Fri, Apr 5, 12:32am by Noah Taylor
Last Updated Tue, May 19, 10:19pm
Aristocrat was started in Sydney in 1953 by Australian Len Ainsworth. From humble beginnings creating electro-mechanical pokies for the local market, Aristocrat has gone on to become one of the biggest gambling technology companies worldwide. They now have operations in 200 jurisdictions – creating many of the best-known pokies for both live and online casinos. Len Ainsworth went on to form a second successful pokie developer – Ainsworth Gaming Technology – in 1995.
This company have innovated over the years – introducing new ideas for bonuses and game setups. Aristocrat created the ‘Hold and Spin’ bonus feature for their Lightning Link and Dragon Link pokies. This has now been adapted by many of their biggest rivals including WMS, IGT and Bally in various ways. Aristocrat were also pioneers of games with all-ways wins. These dispense with fixed win-lines – awarding prizes for symbols on consecutive reels instead.
Whether you prefer the traditional slots with solid gameplay and free spins bonuses, or the latest multi-media titles like Walking Dead, there are entertaining games in the huge Aristocrat portfolio for you.
When it comes to gaming, Aristocrat is a pokies specialist. As well as the regular casino pokies, this company produced free to play ‘social casino’ games via their ‘Big Fish Gaming’ branch. They are also active in ‘Class II’ gaming. This adapts slots for tribal casinos, using technology that emulates bingo cards behind the scenes. Aristocrat has also produced a small number of electronic table games and linked live casino jackpot systems.
It is the pokies selection that has turned Aristocrat from a regional player to the 2nd largest game producer worldwide. You will find highlights of their range of titles below. Keep in mind that these are just the best picks from a portfolio of 100’s of games.
There are distinctive elements which run through every game – from the simple 15-line video slots to the latest immersive multimedia creations. These include a distinctive double click sound when the reels stop, plus crazy ‘circus’ style electronic music for your wins. There are also jackpot setups which are used in many games, splitting the prize into Grand, Major, Minor and Mini.
Aristocrat was among the first to use the ‘Royals’ in their pokie games. These are boldly coloured letters that represent playing cards. You will find A, K, Q, J, 10 and sometimes 9 used in many games where adding more unique symbols would make the pokie feel too crowded.
Ranges of popular games include the Buffalo pokies (which still has new titles being released), Walking Dead games – plus many more TV, Movie and Music tie-ins. Lightning Link and Dragon Link games can be found at 100’s of casinos around the world. The ‘Hold and Spin’ feature that these pokies introduced is so popular that almost every other
pokie maker has adapted it in some way for their games.
With brand new titles being released all the time, plus an impressive back catalogue, there are 100’s of Aristocrat pokies to choose from. The games highlighted below are not only among the most popular, but they also give you a broad overview of what this slot making giant can produce.
There are now 3 live casino pokies based on the massive TV franchise. Zombies provide plenty of material for amazing graphics sequences and entertaining gameplay. These pokies use characters from different seasons as the main winning symbols. Walking Dead II is the most popular. This game has jackpots and free spins which start with a visit to Woodbury. Add in on-reel features which had special sequences filmed for them including a ‘Wild Horde’ and ‘Michonne Attack’, and you will quickly see why this game was a huge hit.
The original Buffalo pokie is solid, though nothing too special. Themed on the native wildlife of North America, this game caught the imagination and has since developed into one of the most popular ranges of casino pokies around. Newer titles include Buffalo Grand, Buffalo Gold, Buffalo Stampede, Buffalo Diamond and more. The new games all keep the core of the original – an all-ways setup with multiplier wild symbols. They each add something new. Grand adds big progressives, Gold adds a collection element to the free spins and so on.
Lightning Link is a range of pokies. They share a bonus system and multi-denomination setup. Hold and Spin bonuses were brand-new when Lightning Link first appeared. This allows you to win progressive jackpots and big cash awards. Add to this a free spins bonus (these vary for each title with 5 main ideas used) and wild symbols and you will see why these games are hugely popular. Dragon Link pokies have the same range of bonus features, these have Asian themes and distinctive styling.
