Are Slot Machines Art in the US Culture?


Until his death in 2013, famous film critic Roger Ebert was one of the biggest critics of calling online games art. His argument was simple. No one can ever compare a video game or slot machine to poets, painters, and filmmakers.

Despite that, the debate on whether online games can be termed as pieces of art rages on. Those who support it argue that games are a type of post-modern art. And for this reason, they deserve a mentioned where art is discussed.

Of course, not all online games can be interpreted as art. But some slots are so well-designed that you can’t help but admire them. Here are the reasons such games should be considered art.

Dynamic Music

Music is the most accepted form of art in the world. In the casino space, it’s part and parcel of slot machines. If not used as soundtracks for a game, it’s used to complement a game’s story. Sometimes it’s also the inspiration behind a popular slot machine.

Why do slot developers include music in games? Music is a language. It’s inspiring, motivating, and expressive. Depending on how it’s used, a good soundtrack can motivate you to continue playing a game. Or it can complement a narrative—say Halloween, Christmas, or sports.

Music alone isn’t enough to define slots as art. But some games are so vested in the music sides of things that they are vividly an art form. A case in point is Lady in Red by Microgaming. You need only one look at the main character, and you start to make connections with the original song. Its settings, soundtracks, and storyline also add to the flavor of this game.

Modern Slots Tell Stories

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of art. When done right, storytelling can turn an artist into a legend, a movie into a classic, and a slot machine into one of the most played games. In all fairness, not all video slots have well-defined story arcs.

But some games hook you into a story right from the story and turn you into an audience until you quit playing. Take Immortal Romance, for example. It shares the story of vampires falling in love. And it tells this story so convincingly that most people who tried it once came back to play again.

According to, all the best free slots USA have an interesting narrative. Cleopatra, for example, shares the story of the ancient Egyptian queen. It shows a glimpse of what kind of life the legend lived during her time and immerses you in the story to win real money.

On the flipside, Gonzo’s Quest shares the story of a Spanish adventurer out to find hidden treasures. Your role is to help Gonzo find these treasures, and in return, you get a share of the gold coins.

They are Designed Through 3D Modelling

3D modeling is a form of art that involves computer software to create 3D representations of people and objects. 3D modeling is why we have graphically superior slots such as Gonzo’s Quest, Unleash Vikings and Game of Thrones.

It is a technique best done by graphics designing artists. It’s an essential part of designing modern video and casino games. Without it, online games would still be stuck in the world of primitive graphics that defined the ‘90s.

Gaming aside, 3d modeling is used in nearly every digital industry, from Hollywood and TV to websites and printing businesses. And in all cases, products created through 3D modeling are defined as pieces of art.

Illustrations are Critical

There was a time when slot machines included nothing more than fruits, bells, and bars as symbols. Those days are gone. The modern video slot is graced by tons of illustrations to add beauty and color.

The best part is that illustrations are inspired by everyday things. Some slots are based on sea life. Others take their inspiration from music concerts, sports, TV, and video games. The best slots have some pretty mind-blowing illustrations—1429 Uncharted Seas, Rainbow Riches, and Starburst, to name a few.

Are illustrations an art form? Indeed, they are. Illustrators are some of the best-paid people in the gaming industry. So, the fact that the projects they help create aren’t called art is unfortunate, to say the least.

Slots Personalize Experiences

One of art’s primary purposes is to help an audience make a personal experience with a piece of work. Someone could view a painting and see their own story in it. Someone else will ready a novel and feel connected to the characters in it.

Modern slots also tend to have the same impact. Some people play Frankie Dettori’s Magic 7 solely because it gives them personal memories with horse racing. Others play Rocky because it provides them nostalgia for the boxing film.

Of course, only a handful of the best slots have story arcs, graphics, and illustrations that immerse players to the point of feeling attached to these games. And for these games, they deserve to be mentioned when digital art stories are shared.

Slots are a Blend of Art and Science

This is something we can all agree on. Slot machines involve both art and science. The art aspect comes in designing, storytelling, illustrating, and music. On the other end, science requires programming and other technical issues. It includes adding software and turning illustrations and graphics into a game.

Science is also involved in researching and testing what innovations can be great additions to slot technology. And thanks to these studies, we can play video slots that support Virtual Reality. We can also play 3D games, live dealers, and have progressive jackpots in games.

Summary and Conclusion

Are slot machines a form of art? Traditionalists might not agree. But if you’ve played these games before, your answer will be a resounding ‘Yes.’ Video slots showcase a blend of art forms through storytelling, illustrations, and designing. And for these reasons, they deserve to be part of the art conversation.



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