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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru

 

Trivial Pursuit Slot Tests Your Luck and Memory

6 September 2004

In anticipation of attending a trivia night fundraiser soon, I decided it might be a good idea to play Mikohn's Trivial Pursuit video reel slot game. That way I could test my knowledge of completely unimportant facts and possibly take home more money than I brought with me to the casino. Not a bad deal.

The Trivial Pursuit slot is one of Mikohn's "Think Big" knowledge-based slots. Others include Clue, Battleship, Yahtzee Looking for Love and Ripley's Believe It or Not. The concept is that these games allow players to use their brains to solve puzzles or answer questions during bonus rounds. As a result, players have a chance to affect the outcome of each game, rather than simply pressing a button to make a random choice.

Mikohn believes this gives players an incentive to play longer and win more. After all, if you don't know which country the Galapagos Islands belong to (Ecuador), maybe for the next round you'll know who the secretary general of the United Nations is (Kofi Annan). I think Mikohn's onto something here, because I sure did spend some measurable time and money playing Trivial Pursuit.

The slot is housed in a beautiful and colorful cabinet, topped off by the games' elegant logo. It's fast moving and features first-class animation and graphics plus stereo sound. This particular version is called Easy As Pie and "there's nothing half-baked about it," says the sales literature. I agree.

I put in my money and had to make some decisions, like how much to wager on this 9-line, 5-coin machine, and what Trivial Pursuit Category to pursue: People and Places, History, Pot Luck, Entertainment, Sports and Leisure or Science and Nature. The reel symbols relate more or less to the categories, including drums, a movie projector, stopwatch, cannon, dragon, airplane, baseball and others: They're all animated to "do things" when they're part of a credit-earning combination; the cannon explodes, the dragon breathes fire, the stopwatch ticks, the airplane pulls a banner (that reads Trivial Pursuit).

The game offers three interactive bonus rounds that test your trivia knowledge, plus a free spin when "Spin Again" appears in any position. I won a free game--but it was also a fast, and creditless, game. Oh well.

Still, I had a good time on this slot. Three whirling question-mark symbols came on which meant I hit the Favorite Category bonus. The screen revealed my category, Entertainment, and I had to choose from three possible answers to the question, "For what 1963 film did Patricia Neal win the Best Actress Oscar?" That's easy-"Hud." I picked up 72 credits.

The Easy As Pie bonus is triggered when three or more pie symbols appear. The screen changes to a big pie symbol, one for each category. Pick one and answer a trivia question in it for extra credits. In the third bonus, the Quick Pick, you see the Trivial Pursuit board game on the screen as the game's familiar colored ovals appear over it. Touch three of the six ovals to uncover the bonuses hiding behind them.

I enjoyed playing Trivial Pursuit and was impressed with how a slot machine can combine a board game and an interactive video reel. But to be honest, I didn't hit enough Easy As Pie or Favorite Category bonuses to get much of a jump on the upcoming trivia contest. Fortunately we've lined up some reality show experts for our team, as well as a couple of sports freaks and movie fans. I think we'll be okay.