Where Should Sonic Go Next?
Thursday, 26th July 2018, 2:22pm (BST), 0 Comments
Sonic Mania was released in 2017. Gaming specialist site IGN gave the series a healthy 8.7/10 score, commending Sonic the Hedgehog on returning to his 2D side-scrolling roots. Indeed, the instalment in the series reminded the original set of Sonic fans just why they became enamored with the electric blue speedster initially. But development on a sequel is slow and developers are focusing on 2018's release, Team Sonic Racing.



Racing Game as a Reboot


Introducing a racing game in a series is always a way for developers to buy some time and keep fans happy while they work on narrative and characterization for the next official story title. Crash Bandicoot received Crash Team Racing while the leap to PS2 was being ironed out. The Super Mario series introduces racing games for new platforms to ensure fans are connecting with the brand still. So a racing game as Sonic's next move is a sensible move. With 15 playable characters in the game, fans might be able to go back into the series and find the more obscure ones. Playing a racing game is like a compilation album or episode of TV - it helps remind fans of the game why they loved the characters, and is primarily led by characters.

Cross-Platform to Reinvigorate


But Sonic producers could have gone a different way with the franchise. As Pokemon Go showed us - taking the extremely iconic gameplay of Pokemon and adapting it for another platform helped breathe new life into the flagging series. As William Hill shows, Worms has been given the cross-platform approach in order to appeal to a different set of fans. Indeed, the original Worms audience who played the game in 1995 are likely to make up the audience playing the Worms Mania slot. This shows how nostalgia and reinvention of a series in a slightly different way may reinvigorate the franchise and connect to a new audience, while reminding the older audience of their existence. Franchises jumping from platform to platform could be classed as a reboot, such as when The Sims was briefly playable as a console game.

Complete Reinvention


Sometimes in order to reinvigorate a franchise, it goes through a complete reboot. Often, as with Syndicate and Fallout, this is because there has been such a long time between the games that recreating the sequel in the image of the originals would be impractical with the developments in gaming and graphics. Other times, as with Crash, the reinvention is a complete overhaul, yet retains the features people know and love. The cleverness of the Crash reboot with Crash N Sane Trilogy is that the gameplay is identical, but the graphics different enough to keep fans happy and give them something new to play that they would likely have forgotten about.

Sonic Mania's dust is settling still and excitement is abound for Team Sonic Racing. Perhaps the popularity of certain characters and settings will inspire producers to take the game down different routes. Or perhaps the return to the 2D side-scroller game will be permanent. Regardless, we are definitely excited about the last 25 years of Sonic and eager to see the next 25.
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New Zealand's Biggest Casino Winners in History
Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 5:15pm (BST), 0 Comments
The feeling of winning a prize from a slot machine, casino table or even some unusual game like Spin n Win brings up a sense of excitement, especially if it's a progressive jackpot. There's something quite satisfying about the knowledge that you've won when numerous before you haven't. Gambling makes it possible to lose a lot of money, but at the same time gain a massive amount if luck is on your side or if you have the right skills with other games. Over the years, there have been many incredible casino winners, even in smaller countries such as New Zealand.

For most of us, the thought of taking home huge amounts of cash from the casino remains a dream while others strive to beat the house and claim the rewards. Some play pokies, others take the time to perfect table games and the rest are simply at the right place at the right time.

With the list of the biggest casino winners in New Zealand below, we'll let you decide which of the wins were luck or pure skills. The list isn't in any specific order, but one thing we can say is that all the winnings are worth more than just a few dollars.



$10 Million Winning with Mega Moolah Online

In June 2016, a lucky player from New Zealand, named Rawiri Pow scooped up one of the biggest online jackpots on the well-known Mega Moolah video slot from Microgaming. The KFC employee explained that he was simply playing the games online and managed to win an amazing $1,500 at first, which already amazed him.

However, instead of cashing out, the Kiwi kept the reels turning, which eventually granted access to the progressive jackpot wheel bonus game. Not having major expectations, he spun the wheel and found himself progressing through the levels and reaching the mega jackpot, worth a gigantic $10 million!

The casino presented Rawiri with a huge check in a hotel in Auckland, which made national news, obviously. The KFC employee had no immediate plans of leaving his job and was eager to show off the reward to his parents who disapprove of his gambling habits.



