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October 2015 Retro Gaming Article


October 2, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Britney Spears' Vegas residency has garnered her a signature slot machine by Aristocrat

A story about Britney Spears' signature slot machine in Las Vegas got my mind spinning about casino slots, retro gaming and music. Pardon the following randomness...

One facet of having kids is there's someone to pass things down to. My son will be inundated with CDs, DVDs, and video games after I expire. However, it's not just about physical things. There are plenty of things I want to expose him to that are really not part of his generation. Music is something his generation sees differently from mine.

Britney Spears signature casino slot machine In the 80s, I laughed at cassingles (single hit songs on a cassette tape) and thought the same when it's tech graduated to CD singles. Aside from the infrequently interesting B-sides, singles-media took up the same space as the full album - a strange idea in the midst of the physical media movement. My son has most of his favorite music on his iPhone. His generation doesn't value the idea of an album - rather, they want to pick the songs they like at 99 cents each. Very similar to cassingles... in my view. I want the whole album experience.

This past Summer, Van Halen released 5 remastered CDs of their original albums. A grand excuse to splurge on Eddie and show my son the value of albums and how songs were carefully arranged on them by the artists. When you can peruse iTunes at your leisure, it's hard to imagine waiting a year (or more) for your favorite band to release another album.

Britney Spears signature casino slot machine We also delved into Dio and Def Leppard, but I've been saving System Of A Down for his next visit. These are all bands that are still releasing albums, but the music industry has all but forgotten rock & roll. Everyone is a pop star or into hip hop. My job is to ensure that AC/CD and Judas Priest are revered above today's domination by Taylor Swift - recently added to Fortune's "40 under 40" list. My son and I still like to sing along to Iggy Azalea's Fancy, but we know Kiss is far preferable.

Britney Spears signature casino slot machine by Aristocrat I freely admit I like Taylor Swift along with Miley Cyrus and a few Ariana Grande songs, but that form of music lacks the driving beat that rock and roll has always provided me. These lady's seem like overnight sensations, but I suppose they are rooted in similar time lines as earlier successes like Britney Spears.

/ Hold on tight, Stern Electronics segue approaching /

Stern Pinball

I can't put into words how much I loved playing Stern's Berzerk in arcades. While owning a few ports for various home consoles, I have never seen a Berzerk arcade game since I was a teenage arcade addict. While now defunct in the video game world, Stern has evolved into the premiere pinball manufacturer in the world. Much of that success comes from creating tables themed after iconic bands, pop culture, and high profile commodities. This model has served them well.

Their AC/DC, Metallica, and Kiss pinball tables have garnered a lot of attention outside the gaming industry. Their tables have mass appeal and part of this has to do with their quality and ability to capture their subjects within the confine of a pinball game. From elaborate art work to infusing icons of Kiss' magnitude and popular shows like The Walking Dead into the tables, they remain high profile and on the cutting edge of melding pop culture into gaming. The Governor's Aquarium topper was astounding and wildly unique.

This is a model I wasn't very familiar with. I wouldn't have though it possible to create a pinball games around a rock band, TV show, or pop culture and enable the game to remain pure while garnering it's audience. My confusion came from the relationship not being a celebrity endorsement for Stern as a company. These tables seem to add validity to the artists. It's similar to musicians who would ask Weird Al to parody their songs - it was a badge of honor. Well done, Stern Pinball.

Britney Spears signature casino slot machine screen

Britney Spears Slot Machine

Hedging back toward my affinity for Britney Spears, I find a similar affiliation in her signature casino slot machine released by Aristocrat. She has a residency agreement in Las Vegas and now a signature slot machine. It boasts multiple 4K curved monitors with images from various phases of her career.

Her fans can see her Vegas show and play her slot machine. Britney has no connection to gambling aside from the performance venue, yet there she stands in front of her signature casino game. Her celebrity creates a draw which has been turned into a high-end slot machine.

I wonder if this will happen in video games. Which celebrity do you think has the star-power to be put into a video game as themselves, but removed from their persona or character - unlike the myriad of movie tie-in games. Kind of like The SNES & genesis game, Shaq Fu. If anyone can pull it off, my money is on Taylor Swift. There's a lot of power and business acumen behind that country gal gone pop star.

Epilogue:

I began writing this after discovering Britney has a signature slot machine in Vegas. The only thing I could liken it to was Stern's iconic pinball tables for Metallica, AC/DC, and Kiss. This reminded me that I need to expose my son to Metallica as he already has an affinity for Gene, Paul, Ace, and Angus. It's really important that today's youth doesn't dive blindly into what the times see fit to offer. They need to explore the niches of music and gaming and find the treasures buried there. I feel bad for the kid playing Xbox who's never played Yar's Revenge while listening to Detroit Rock City. The world has much more to offer than the costly trinkets from devious marketing execs. Make the world your own!



Britney Spears is No Stranger to Video Games

Britney was put front and center in this button-matching dance game. It's a good example of a celebrity being placed in a video game as their persona. In this case Britney is auditioning "you" as a dancer for her upcoming tour. Pretty much what we'd expect to see. I want to see celebrity taken out of their expected context. Kind of like Shaq Fu being a fighting game - we expect Shaq to be in a sports oriented title, not a 2D fighter.

Britney's Dance Beat Screen shot from Britney's Dance Beat video game
Britney's Dance Beat for Game Boy Advance Britney's Dance Beat for Game Boy Advance.
Britney's Dance Beat for PS2 Britney's Dance Beat for PS2.

Let's remove celebrities from the roles that brought on their celebrity status and drop them into a video game. Am I the only one who wants to see Taylor Swift in a 2D fighter?

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