Over the past few years, more and more online slots have appeared based on popular TV shows and films.
Developers love to tap into players' love of blockbusters and nostalgia about old classics. For the film studios and TV companies, it's a way of tapping into a whole new audience.
In 2018, the big releases aren't themed around comic books or fairy-tales, they're based on big movies, TV sitcoms, and even rock bands.
Really, all slots have been themed – ever since the invention of one-armed bandits decades ago, the games have been dominated by themed play.
The first games were dominated by fruit symbols like melons, cherries and lemons, a throwback to the flavours of chewing gum dispensed by early machines. While those 'classic' slots still exist, even in online form, other popular themes have begun to emerge and take over.
Familiar themes make players feel more comfortable. It's no wonder, then, that every big developer has at least one slot machine game under each theme.
Today, while the classic fruit-themed slots still exist, there are many more popular themes often built around cultures of luck and riches. Here are some of the best.
Popular Titles: Cleopatra (IGT), Book of Ra (Novomatic), Leprechaun Goes Egypt (Play N Go), Queen of Egypt (Gamesys)
IGT's Cleopatra remains one of the most popular slot machines in offline and online casinos. But every developer has their own Egypt-themed game. Typical symbols include ankhs, scarab beetles, and images of Tutankhamen.
Popular Titles: Choy Sun Doa (Aristocrat), Cherry Blossom (NextGen), Fortune-8-Cat (Lightning Box Games)
Slots based around dragons, cherry blossoms, lanterns, and other aspects of Ancient China and the Far East have always been hugely popular. China is a massive gambling country and its people have always been very superstitious and concerned with luck.
No-one can resist the luck of the Irish, and slots players are no different. Shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, pots of gold, leprechauns: you'll find all of these familiar Celtic-themed symbols in Irish slots. Typically, there will be several bonus features in Irish-themed slots, and a 'Trail Bonus' is usual.
Popular Titles: Mad Hatters (Microgaming), Wonderland (Gamesys), Pixies of the Forest (IGT), Silver Unicorn (Rival Gaming)
Online slots developers love to tap into childhood nostalgia. Fairy tales and magic are themes that firms keep coming back to. As well as that, they give the software designers the chance to load games up with cute graphics, magical animation, and interesting bonus rounds.
Why dream about winning a big jackpot when you can see the riches right there on the reels? There have always been slots based on getting rich. Cash Splash was the earliest progressive jackpot online, and it still draws in punters today. Mega Fortune, NetEnt's progressive slot, once held the record for the biggest real-money jackpot of all time.
There are a lot of slots developers out there, and thousands of games. So, how can firms stay one ahead of the pack? By developing big-name branded titles, that's how.
Film, TV, comic books– you name it, there's a game for it! Here are some of the most popular branded slots.
One of 2014's best online slots, Alien is based on the 1986 James Cameron space action film. Its innovative gameplay features a bonus round that is more like a video game than a slot machine.
Jurassic Park (Microgaming)
Released in 2014, Jurassic Park may be based on a film that came out 20 years earlier, but the familiarity of Steven Spielberg's classic makes the slot so popular.
Guns 'N' Roses (NetEnt)
NetEnt's legendary rock 'n' roll slot pays tribute to one of the most famous rock bands of all time, proving that it isn't just films that get the online slots treatment!
That's up to you! Putting aside any questions about gameplay, value, or software, the best theme will be your complete and utter personal preference.
If you're China crazy, then you will prefer to play a Chinese-themed slot - even if it isn't perhaps as much value for money as a regular game. If you love Ireland then leprechaun games might make your casino experience much more fun.
As well as the themes listed above there are many more themed and branded slots at online casinos and it's up to you to explore them all!