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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru

 

Life among the Slots: Keepin' Up With the Joneses

20 May 2005

"Keepin' Up With the Joneses" will have you keepin' up with the Bonuses!

It's no wonder I was attracted to this particular video slot: not too long ago I married to Mr. Jones! Although I'm not aware of anyone trying to keep up with us, I know for a fact you'll enjoy yourself keeping up with the fun when you play this WMS Gaming slot.

It's a game about competition: You against Mr. or Mrs. Jones, as well as you against the slot microchip. But with four bonus rounds, there's plenty of competition to go around.

The game's symbols are interesting: money bags, a sports car, JONES, a house, a lawn mower, designer purse and shoes, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Jones, golf clubs and a drill. Yes, a drill--I assume that signifies a house in need of repair that shows up on the House Bonus.

But first let me tell you about my namesake bonus round--the Jones Bonus. It's activated when three Mr. Jones symbols land on reels 1, 2, and 3, or when three Mrs. Jones symbols appear on reels 3, 4, and 5 on an active pay line. A white picket fence appear on the screen, then slides off to reveal fancy framed portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Jones. You pick one of them and the contest begins.

I picked Mrs. Jones, since that's technically me, too. Then the screen splits between her and Mrs. Player who's younger and more casually dressed. The goal of this round is to try to outdo the Joneses by picking items that are more valuable than theirs. You get three picks from seven categories: who has the better dog, car, clothes, vacation, home, boat or more money in the bank. The first thing I learned is don't jump to conclusions, because first I picked the dog and, expecting some uptown poodle to show up, I was quite surprised when a scruffy mutt bounded over to Mrs. Jones. Then Mrs. Player's dog appeared, a very lovely and well groomed animal, earning Mrs. Player 75 credits (Mrs. Jones only got 50 for her pooch).

Next I picked the house category. Again, expecting a mansion to appear behind Mrs. Jones, a little log cabin appeared. But Mrs. Player's house turned out to be a cardboard box! For my last pick I went with clothes. This time Mrs. Jones, as I expected, was decked out in a ball gown, while Mrs. Player was in jeans. Mrs. Jones did a little victory dance and the round ended. However, since Mrs. Player's total amount from the three rounds was higher than Mrs. Jones', I won both ladies' credits. If Mrs. Jones had won I only would have won Mrs. Player's credits.

After a few more spins I hit the House Bonus, when three House symbols appeared. The screen shifts to a house very much in need of repair, almost looking like a haunted house. The object is to pick various highlighted parts of the house to improve, in order to boost its value and, I guess, keep up with the Joneses (even though they live in a log cabin, according to the previous bonus). "This house sure needs some work!" said the voice from within the machine. I picked the front door, then the garage, then a gable, then the landscaping, then a broken window--and that's when I hit MONEY PIT and the round was over. But I won a decent amount of credits for all my hard repair work. What's cute is that each area selected gets instantly "fixed" and the house starts to look very nice.

There's also the Lawn Mower Bonus that kicks in when three mower symbols appear. You pick one, and hopefully it's the one with the biggest motor, ranging from the typical 10cc motor, to the 500cc motor with a special breather, to the whopper 5,000cc motor with a chrome tail pipe. The bigger the motor, the more credits you win. Finally, the Sale Tag Bonus begins when three Sale Tag symbols land on reels 3, 4 and 5. Choose one of the tags to find the one with the biggest savings, from 30% to 90% off. The percentage you select equals your award credits.

Being both Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Player, I could relate to both of them and therefore had double the fun playing "Keepin' Up With The Joneses." With its many bonuses and clever surprises, it's a game that can hold your interest for quite a while--whether or not you're a Jones yourself.