.
Players changed focus from the traditional fixed lines to simply landing three identical symbols on reel 1, reel 2 and one on reel 3 to get a winning combination. Simple but even better, if you manage to get a two of the same symbol on the same reel, additional ways activate and trigger multiplied winnings.
Basically, you get a win when matching symbols show up on consecutive reels left to right on the screen. If more than one symbol lands on the reels, your winnings are multiplied as every additional way trigger a win.
The design continued to evolve as IGT followed with the released of its iconic hexagonal reel layout offering 720 ways to win with titles like Siberian Storm.
Game studios quickly realised that by adding additional ways to win, the complexity of the mathematical design drastically increased. In fact, it took a great couple of years before we started seeing well developed successors to Microgaming’s original 243 ways to win concept.
As Microgaming’s 243 ways to win slot games became the news of yesterday, we started to see the rise of 1,024 ways to win from various game studios followed by one of todays classic 4096 ways to win – Raging Rhino by WMS.
The first game provider to really set the bar for a new era of slots and break all records was Big Time Gaming, honourably they challenged Microgamings winning concept after their line of success and released the shocking 117,649 ways to win – Megaways.
The Megaways Mechanic
A Megaways slot has reels that can shift and change in shape with any spin. That alters the number of rows on every reel, so you end up with many diverse ways to win. The first reel could contain seven rows of symbols, while the second only three rows. The third has six rows, and reel four has six icons. Finally, reel 5 has four symbols, and reel six will have five symbols. You will then end up with a massive 34,300 ways to win with that same spin. However, when you press spin the next time, every single reel maybe seven symbols high, providing you with the maximum 117,649 Ways to Win! You never know from turn to spin, how many ways to win you will get, but you do know it is rarely going to be just 243. The volatility of the Megaways mechanic is stunning and it’s safe to say these are our absolute favourite games of all times.
Big Time Gaming remains the godfather of Megaways slots; however, there are now a vast variation of Megaways slots developed by other game studios jumping on board the bandwagon. Blueprint Gaming was the very first developer to acquire a license for Megaways slots and they have been releasing a dictionary of games since their license acquisition. Blueprint created an entirely new framework of features in the addition to the Megaways engine making their slots even more volatile than we ever thought possible.
Other software developers have also been successful, such as Red Tiger Gaming along with Relax Gaming. Both have released brilliant slots in this genre, bringing out the best features. Although not superior to Blueprint releases, at least they try to match them in quality and style.