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Good Day Sir! A Wonka Project Update

By Misnomer on Friday, 18th September 2015 2:59pm
  » filed under Ooops?  comments: 14


As mentioned in the a recent installment of the VegasTripping Podcast, we had been working to bring you more information on what has become a bit of an obsession for us - the Willy Wonka 3-Reel Mechanical slot machine. We just love the game. The design, the gameplay, and the subject matter combine to make the machine one of the most enjoyable slots we've come across in quite some time. So, with that in mind, we reached out to the game's manufacturer, hoping to gain some further insight. And - scrumdidilyumptious! - they went for it! They threw the chocolate factory's gates open, and welcomed us inside.

Sugar rushed, we whipped up a frothy batch of sweet-ass questions, and forwarded them on.

1. Tell me about the development process for the Wonka machine.
  a. Did WMS take the idea for a Wonka-themed machine to Paramount, or were you approached by them?
  b. How much input did Wonka brand reps have in the design of the game?
  c. How long was the creation and programming process of the game?
  d. When, and where, did the game debut?

2. What influenced the decision to make a version of the Wonka slot with mechanical reels, in addition to pure video Wonka slots?
  a. Is there a preference among certain players for machines with mechanical reels? Who?
  b. Was this a specific effort to target that market?

3. When a bonus round hits, has the machine predetermined the outcome?
  a. Are the spins in the bonus round also random, or are they essentially “a scripted show” that provides set entertainment that will return winnings at the predetermined amount?
  b. Similarly, are the events within the bonus rounds random? For instance, in the Charlie round, is the selection of the multiplier random? In the Violet round, the Oompa Loompas occasionally multiply the winning amount. Is this also random? Etc. for each bonus round.

4. What can you tell us about the particular features in each bonus round?
  a. For instance, in a video posted to YouTube, a player claims he's figured out that Veruca Salt repays her winning spin randomly between 4 and 9 times, inclusive. Do you have any other details like this for any of the other bonus rounds?

5. Are the bonus rounds weighted in terms of the likelihood of hitting?
  a. In other words, it appears as though the Augustus Gloop bonus round occurs more frequently than the Oompa Loompa bonus round. Can you share any stats as to each bonus round's likelihood of occurring (i.e. Gloop 60% of the time, Slugworth 55%, Violet 45%, etc.)?

6. How much, if any, variation in game play is configurable by slot techs?
  a. Can a specific operator configure a machine, i.e. to determine how often specific bonuses will occur?

7. We're impressed with the length of the bonus rounds, particularly the Willy Wonka bonus. We've personally experienced rounds that last 20 minutes or more.
  a. Was this a conscious decision during the development of the game? What influenced that decision?
  b. Is there a maximum time that a bonus round can go on?
  c. Have you had any feedback from casinos regarding the length of the bonus rounds?For example, concern that the rounds go on too long without additional “coin-in” from players?
  d. Is there a way to speed advance through bonus rounds?

8. Do Wonka machines get updated software with different stories and bonus rounds over time?

9. Are there any "Easter eggs" or button codes that will unlock other sections of the game?

10. How is the Wonka machine performing for your company?
  a. How many Wonka machines exist?

11. Has the success of the Wonka machine spawned any ideas for other machines featuring beloved childhood movies?

They acknowledged receipt, and promised to forward the questions to the person best able to answer them. And then nothing happened. Wonkavision silence. We pinged, they didn't pong. We nudged, they fudged. Strained metaphors aside, for whatever reason, we just didn't hear from them anymore.

Hey, we tried. In the end, only Charlie Bucket gets the keys to the factory anyway.

Tagged: wonka   slot machines   scientific games   failure   


Comments & Discussion:

It really is unfortunate that they didn't answer the amazing questions you put together. It is understandable that some of this stuff is top secret, but if they applied the same creativity to the game as the questions, SciGames could've turned our little local VT obsession into a a viral freakout. These marketing folks had the opportunity to do some actual marketing, and make it as fun and creative as they wanted. Instead they opted to sit on their butts twiddling their thumbs.

This game is soooooo complex, sort of the "Dragon's Lair" in a pixelated world of slot machines.

Thanks Misomer for the great idea, the enthusiasm and the great questions. Despite our efforts, we get nothing!

It's not like Misnomer stole fizzy lifting drinks......

Oompa Loompa, what did you do?
Why aren't these game reps talking to you?

Anyway, maybe give Mike and/or Amanda another nudge. If you do, maybe add a link to this page as proof you're serious.

