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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru


"Happy Camper" Leads to Happy Players

27 May 2005

School's almost out and families will be packing up to go camping. To a lot of people, "roughing it" means an older RV (who camps in a tent anymore?). But no matter how you camp, to help you get in the spirit I recommend a few rounds of Happy Camper video slots by IGT.

I like this game's sense of humor. For example, one of the symbols is a roll of toilet paper—-you know, that you can take with you into the woods so you don't have to use dry scratchy leaves. Others are a marshmallow on a stick, a can of beans, a hot dot on a bun, a cooler, lantern, tent, ketchup and mustard, campfire, 6-pack, a conservation agent, a bear, and a packed-to-the-max RV with HC on the spare tire. The background music on every spin is an instrumental version of the Allan Sherman 1963 camping classic, "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," which actually was based on Ponchielli's 1876 composition, "Dance of the Hours" (but you already knew that).

The game has three bonus rounds. The Happy Camper Bonus starts when three RV symbols appear on reels 1, 2 and 3. "Let's go camping!" says Mr. Slot Machine voice. The screen changes to reveal three "campers"—-a goofy mom with big glasses, a dog and a kid. You pick one, and that determines how many offers you'll get. Being a mom (and not necessarily the greatest camper), I picked the mom to see how she'd manage. Then dad appears-—not the most attractive guy, in fact kind of fat and gross. Mom says, "Oh, dear, set up a nice camp for us!" just like I'd say to my husband. In an instant, he whirls around like a tornado and sets up a wonderful campsite complete with an outhouse—-best of all, he's skinny and handsome after all that work!

Here's the fun part: Because I had two offers, I could keep the 168 points Dad earned for me, or I could hit TRY AGAIN and see what happens. Heck, I'm a gambler so I opted for the second try. A bear shows up, blows out the campfire, the scene goes dark then reappears, with a few changes that added up to 236 points this time. "Good job, honey!" says mom. "Now I'm a happy camper!" So was I!

After a while, the bear and the conservation agent appeared on reels 1 and 5 for the Bear Raid Bonus. The bear travels to symbols on reels 2, 3 or 4, leaving bear tracks all the way. When he gets where he's going he makes a big mess and the symbols become WILD. You get from 2 to 9 free spins. With all the bear's crazy carrying-on, I ended up with 715 bonus points.

Then I played a while longer, but, I'm sorry to say, I never did win the Now You're Cookin' Bonus! Three marshmallow symbols appear on reels 1, 3 and 5, then you select one and it "toasts," earning bonus points for you. Since in real life my marshmallow always ends up toasting to a black crisp, I was curious to see if this video marshmallow would fry or not. But it was getting late and I had to go.

Anyway, with its timely theme and interactive choices, "Happy Camper" is a cute game I'm glad to recommend. I truly look forward to playing it again, to pick different campers and finding out what really happens to that marshmallow.

Until next time, enjoy life among the slots!