Biggest Mobile Casino Jackpot - Won by Kiwi

Once again, Microgaming becomes the start of the show as a New Zealand player unlocks the biggest progressive jackpot winning on mobile at the time. The lucky player decided to play a few spins on Microgaming's Mega Moolah video slot from his mobile device only to find a massive $943,971 winning at the end of a few spins.

The winning took place in May 2013, which is around the same time mobile casinos started becoming popular. Before this win, no other major mobile jackpots were triggered, making the lucky Kiwi player the first big mobile winner.

There hasn't been any additional information about the jackpot winner or what he plans to do with the money as he chose to remain anonymous. However, the winning was confirmed by Microgaming at the time and the rewards were granted.



New Zealand Player Beats Roulette

In 2016, a lucky player claimed one of the best rewards he could've ever wished for while playing online roulette. The player chose one of the NetEnt live dealer tables and managed to scoop up over $100,000 within just a few hours.

In an interview, the anonymous player claimed to have used a combination of strategies, including the popular Martingale system along with inside betting strategies. He started with just $1,000 in his account and actually dropped down to below $500 before claiming the first win, sending his account balance up to over $2,000. He says within the first few hours, he managed to increase the account balance to over $10,000, allowing him to increase the betting values and really get into making profits. In all but 4 hours, he found himself with an account balance of $94,500 and the last few rounds sending him over the $100,000 mark.

He says he could've played longer, but with the massive profits he had already claimed, he stopped playing and decided to find a cruise for him and his family instead. It's unclear what he did with the rest of the funds and whether he went back to the casino to apply the same strategy again.



Virtual Blackjack Changes New Zealander's Life

In 2012 a player from New Zealand decided to check out the online casino world and came across multiple new variations of Blackjack he never knew about as a land-based Blackjack player. Applying the same strategies, he unknown players managed to win over $500,000 within a week!

At the time of his interview (after the winning week), he revealed he was playing Blackjack Switch, which at first seemed like a strange game, but with the new rules and features he was able to adjust the current strategy and apply it to the new game he found. The most incredible part of the win is that he began with a small account balance of just $200. "I had to begin small with the bets as my strategy was higher risk and could result in multiple winnings" he says.

He also added that after a few successful rounds he was able to apply higher risk and make bigger bets, granting more profits over time. When asked why he didn't use the same strategy at land-based casinos, he said the table limits of a regular casino game blocks any type of strategies, especially if you double up. Therefore, you end up losing a huge amount while you're simply trying to get back some of the winnings you lost before.

New Zealand's Biggest Winning Platforms

There's no doubt about it, the online industry claims much bigger winners, thanks to higher payout percentages and a larger variety of games. All the above winnings were made by online casino gamers while land-based casino winnings in New Zealand remains relatively low in comparison.

Most players claim that the freedom to wagering lower and much higher amounts on the same games allow them to apply new strategies while decreasing the rest involved with table limits. Slot players,on the other hand, have the advantage of playing jackpot games with the world's biggest progressive jackpots and with much higher payout percentages, some reaching the high 90s while land-based casinos tend to range around the min-80s.
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Best Slot Games in Canada: Our Hot List
Thursday, 28th June 2018, 3:08pm (BST), 0 Comments
The online casino realm holds the title of most cost-effective source of entertainment as it delivers substantial rewards by playing slot games found in Canada. Players across the globe can instantly access the latest, most profitable games with just the click of a mouse. But, with so many options, it is natural to be confused about what game is best for you. When you click here, we offer a tailor made list of the best slot games in Canada that not only offers a top-class gaming experience, but a rewarding one as well.

Mega Moolah Progressive



Microgaming launched this popular game with one concept in mind - offering players a chance to win some life-changing rewards. Even though the RTP is lower than most popular online slot games, the progressive slot provides players with 25 adjustable paylines, 4 progressive jackpots and high betting options. The 5 reel video slot features everything you would want in a thrilling online slot, including wilds, multipliers, free spins and bonus rounds. It is easy to see why Mega Moolah is on our hot list! With an African theme, a comical mix of characters and some entertaining background music, players are taken right to the heart of the wild, where adventure and big wins await.

The main attraction, however, is the 4 progressives that are ready to be paid out. These include the Mega, Major, Minor and Mini progressives that are triggered when you land the bonus symbol. The mini progressive awards players 10 credits, the Minor awards 100, the Major at 10,000 credits and the Mega at 1,000,000 credits. Players can trigger the free spins round by landing three or more scatter symbols, which pays out a cool 15 free spins. All wins scored during the free spins bonus round are multiplied 3x and can even be retriggered. This means that even if the progressive jackpot is not activated, players still stand the chance of walking away with substantial wins.

