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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