Vegas Slots Instructions

(I lost my original copy of the instructions - the ones below were transcribed from a scan of the instruction manual found at the Handheld Museum site. Many thanks to the maintainer of that site.)

1. Slide ON/OFF switch up to ON. (See NOTE below about ON/OFF switch)
2. You have three game variations to choose from when you play this "one-armed bandit": Press GAME to select 1 (Slot Machine), 2 (Double Dare) or 3 (Take It or Leave It).

GAME 1: SLOT MACHINE - A 1 PLAYER GAME

1. Press ODDS to select 1 or 2. Note: 1 gives you a greater chance to win; 2 is more like a real slot machine.
2. Press GO to start the game.
3. Press PULL to spin the reels.
4. When the reels stop, your payoff appears in the window. Your points are automatically added to your pot. Note: Every time you press PULL and don't win any points, your pot is reduced by 1.
5. Continue to press PULL to spin the reels.
6. Press DISPLAY to show your pot.
7. Continue playing for as long as you wish.
8. When you break the bank (by going over 999) or go broke (your pot is zero), you score appears on the screen and the game is over. Press GO to return to the options selection screen.

SCORING

One
 in the first position = 2 points
Two
 's in the first two positions = 5 points
Three
 's = 10 points
Three
 's = 10 points
Three
 's = 25 points
Three
 's = 50 points

GAME 2: DOUBLE DARE - A 2 PLAYER GAME

1. Try to accumulate points by spinning winning combinations. Press GO to start the game. Press PULL to spin the reels.
2. You can keep pressing PULL as many times as you dare in a turn except:
A. When you spin one Bar ( 
 ),
your turn ends. The points you earned in that turn are automatically added to your pot.
OR     
B. When you spin two Bars, your turn ends and you lose all the points you scored in that turn.
3. When you choose to stop spinning (before you are forced to stop), press TAKE. Your winnings for that turn are added to your pot. Press DISPLAY to see your pot.
4. The second player takes his turn. Player 2 presses GO to start, then PULL to spin the reels.
5. After one player reaches 100 points, with both players having had the same number of turns, the computer will signal you with a Win sound. (see NOTE below on sounds). The winning player's score is displayed and the player indicator shows which player won. Press DISPLAY to show the losing player's score.
6. If both players are tied with 100 points or more, the game continues until the tie is broken.

SCORING:

Three
 's = 25 points

2 of any other symbols = 2 points

3 of any other symbols = 10 points

GAME 3: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT - A 2 PLAYER GAME

1. Press Go to start the game. Press PULL to spin the reels. The left and right reels will spin but the center reel will be covered.
2. After the reels stop your payoff will appear on the screen. A pair gives you 5 points. All others give you 0.
(A  
  is wild.)
3. You can press PULL again to uncover the center reel or you can press TAKE to have the payoff added to your pot without uncovering the center.
Note: Each time you press PULL, your pot is reduced by 1.
4. If you choose to reveal the center, scoring is as follows:
A pair = 5 points. A triple = 10 points.
But, any time a
appears in the center, your score = 0.
5. Press TAKE to add your points, if any, to your winnings. Then, press DISPLAY to show your new pot.
6. The second player presses GO to start his turn. Then, he presses PULL to spin the reels and play follows as described above.
7. The first player to reach 200 points wins the game. In case of a tie, play continues until the tie is broken.

Remember to turn the power off when not playing the game.

NOTE: The game's original on/off switch is not simulated - the simulator is always "on". To simulate the effect of turning the game off and back on (to abandon a game that's not going well), use the browser's refresh button.

NOTE: The simulator does not reproduce the sounds of the game, such as the "Win" sound mentioned in the instructions. Javascript does not make it easy to program sounds. If anyone wants to help add that feature to the game, please contact me. I tried using pop-up message boxes to notify the player(s) when the game was over and who won, but they just seemed obtrusive and didn't fit into the simulation.

M I C R O V I S I O N
 
  *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  * *
 * V   E   G   A   S  *
 * $   L   O   T   $  *
  *  *    BY MILTON BRADLEY   * *
 
$$$$$$$$$$
 
 
 
1
2
SCORE

       
 
       
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Note: Simulator JavaScript tested against IE6, IE7 and Firefox. It has been reported not to work with a Mac Safari browser, and may not work with others. User assumes all risk.

Simulation Options
Run at Half Speed
Contrast:

Links
Bug Report and Versions
Microvision Simulation Home Page
Blockbuster
Bowling
Pinball
Phaser Strike
German Phaser Strike Program

Links to other simulated Microvision games will go here when (if) they get written


Simulator Notes

This was a tough cartridge to simulate, because the instructions are fairly vague, and there's so much random chance involved in the game's operation. Here are some notes that I wrote up about the three game variations to give some insight on the simulation - some "inside" information that may help improve your game play. Although really, there's not much here to improve. Unless you're a gambling addict, this was probably the least entertaining of all the games released for the Microvision. I had more fun approaching it as a simulation exercise than I ever did playing the original.