Thunderstruck II



Thunderstruck II is one of the most popular Microgaming slots available and has earned its place on our hot list for many reasons. The game is a definite improvement from Thunderstruck - the graphics are cleaner, there are more bonus features and players earn a higher RTP. This mythical game features 5 reels and 243 fixed ways, bonus rounds and multipliers, capturing the attention of both new and experienced players alike. In addition to regular wilds, the game features what is known as 'Wildstorm', which thunder strikes at random and turning up to 5 reels wild, further improving your wins.

Three or more scatters activate 'The Great Hall of Spins', which has the potential to unlock additional features. This includes 4 bonus rounds; Valkyrie, Thor, Odin and Loki. Each of these games trigger their own amount of free spins, each of which are accompanied by multipliers and potential retriggers. Not all the games are easily accessible, allowing an air of mystery to returning players with the hopes of unlocking something new. The lively bonus games add even more winning potential to the game, making this Microgaming sensation one of the hottest online video slots to play at Canadian casinos.

Avalon 2



Avalon 2 has taken the nation by storm through a series of creative loopholes that earn players a high RTP of 97% and reward them with expanding wilds, bonus rounds and double games. The exclusive and amazingly original game delivers multiple wilds that form unique wins on their own and trigger a series of winning combinations with extensive bonus features. The game features 5 reels and 243 paylines, creating ample room for winning combinations that trigger one of 10 bonus games. The game logo features as the wild, while the Lady of the Lake acts as the expanding wild and only appears on the third reel.

With 10 bonus games available, 8 of which can be triggered through the second bonus round, the game offers players the chance to explore and remain enthralled at every turn. Each bonus round is unique and provides winners with multipliers, free spins, winning combos, hidden prizes, memory games and retriggers. An added fight round within the mini bonus feature offers players one of three multipliers that increase winnings. In addition to all these impressively thought-out features, there is always the opportunity to discover more hidden features embedded deep within the game.

The Dark knight Rises



The Dark Knight Rises is an exciting video slot for players looking for some dark and intriguing action on the reels. Featuring 5 reels and 243 ways to win, players will enjoy excellent 3D graphics, sound effects and a brilliant batman movie theme, while the game itself offers hidden multipliers, free spins and a bonus round that can be triggered at random. During the bonus round, Batman and Bane fight it out to reveal accumulated free spins and accompanying multipliers. Land 3 or more bomb symbols to enjoy free spins galore as well as additional features like stacked wilds and rolling reels.

The graphics, sound effects and random bonus rounds make the game unique and allow Christopher Nolan fans to relive the thrill of the movie while cashing in on some exciting rewards.

The best slot games in Canada are easily accessible and choosing one featured on our hot list will guarantee a rewarding gaming experience.
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Most Iconic Recurring Levels of the Sonic Franchise
Monday, 11th June 2018, 10:50am (BST), 0 Comments

In 1991, the world was introduced to Sega’s speedster character Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog. Since then, we have been treated to over 80 Sonic games across all gaming platforms. Now, Sonic is one of the most iconic video game characters of all-time, with the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Rush Adventure, and Sonic 3 ranking among the greatest Sonic games ever created. The Sonic fanbase is huge and continues to crave content for the blue hedgehog. He’s so popular, in fact, that a Sonic the Hedgehog movie is set to be released towards the end of 2019, with James Marsden (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Westworld) starring in the film, according to Variety.

To showcase the greatness of Sonic so far, before a new era ushers in alongside the movie, we’re going to be breaking down the most iconic recurring levels of the illustrious game franchise. We had a similar opportunity to re-live many of Sonics greatest levels when looking into what would come on the 2011 release of Sonic Generations – the 20th-anniversary game – but, here, we’ll be digging into not only the levels but the themes with which Sonic games often build. One of the greatest elements of playing Sonic is that the level’s theme actually means something to the gameplay: it’s not just background. Each theme integrates itself within its individual levels in different ways, requiring the player to change tactics and get acclimated to the new area. The use of the theme at hand is what makes the greatest and most iconic Sonic levels so good. So, that’s how we’re going to set out: looking at the best recurring themes and then highlighting which recurring level is the best.

