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Best of Pam Droog

Antique Appraisal Slot Separates the Experts from the Amateurs

18 April 2005

I have to confess, I love "Antiques Roadshow." I love the Keno twins, the guy with the ponytail and the show's perky "hostess." I've been fortunate in the past to have been watching when the painting bought for $1 at a garage sale is appraised at $500,000, and when the table that's "been in the family" forever is worth millions. I guess that's why we all watch the show, for those once-a-season moments when the owner of the piece and one or more Keno twins freaks out.

That's why I love IGT's Antique Appraisal video slot. There's always that chance that the spin (like an old piece of junk) will bring in a zillion credits (like the old piece of junk turning out to be an original by Paul Revere or Frank Lloyd Wright or Picasso).

The game is so elegant looking. The script logo is spelled out in sparkling gold, in a filigree border against a red velvet drape. So refined. On the screen, each line number is framed in gilt. The symbols are equally upscale, including a lovely clock, several hand-painted plates, a toy top, a toy bank, a dainty piano-shaped music box, even an antique slot machine. The sophisticated Antique Appraisal logo is the wild symbol. Adding even more high-toned atmosphere is the minuet-like music that tinkles in the background.

The game has three bonus rounds. The Slot Machine bonus starts when three or more antique slot symbols appear in any position. Three antique slot machines fill the screen. Pick one and you win its credit value.

The Real Find bonus begins when three Real Find symbols appear on reels one, two and three of a played line. In the first round, five antiques appear on the screen. As you select them, you find out if they're "real" or cheap imitations. When you've made all your picks, you move on to the second round where you choose the most valuable antiques. At the end of the round, all the credits are totaled up on individual meters. You could win 15 to 250 credits times your initial bet.

The most fun bonus round is the Ask The Expert bonus which starts when three Ask The Expert symbols appear on reels one, two and three of a played line. The scene shifts to a study that could easily be in a mansion. You choose one of the antiques on display, such as a plate, a painting, a sewing machine, a tray or a model boat. You also choose four of eight certificates of authenticity. Each certificate indicates a positive credit value, a negative credit value or a multiplier from two to five. The adjusted value of the antique is then offered. You can accept it and the bonus ends, or you can reject it and opt for a second opinion.

For example, I chose the tray, and it appraised at 85 credits. Hmmm, I thought it might be worth more so I went for the second opinion. The "appraiser" appeared on the screen praising my choice. I got extra credits for a 24 karat gold trim, the manufacturer's engraving date in the 19th century and gold filigree detailing. I did lose a few credits for a dent and "evidence of flaking." But when all was said and done the appraiser told me, "Wow! You should be very proud of yourself! You could be an expert too!" Final total: 165 points. Not exactly like discovering a necklace that belonged to Cleopatra, but decent enough.

I suppose my expertise comes from years of watching "Antiques Roadshow" if not from playing slot machines. Still, Antique Appraisal is a clever and enjoyable game, and another excellent example of what I've said so many times before: that practically ANYTHING can be turned into a slot machine theme! Until next time, enjoy Life Among the Slots.