Game variation 1:

Since I have no idea how the original game cartridge calculated the odds of each spin of the reels paying off, I just had to come up with something on my own. The way I coded it, when you press PULL the characters on the reels roll by in a cycle: bar, slash, checkerboard, circle (which seems to be the way the original game worked, as far as I could tell by watching it).

If the Odds are set to "1", the leftmost reel will spin past a random number of characters, stopping after at least three, but no more than seven characters have gone by. This allows for an acceptable "spin time" and ensures that the reel has an equal chance of stopping on each of the four possible characters. After the first reel stops, the second will check each character as it goes by to see if it matches the first. If they match, the game generates a random number between 0 and 99. If that number is less than 40, the reel will stop (i.e. a 40% chance that the reels will match). If the character on reel two does not match reel one, it only has a 25% chance of stopping the reel. The third reel works the same way as the second, which should give decent odds of getting three of a kind. Slashes are no rarer than any other character, so the big 50 point payoff should come up every now and then.

If you have the Odds set to "2", the first reel will still spin past a few characters, but then it will start checking to see what each character is as it appears. If it's a bar or a circle, it has a 30% chance of stopping the reel. If it's a checkerboard, it has a 25% chance, and if it's a slash it only has a 20% chance. The character showing on each reel has no bearing on where the next reel will stop. It should be fairly easy to occasionally hit low paying combinations (single bar, double bar, triple bars and circles), but fairly uncommon to hit triple checkerboards and very uncommon to hit the big payoff of triple slashes. Of course, it's all still based on luck and random chance. While testing, I would often find myself getting more winning spins on Odds setting 2 than on 1, both in the simulator and the original game.


Game variation 2:

The original cartridge didn't allow you to choose the "odds" for game 2, and the instructions don't specify how odds are calculated, so I initally coded it with the reels independent of each other, and each character having an equal chance of showing up in each window. But the bar character seemed to appear a lot that way (with a 25% chance of showing up in each window and three windows to appear in, the odds were good that at least one bar would show up each turn). This caused the game to take forever, because each player's turn was usually over after just one or two spins, and getting pairs and three of a kind was rare. So I adjusted the percentages so that slash, checkerboard and circle characters are about twice more likely to come up than the bar is. That seems to make for a playable game.

The instructions are also vague as to whether the bar(s) can show up in any window, or if it has to be the leftmost window(s). From playing the actual cartridge, I discovered that it's one bar in any window that ends the turn, and two bars in any two windows that sets current winnings to zero. Also, if you get one bar and the other two (non-bar) windows match, you still don't get 2 points. On the other hand, two non-bar characters in any two windows are worth 2 points, which is nice.


Game Variation 3

For game variation 3, the reels are coded to spin independently and each reel has an equal chance of stopping on any of the four characters. For the first reel, a random number is picked between 3 and 7 (inclusive) and the reel spins by that many characters before stopping. Once the first reel is stopped, the second reel picks a number between 0 and 99 for each character that comes up, and if that number is less then 25 the reel stops. The third reel works the same as the second, once the second reel stops.

The "covered" middle reel really is spinning, even though the game is programmed to keep all the "pixels" in that window black until the player decides whether to uncover it or not. The game isn't "cheating" and picking a character for the middle window after the other reels have stopped.

As vague as the instructions were for games 1 and 2, those for game 3 are even less enlightening. While trying to program the simulation, I kept coming up with questions that the instructions didn't answer. After going back and playing the original cartridge for a while, here are some points that the instructions don't mention or aren't fully clear about:

  • Both players' pots start at 100. Since every press of PULL knocks a point off your pot, it's theoretically possible to get down to zero. I coded the simulator to keep playing in that situation, and just not charge a point for a PULL if the player' score is zero. I don't know if that's the way the original game worked, because it's practically impossible to get to zero.
  • A point is deducted from your pot every time you press PULL, including the start of your turn. So if you choose to uncover the middle window, you're actually deducting 2 points from your pot before any winnings are added. Unlike game 1, getting a winning spin does not "waive" the point deduction of PULL.
  • In the original game, if you pressed TAKE after the initial spin, the middle window was not uncovered. You never got to see whether you would have gotten more or less points if you had pressed PULL again. I thought that was kind of lame, so the simulator uncovers the window and shows you what you passed up. It doesn't affect your score at all. This is the only deliberate difference between the original and the simulation.
  • Both players get the same number of turns before the game checks for a winner, like in game 2. If player 1 goes over 200, player 2 still gets a final turn, even if he or she is more than 10 points behind and can't possibly catch up. The winning score is shown when you press GO after player 2's turn, when one (or both) players are over 200 points and the scores are not tied. Pressing DISPLAY will show the losing player's score. Pressing GO again returns to the "choose game" screen.
  • Your winnings for each turn are not added to your pot until you press TAKE. When that button is pressed, the score shown for the turn will return to zero, but pressing DISPLAY will show the current player's total pot so far. Pressing GO starts the next player's turn. If a player presses PULL twice (to uncover the middle window) and forgets to press TAKE before pressing GO, their winnings are automatically added to their pot before the next player's turn begins.