The first slot machines appeared at the end of the XIX century in California. The most popular model was called Liberty Bell. It was from Liberty Bell that the traditional symbols "bell", "star" and "horseshoe" came. Before the beginning of mass production in 1905, there were no "fruit" vending machines. The three named icons were accompanied by card suits.
As the gambling business developed, new fruits appeared on the slot reels: watermelon, strawberries, and grapes. But the manufacturers' ingenuity didn't go any further than making 5-reel slots. In this form, slot machines existed until the beginning of the Internet era. In 1994, Microgaming from Britain created the first online casino with fruit video slots.
Fruit machines had 3-drums until 1960. As the new gambling game spread across the USA, various states began to ban it. The decade of persecution lasted until 1915, when gambling was legalized in Nevada. To overcome the prohibitions, manufacturers replaced card suits with fruit: cherries, plums, lemons and oranges. Thus, there was a disguise as chewing gum vending machines. At the same time, new BAR symbols were introduced. They were blocks of gum.
Please note that slot machines with fruit on the reels will have a limited user niche in 2020. Fruit video slots are particularly popular with two categories of players:
"Old school" gamblers who started playing real machines at the end of the XX century. "Veterans" are just used to the simplest gameplay and do not want to change it.
Novice gamblers who do not even know which buttons to click, and may not understand the meaning of the words "free spin" and "bonus".
However, to the disappointment of the "veteran" gaming audience, fruit slots are not popular with modern players. This was shown by the revision of the national ratings of video slots in March 2020. It was done by the authors of this material on the basis of data from the world's main resource that monitors online casinos. What statistics show:
But these are the three main global online gambling markets (Brazil and the United States are a separate conversation, they have their own manufacturers). Even the similar theme of "precious stones" is much more common.
In the early 2000s, both in the first online casinos and in land-based slot halls, fruit slots accounted for at least 50% of the total number. Most of them were "bare bones": didn't have prize games and special symbols. What they were, you can understand from the "Hot" series by Novomatic.
Ultra Hot: 3 x 3 scheme, 5 lines, 8 symbols, no Wild or scatter, no risk game.
Xtra Hot: 5 x 3 scheme, 5 lines, 7 symbols, has scatter and risk game, but no Wild.
Sizzling Hot: 5 x 3 scheme, 5 lines, 7 symbols, has scatter and risk game, but no Wild.
In all of them, the RTP rate is about 95%. In Ultra Hot and Xtra Hot there are increased payouts – sort of a bonus game but reduced.
What is the current state of the fruit theme in online gambling? Each provider has at least two or three fruit video slots. There are few manufacturers that released more such models in 2015-2020: EGT, Amatic, Playson, Netent, Belatra and Green Tube (this is the Novomatic brand for online casinos).
In the same national rankings, three fruit video slots were found to be in demand in almost all countries in 2020. But only the images on the reels are related to the fruit theme. Gameplay of every machine of these three is complex. Below there is a brief description of each slot machine.
Twin Spin (Netent): 5 x 3 scheme; no lines, 243 payment methods based on the adjacency principle; there is a single Wild; there are respins with expanding symbols.
Fire Joker (Play'n Go): 3 x 3 scheme; stack replacement symbol that can appear simultaneously on all reels; respin when filling two verticals with one symbol; wheel of fortune with multipliers when filling three verticals with one symbol.
Jammin' Jars (Push Gaming): 8 x 8 scheme; there are no reels; the principle of filling the playing field is "falling symbols"; there are no lines; a cluster of four or more icons is paid for; there are free spins and a bonus game; there is a Wild with a multiplier that increases payouts.
In addition, we would like to mention two fruit slots from Netent that are suitable for bonus wagering. They have a very high probability of a bonus game: for Fruit Shop it is 11.97%, and for Stickers - 16.4%.
Also noteworthy are two fruit machines from Thunderkick. Zoom – due to the unusual gameplay with block symbols. And Fruit Warp video slot is simply the best in the world for graphic execution of fruit images.