Many pokie fans appreciate fast and furious action while they spin. Wonder 4 creates more action by letting you spin 4 sets of reels at once. You get to pick from different classic slots, including Buffalo, 5 Dragons, Wicked Winnings and others. You can choose whatever mix you prefer (3 of 1 and a single different game for example). Wonder 4 goes further by adding a ‘Super Free Games’. This lets you get multiple reel sets spinning at once for your free spins bonuses. There are several variations of this theme, with different games to choose from.
This is a classic Asian themed slot – one of many in the Aristocrat range. You can enjoy the classic 5 Dragons online – or choose the updated ‘5 Dragons Gold’ in live casinos. Key to this game is the all-ways setup, which combines with multipliers. Aristocrat introduced a strategy element with this game. When you hit the free spins, you will get to choose how many spins and what win multipliers. These could see your wins multiplied by anything up to 88x – giving 5 Dragons plenty of big win potential.
Cat-themed slots are now found in most casinos. Examples include Kitty Glitter from IGT and OMG! Kittens from WMS. Miss Kitty has a big-eyed cartoon cat as your host. This game can be found online and in live casinos. When you get free spins, wilds will stick in place. By the time you get to the end of your bonus, a lot of the screen can be covered in these wilds. Each time one appears, you will hear a loud ‘Meow’ from your host, who looks down on the reels from above.
Aristocrat Leisure did not grow into one of the biggest slot makers worldwide by ignoring regulations. This company are licensed to operate in 200 jurisdictions covering 90 countries around the world. This means compliance with a patchwork of laws and regulations which ensure game fairness and security.
If you check the ‘Information’ page (sometimes via the paytable icon) on Aristocrat slots, you will find the return to player percentage displayed in most jurisdictions. This is the percentage of coin-in that the machine pays back over the long run. 3rd party audits are used by licensing bodies to ensure that this number is accurate.
You can enjoy Aristocrat online with the same protections. Note that individual online casinos have their own audits. This is worth checking before you deposit, giving you an extra level of confidence that everything is above board.
Classic / older Aristocrat slots are available at online casinos around the world. The current restrictions in Australia mean they are not available for real money there. With the newer games hugely popular in live casinos, they do take some time to make it online. You can enjoy many of their best games including Buffalo, 5 Dragons, Big Red, Wicked Winnings and Miss Kitty online.
Yes. There is a mix of stand-alone and linked progressive jackpots available in live casinos. Internet versions of Aristocrat online pokies do not have progressives.
In brick and mortar casinos, many games are grouped. For example, Lightning Link pokies will share the same ‘Grand’ jackpot, with the ‘Major’ jackpot being specific to each machine. Look out for games where the biggest jackpot requires a larger minimum bet. An example of this is the Buffalo Grand game. Here you can only win the ‘Grand’ by betting $3+ per spin – though the smaller progressives are available at lower bet sizes.
Reel ways allow you to select the number of reels you want involving in the all-ways winning system. All-ways dispenses with win-lines, paying prizes any time you hit 3+ matching symbols without a gap from the left-hand reel. This gives 253 winning combinations for a 5×3 reel set and 1024 combinations for 5×4. With reel ways you can disable reel 5, then reel 4 and so on. This significantly reduces the cost per spin – while still giving you access to the bonus features.
Yes, Aristocrat’s impressive list of online slots is available in demo-mode at most online casinos that host them. You will also find these games on social (free to play) casino apps. Naturally, demo games cannot recreate the excitement of a big real money win. They do give you the chance to check out some slot history – and see the different bonus games for yourself before you enjoy the titles with real money at stake.
Both companies were started by the same person – Len Ainsworth. There are some small design elements which link the titles, though they are separate companies – with their titles competing for your attention on the casino floor.
This company invented Hold and Spin bonuses. These use special prize symbols, giving you 3 shots to fill in more spaces (which reset to 3 each time you hit a new prize). Other popular bonus features include multiplier wilds – for example in the Buffalo and 5 Dragons games. When it comes to the media tie-in games, the range of picks games, free spins and bonus wheel type features is incredible.