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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru


"Easel Money" Turns Slot Playing into an Art

26 January 2006

In a previous life I was involved with a classic starving (broke) artist. So when I saw IGT's Easel Money video slot on a recent visit to my friendly neighborhood casino, I just laughed out loud. Imagine, the words "easel" and "money" together! Well, easy money was never part of our relationship. So I just had to check out this slot.

Easel Money definitely is an entertaining game, in a goofy kind of way. I put in my money and heard the disembodied French "host" (what do you call those voices anyway?) announce, "A new artiste to be discovered again!" His accent reminded me of Guy LaDouche on Spike TV's hilarious MXC.

The symbols naturally are paint tubes, cans and brushes, a palette, four "artistes" (a hairy guy, a hippie guy, an intense lady with dark bangs and a grandmotherly type) and framed words like CASH CANVAS and MODERN ART which are the two bonus rounds. The Spatter Scatter pay is a blob of paint.

The artists come to life when they contribute to your points total. The grandmother winks, then in a rush paints OUTSTANDING in her square. The hairy artist smiles, frowns and hurriedly paints THAT'S GREAT. The hippie holds up a thumb (why do artists do that?) then in a frenzy paints EXCELLENT. The intense bangs lady holds up a hand, squints and paints NICE JOB. Great talents!

The Modern Art bonus begins when you line up those symbols in any position on reels 1, 3 or 5. Pick one and win the bonus amount revealed behind it (you see the other two amounts you could have picked).

I lined up three Cash Canvas symbols on consecutive reels on played lines to win the Cash Canvas bonus. "Pick a symbol to reveal a new masterpiece," said my French guide. "This is what we call Interactive Art!" As I contemplated which symbol to pick (not that hard a challenge), he got a little impatient and said, "Monsieur or Madame, please touch a symbol! I can't tell if you are a Madame or a monsieur but the mustache is a giveaway!" Ha ha!

Okay, I picked one, then Frenchie said, "Welcome to zee Cash Canvas bonus." I was instructed to select a tube among the 12 lined up along the bottom of the screen, which had turned into an outline of a painting in a frame. As I picked the various tubes and colors filled the painting, it became a beautiful flower. "You're a regular Picasso!" said Mr. Frenchman.

I had automatically won another bonus round and going through the same motions, the painting was turning into a lovely sailboat. But then I picked a tube that squirted all over the place and suddenly the round was done. A paintbrush appeared and painted over the whole screen, as you-know-who said, "Congratulations! That was a piece of art!" Sure, but a great piece of art or a horrible one or what? Anyway, I got a measly 165 points for my supposed artistic abilities.

All in all, Easel Money is a cute game and fun to play. It even brought back some fond memories of my life with the artist (like going on a buying spree when he did happen to sell a painting). And the French guy is a riot.

Until next time, enjoy Life Among the Slots!