Every good slot machine needs a catchy theme, that much we can all agree on. The times of bland and copycat cherry games with lemons and 7s are behind us (although such titles still have a strong fanbase), as modern casino customers have higher demands and expectations than ever. At land-based casinos, players can usually indulge in a series of games with familiar faces featuring some sort of Indiana-Jones-style adventurer, Cleopatra, or perhaps a few mermaids and Greek gods. In the world of online casinos, things are more complex and, in my opinion, sometimes go too far. I would argue that many casino games cross the line of good taste.
Producing online casino games is a hard-knock life. The competition is tough, and customers are more critical than ever. In a saturated market, creators want to stand out and make an impact. Unfortunately, that desire is sometimes satisfied by the release of games that rely on the rawest emotions and instincts, flirt with bad taste, and are often downright offensive. Shock value at its finest! What’s worse is, there are companies that specialize in bloody and gory games, which we could easily call “snuff slots”.
At times, it seems they not only scraped the bottom of the barrel but also added an extra pinch of chills down your spine, just to be sure to get a headline or two. Considering I am writing about bizarre and distasteful casino titles, one could say the mission has been completed.
Yet, not even all shocking games are created the same. Next to somewhat timid and relatively harmless games about escaping notorious prisons, or having a blast at a wild rave party, we witness slots about old mental institutions, gulags, and cannibals. Do you wish to hear more? Suppliers toss in serial killers, and even border police (quite a sensitive topic with all the migration and refugee crises across the globe). Anything goes in the casino industry of the 21st century!
Some might argue casino suppliers release dubious games to raise awareness, but I highly doubt it. I think they are taking advantage of certain situations, practices, and concepts that are still controversial, all in order to be perceived as ice-breakers, and even “unconventional” and “original”. At this point in my career, I find it far more impressive when I see a well-executed game about Egyptian tombs, as there are so many it is difficult to stand out, than when I see a distressing game about a killer on a spree.
It would be easy to say that players should get what players want, but it is important to look at the broader picture. After all, we never know who is on the other side of the screen. Is it really a person older than 18 (or 21, depending on the jurisdiction), or a 15-year-old who heard about some bloody game on TikTok? Social responsibility doesn’t end with a disclaimer on your banner.
Even if we take minors out of the equation, companies must be aware that plenty of adult players might find certain images disturbing. We never know what kind of trauma some of them experienced, and what can trigger it years after. Also, people find all sorts of bizarre, and sometimes even illegal, things fun. Does that mean the casino industry should clutch to each one of them, with no introspective, and no questions asked?
In the end, it is not illegal to produce games that feed on stereotypes, the dark past, and even the darker present. However, is it moral? Unfortunately, to me, it seems that the moral compass is in many cases not working, and the needle is pointing in all sorts of wrong directions.
I’ll be the first to admit, there is no need to feel offended by certain things, especially if there are good intentions involved. For example, as a woman, I don’t mind seeing pretty girls next to the grid, but when all they do is twerk, I can’t help but close the game. It just feels exploitative, and I can only imagine how certain people feel when they see furious police officers, intestines hanging from the fence, or something even worse. And yes, it gets worse.
Call me old-fashioned and a delicate little flower, but there is a time and place for everything. And certain casino games just don’t belong to sites with mainstream appeal. I will go as far as to say slot games shouldn’t even consider serious topics or certain socio-economic and political phenomena. They should leave them where they belong, usually in history books, or the politics section of your favorite news site.
The casino industry already gets a bad rep, and most fair and reputable companies are working really hard to get rid of it. At the same time, some of them throw low punches and get involved in things they possibly don’t even understand, but most certainly don’t care about. The money-making machine that goes “cha-ching” is all that counts.
If you ask me, some things shouldn’t be introduced to the casino industry. If you want gore, there are plenty of zombies and post-apocalyptic slots you can play, without taking advantage of war prisoners, patients in mental institutions, and chainsaw-wielding killers. Or how about some angry-looking aliens? Also, players should be more proactive and reach out to their operators when they find something offensive. We all have a voice, and shouldn’t be afraid to use it to create a more pleasant environment for us all.
This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.