Sonic in the industrial theme


IMAGE SOURCE: Jackson, via Twitter

The industrial theme has been in circulation since the game’s inception with Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991. The levels in the industrial theme often take place within factories, sewers, and power plants, with girders, buildings, conveyor belts, and other metal structures being prominent across the level. They may not be the most visually enticing levels, but the use of fires, hydraulic machines, and electric hazards make the levels challenging and enjoyable. The industrial theme often comes across as similar in appearance to the urban theme but is far more difficult. On top of this, the theme is often linked to the villain Dr. Eggman getting closer. As is often the case in games, massive industrialization and factories are often linked with the hero’s nemesis, so these industrial theme levels often fit the approach of Dr. Eggman.

Levels in the industrial theme can be seen as hit and miss with the audience as some gamers will see them as being overly complicated, but it’s the challenge that makes a level that much better when you overcome it. It’s hard to argue with the ranking established by Paste Magazine, which declares Chemical Plant Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to be not only the best industrial level, but also the best ever Sonic level. While that is up for debate, it’s certainly a strong candidate for being the best industrial theme level. The Chemical Plant has appeared in Sonic Forces, Sonic Generations, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic Mania and consistently brings challenging gameplay, a mighty soundtrack, and edgy aesthetics.

Sonic in the casino theme



IMAGE SOURCE: The Sonic Stadium, via Twitter

One of the most iconic themes that run through the ring-collecting Sonic game series is the presence of a casino level. These levels are loaded with rings and include features and elements of gameplay which mimic that of games at the casino or arcade. Laden with neon lights, pinball flippers can be used in the casino theme levels, and there’s often a slot machine mini-game within the level which allows the player to gamble for more rings as well as earn points. The casino theme is an illustrious one in Sonic and across many other forms of media. As Betway Casino explains, casinos are embedded in pop-culture including films, television, books, and music. It comes as no surprise that Sonic features casino theme levels when the game emphasizes ring collecting – making the option to gamble them for even more rings a tantalizing aspect for many players. Sega itself has even branched into the casino resorts business, according to CNBC, so perhaps there’ll be more Sonic casino madness on the way.

The casino theme levels come along as a mark of progression in the game and offer a fun break from the blazing speed of the rest of the game. There is a huge range of casino levels on Sonic games, from Casinopolis to the Cosmic Casino Zone but, the best recurring level has to be the Casino Night. Present in Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Generations, Sonic the Fighters, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Casino Night always delivers exciting and rewarding play.

Sonic in the tropical island theme



IMAGE SOURCE: Sonic the Hedgehog, via Twitter

As a Sonic fan, there’s no way that you didn’t see this one coming. The tropical island theme is home to the Green Hill Zone, which is the most iconic level of the Sonic franchise. The levels feature lots of grass, dirt, blue skies, palm trees, and blooming flowers. The tropical island theme is the first that players encountered in Sonic the Hedgehog, engraining it as the perfect introductory level. A tropical paradise is a perfect place to start off as the hero Sonic as you enjoy the paradise before progressing into the dark, industrialized areas built by the villain.

As stated, this theme is so iconic because it hosts the most iconic Sonic level, Green Hill. The level is so integral to Sonic that, as a fan, a Lego version simply had to be made. Green Hill features in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Drift, Sonic Generations, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Forces, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Sonic Blast, Sonic Jump, and Sonic Mania.

Other themes such as the winter theme and jungle theme offer unique and innovative gameplay in each of their levels, but, when it comes to themes producing top, recurring levels, industrial, casino, and tropical island take the top spots.

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The Case for a Sonic Slot: Why Sega's Icon Could Become a Casino King
Monday, 11th June 2018, 10:24am (BST), 0 Comments

We all know that Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most recognizable digital creations in the world. First brought to life in 1991, the faster-than-average hedgehog was the something of a savior for Sega. With the Sega Genesis failing to impress the masses and Nintendo’s Entertainment System (NES) winning the console war, Sonic became a talisman for the company. In fact, as the brand grew, gaming fans were either Mario fans or Sonic lovers. Either way, the original was a hit and has since inspired a myriad of sequels. As well as Sonic 2, where we first got to see Miles “Tails” Prower and the duo’s subsequent spin-off, Sonic has made it into almost every corner of the gaming industry.



