Big Ichigeki! Pachislot Daikouryaku Universal Museum

Big Ichigeki! Pachislot Daikouryaku Universal Museum
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Game Name: ビッグ一撃!パチスロ大攻略 ユニバーサル・ミュージアム
(Big Ichigeki! Pachislot Daikouryaku Universal Museum)
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): Ask Kodansha
Developer(s): Nihon Syscom
Genre(s): Slot Game
Release Date: June 1996
Serial Number: T-16704G
Region: JP

Universal Museum ScreenshotThis is a very odd game that I purchased purely out of inquisitiveness around all things Japanese – the game itself isn’t odd but the whole package is – the game’s cover features a rather presentable young Asian lady in a bathing suit which has no connection with the gameplay at all. She also makes an appearance on the back page of the manual. Maybe she is associated with the game subject in advertising material in Japan? This game emulates Pachislo machines; the Japanese equivalent of the one-armed bandit (also called fruit machines in the UK). With a pachislo machine you enter 1 to 3 coins, pull on a small lever and 3 reels start spinning. There are 3 stop buttons that when pressed stop the associated reel from spinning. The window in which the reels appear shows 3 symbols on each reel at a time. How you win depends on the number of coins you have deposited – the more coins you gamble, the more symbol combinations you have covered:

Reel: 1 2 3
————–
Row1: A B C
Row2: D E F
Row3: G H I
————–

1 coin – win on D,E,F only
2 coins – win on A,B,C D,E,F G,H,I
3 coins – as for 2 coins plus A,E,I and G,E,C

Universal Museum ScreenshotThis setup is similar to Vegas slots but there you must enter up to 5 coins to cover all the combinations and you don’t get the chance to stop the reels yourself.
There is no single jackpot payout on Pachislo machines. Instead you get what is called a ‘BIG WIN’. When this is activated, the machine goes into what I can only call an ‘automatic win’ mode when every spin is guaranteed a win. This will carry on for a few minutes. The machine goes mad at this point risking its fuses by flashing all of its lights and making a fair amount of noise!

Universal Museum (or to give it its wonderful full name – Big Ichigeki! Pachi-Slot Taikouryku Universal Museum) emulates 12 different machines. From what I can see it only really amounts to slightly different graphics but from looking at the manual (all in Japanese) there are textual descriptions associated with each machine name so they must have differences. I get the impression that in the world of pachislo this game is quite a big deal as there are all sorts of logos in the manual and on screen during the intro sequence – implying that there was some effort put into obtaining official licences.

Universal Museum ScreenshotThere are 3 save slots for saving your progress. When starting a new game you select a difficulty level 1 – 6 (default 3). My internet research into the subject reveals to me that this mirrors a setting on actual pachislo machines – with 1 being the most difficult. Despite having control over stopping the reels, it doesn’t seem to be a straight test of skill – the delay in the button press and the reel stopping seems to change but there does seem to be a pattern to it. My guess is that the difficulty level affects this.

You can slow the reels right down to a crawl in the option mode and there are other artificial aids to play that make it all seem to be a bit of a science. It all comes across as very hardcore and I imagine these aids would be a big help to someone who actually knows what they are doing. On the other hand I could be talking out of my backside and the whole interactive part of this game is a trick to fool players of the real machines out of their money.

At any time you can enter the comprehensive option mode in which you can (among other things):

Universal Museum Screenshot

*- Add more credits

*- Set reel spin speed (8 levels!)

*- Toggle ”Show all reel” – when this is on; you get a display showing each reel in its entirety beside its matching window with a pointer that moves as the reels spin – showing what part of the reel is currently in the window.

*- Toggle display of last big win (I think!)

*- Show stats : displays loads of stats screens and graphs (see one in the supplied screenshot). I have been able to work out what most of them mean (basic coins in – out and percantages etc.) But there are other screens I haven’t a clue about.

*- You can also ‘save’ the current contents of the reel window for some reason (??!!)) and there’s a facilty to mark the current symbols in the window so you can see them as they go by in subsequent spins.

*- There is also an option that when activated sometimes shows winning combinations at the top right corner of the screen while the reels are spinning. Haven’t a clue what its all about ! I must say I enjoy playing a game like this because figuring out what is actually going on can be quite a challenge.

*- Bafflingly there is an auto play mode(!) I have seen the equivalent in UK fruit machines – activated by pressing what is mystifyingly called the “George” button.

You can also select the background music track which consists of a few Japanese examples of elevator music. Mercifully you can switch it off giving you a chance to hear the decent spot effects generated by the machines.

I can’t say that this game comes recommended to everyone, but to those with an interest in this type of thing it certainly gives you plenty to chew on. There are 12 machines and the option mode gives you endless opportunities to fiddle around.

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