3. With the exception of new "skill based bonuses", all bonuses are predetermined before you play. I learned this at the game testing facility in las vegas where I literally saw the script that the machine produced in a bonus round. It ruined slots for me. Sorry.

Okay, some of those questions are like asking KFC for Colonel Sanders secret receipe.
They are not honestly going to answer anything that may sway slot players behavior for customers. Second they probably figured out this blog is pretty irreverent when it comes to towing the PR line. No way some low level marketing person is going to risk angering the corporate honchos. Vandalyind, sorry your slightly wrong on the predetermined bonuses, since you leave out the type where you randomly pick (these can not be considered skill based) examples are Jackpot Party, Airplane, Enchanted Unicorn, etc, etc etc. While the max payout maybe predetermined a player can fully influence the payout by random selection.

@Funkhouser If I had an opportunity to interview Col. Sanders, you better believe I'd ask him for the 11 secret herbs and spices. Because you know what? He might just give me 5 of them, and that'd make for a pretty great article. Thanks for reading.

Love the Wonka real slots and the original video slot game.

@funkhouser - Yeah no kidding - I practically broke down crying when I got a bonus game on Clue with a max bet (5x) where you selected prize levels and one of the choices I picked was $10 (x5 = $50) and I discovered I could've picked a $500 one...

I'd like to see the software rules of some of the video blackjack machines -
The local casino here had a high roller room with one of the ones with an actual video dealer ("real" dealers not allowed in my state). The room was always packed on a friday/saturday night and, although I would lose big, I could also win big over a month or two's worth of playing to cover a good chunk of the losses. We had regulars and knew each other, that's how often we were playing.

That all came to an abrupt halt when they obviously updated the settings and none of us could win anything. (Seriously, the dealer could be showing a 6 and we'd all have 20s and the dealer would turn over a 5 and then deal himself a 10 or turn over a 10 and draw a 5... Or enough to push the table - EVERY TIME, it was uncanny. Yeah you see the same thing in real card blackjack too but not at this consitent of a level for this long a period of time) How bad was it? The high roller room is EMPTY now. It seemed to me that they had basically turned the blackjack into a form of video slots and it's not based on an actual simulated card drawing.

You might want to try to reach out directly to Jeremy Hornick at WMS. He's likely the designer. He was interviewed in this (pretty hacky, but kinda funny) YouTube video:


(As a side note, there's a crazy rabbit hole of watching people win slot bonuses on YouTube. My recommendation is not to go down.)

I actually asked specifically about Jackpot Party and Texas Tea bonuses and they still told me the amount is predetermined and the spaces you select in the bonus round are just filling in the blanks to get to that amount.

It depends if it's class II or class III. My understanding from the WizardOfOdds site is that for Nevada slot machines, the win amount is not predetermined. "Based on seeing par sheets and speaking to industry insiders I can confidently say that if the alternative choices are shown at the conclusion of a bonus round then the game is honest about them. In other words the prizes were randomly determined and what you see at the end is truly how they were hidden." (Second question at http://wizardofodds.com/ask-the-wizard/slots/ )

However, Jackpot Party and Texas Tea also are available in tribal jurisdictions that have Class II machines, so those versions *are* predetermined.

@travisl your exactly right. Since we are talking about technically different slot games. Class II being based on Bingo gaming rules which were already allowed on Indian reservations and Class III which are not normally allowed unless the state has passed some type of expanding gaming regulations. KY is trying to compete with limited roll out of Instant Racing slots at some tracks. Interesting article about differences between II and III slots. http://www.casinocenter.com/class-ii-is-it-fair/

i havent been able to comment on this story for ethical reasons, but I back what Vandalay is saying. Don't beat yourself up over "you could have won THIS!" because you weren't going to win it anyway. I feel confident in this even after reading that Wizard Of Odds link.

To the best of my knowledge, the only machines that give you some influence over how much you're going to walk away with are ones like Top Dollar, that do the Stop Now/Keep Going dilemma of picking among unseen values. There's probably more than Top Dollar that do that, but I don't have the budget to find out.

Also, asking questions like "how well is this machine doing for your company" probably led to your non-answer. You probably need like a dozen different types of clearances to answer all the questions in that email, to avoid something like Tim Cook's comments on China sales possibly subverting an SEC rule.

Everything I'm saying is completely my own opinion, btw. This is the sound my butt makes when it talks.


It is a given that folks will skip questions they don't want to answer. The SciGames folks accepted the questions and in a later email said that the game designer was in fact working on the answers. A months worth of follow up pings, escalated back up the chain of command all went unanswered. The real loss here is that this article is about unanswered questions and not a crazy awesome discussion about Wonka as the template for all future slot machine play.

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