Why Haven’t We Got a Sonic Slot?

However, while we’ve got plenty of console, mobile, PC and even board games based on Sega’s iconic character, we’re yet to have a real money slot offering. Yes, there are some free-play options in the leading app stores, but no developer has yet taken the character into the realms of real money casino gaming. Now, you may wonder why this is a problem. Well, the answer is simple: almost every other famous video game or movie character has a slot game. If you scroll through the latest online slot machines, you’ll see everyone from Lara Croft and Hitman to the Incredible Hulk and Gladiator. With this being the case, it raises the question of why Sonic hasn’t been added to the mix.

Obviously, we don’t have the answer. However, we do believe there are some great reasons why he could become a slots hero. The first reason is obvious: speed. Online slots are known for offering lightning fast action. This ties in well with Sonic and his super-quick legs. Any slot based on the blue guy could incorporate a super turbo feature where the reels spin faster than the average slot. Beyond this, you could create a special Sonic-themed promotion. All online casinos have their own deals. For example, Jackpot City's bonus list contains a welcome bonus worth up to $1,600 as well as weekly offers based on a relevant theme. A Sonic bonus could be based on speed, where players that place the most bets in a set period of time could win a special prize.



Sonic Slots Would Hit All the Right Notes

Finally, who could forget Sonic’s catchy theme tunes? Those in the know will recognize Masato Nakamura as the original composer. However, such was the appeal of Sonic’s songs that Michael Jackson was drafted in to create the tunes for the series' third installation. With music being a significant part of the online slots experience, this is another natural connection between the two. The classics would obviously be part of the mix, but a new game would open up the possibility for some new tunes. Between this and the scope for creating some clever in-game features and bonuses, there’s no reason Sonic the Hedgehog couldn’t be the next big name in the online slots world.

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Our Favorite Hedgehog Will Once Again Be Spending His Birthday In Japan
Monday, 11th June 2018, 10:15am (BST), 0 Comments
Sonic The Hedgehog turns 27 later this month and aside from this making us feel old, SEGA's inimitable mascot will get his very own birthday party held at the Tokyo Joypolis. The original Sonic The Hedgehog game launched in North America on the 23rd June on the SEGA Genesis (no we're not kidding) and as a result, series producer Takashi Iizuka will take to the stage to talk all things Sonic including details on the upcoming Sonic Manic as well as the recently announced Team Sonic Racing.

What If You Can't Make It To Tokyo?

If you can't manage to make it to Japan or simply haven't collected enough gold rings then fear not - the event will be livestreamed via Periscope and YouTube, with links for these streams to be released presumably a bit closer to the event itself. For those lucky enough to be able to make it over to Japan, special edition merchandise will also be available as a means of proving to your friends that you watched Sonic blow out some 21 candles but as of writing this article, there's been no indication as to whether there'll be any birthday cake on offer.

Sonic is Officially Back After a Rough Ride Through the 2000's

After being a prominent video game character throughout the 1990's the last couple of decades have been fairly tough for our favorite hedgehog but SEGA recently ignited interest in the brand with the release of the well received Sonic Mania last year. It's fair to say that in his 27 years, Sonic has seen the gaming landscape undergo wholesale changes. From side-scrolling 2-D adventures to 3-D titles with higher quality graphics, online gaming is now a staple for most titles and developers.

With the introduction of online services such as the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, many games are now designed primarily with online gaming in mind. What's more, the types of games have also undergone a number of changes, with online slots from casinos providers such as Vegascasino now featuring prominently in many gamer portfolios owing to the wide variety of themed and often branded slots, bonus features and available promotions. However, with Sonic officially back on the gaming saddle, SEGA will no doubt be looking for a slice of the lucrative online pie for themselves and it's certainly once again an exciting time to be a fan.

Sonic Is Branching Out

We're not sure whether it's Sonic's advancing years that have given him more confidence but our favorite hedgehog is also set for his big screen debut sometime in November 2019. Paramount pictures recently revealed that Westworld star James Marsden will be starring in the live action hybrid movie which is loosely based on the original 1991 video game. With Jeff Fowler set to direct the movie, SEGA fans can rest assure that Doctor Robotnik and the magical Chaos Emeralds are in good hands. What's more, this added exposure that both Sonic and the franchise are now receiving will hopefully help boost the character firmly back into the mainstream where we all know he belongs. Let's hope so anyway.
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