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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru

 

Life among the Slots: IGT's Phone Tag Dials the Right Number

3 May 2004

When IGT announced its lineup of new slots at the recent Global Gaming Expo, one of the wackiest titles, in my opinion, was the Phone Tag video slot. Imagine, a slot machine based on miscommunication. Well, if they can make a slot about Spam, they can make a slot about anything, including garbled gossip.

Sometimes it takes quite a while until a slot I read about makes its way to Missouri. So I truly was delighted to discover that Phone Tag was up and running at my friendly neighborhood Missouri casino. I sat down, got out my nickels, read the payouts and Help information and spent some time (and money) at this fun and funny slot.

Phone history

The first thing you notice is a comical illustration on the top box of the slot that more or less sets the stage. Displayed around pictures of a gang of zany characters are voice balloons containing the following progression: "This game has really big wins!" "Your sister has big fins?" "Bananas give me the spins" and "I've got a hot date with twins?!" You see how goofy things can get!

The game's symbols are a veritable history of the telephone, including two cans connected with string, an old-fashioned phone with a separate mouthpiece, an old-fashioned wind-up wall phone, a rotary dial phone, a cell phone and a phone that looks like a rocket ship. Then there are characters using the phone, such as a man drinking coffee while on the phone, a lady reading a book while on the phone and a robot on the phone. The Wild symbol is a phone that looks like a duck.

When you first put in your coins, tokens or tickets, you hear a telephone ring. Then with each spin you hear dialing and conversations, and frequently, "Tag you're it!" Cute!

Two bonuses

When three Gossip symbols land on the first three reels on a played line, the Gossip bonus kicks in. You select one of 12 characters who calls the next character in the circle, who calls the next character, who calls the next and so on. With each new person--and mangled message--you receive a credit value, a multiplier, or free calls. The round ends when the original character is called back. Of course by then the conversation has absolutely no resemblance to the original!

The Call Around The World bonus starts when three or more Call Around The World symbols (the rocket-shaped phone) land in any position on the reels. You get three to five separate bonus game symbols that spin individually within the larger, stationary reels. For example, if a cell phone appears, you win credits and a free spin. "Busy" has no value but redials. And "No Answer" has no value.

When you've picked all the rocket symbols, you win the total of any bonus credits that have accumulated plus the value of any multiplier times your original bet.

The top prize is awarded when five Wild Duck phone symbols appear together on a payline with a maximum bet wagered. The quacking phone is enough to make you crack up!

I'm sure the IGT technicians had a blast coming up with the increasingly misinterpreted lines you hear throughout Phone Tag. Like the old-fashioned Telephone Game on which it's based, Phone Tag offers uncomplicated slot fun and the chance to win money too!

What? You're going to dance 'til you're blue?

These plants really grew?

Her pants are new?

Okay, I'll hang up now.