We have a confession to make. Slots isn’t the only thing we’re interested in. We have lots of other things that tickle our fancy. Crosswords, snuggling babies, scratch cards, Quantum Leap. And podcasts. One of our absolute favourite podcasts is 99% Invisible. And it just struck us that there are loads of 99% Invisible casino episodes that you guys would love.
99% Invisible is all about design in every sense. It covers architecture, product design, furniture, interior design, graphic design, colours… You name it, you’ll find an episode of 99% Invisible about it.
So it should be no surprise that casino related things feature in some of their episodes. Casinos, both online and offline, are a playground for designers. There is so much that goes into each game, into the venues and environments and every aspect of gambling.
Now we’re going to give you the lowdown of some essential episodes about gambling and slots from the 99% Invisible casino episodes archive. Maybe you’ll already know a lot about what they’re talking about, but you just might see things from a whole new angle.
Host Roman Mars (that’s actually his real name, although we haven’t seen the birth certs) takes you on this journey every week. So plug in your headphones and get ready to be taken on an aural journey.
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Episode 78: No Armed Bandit
This is a fascinating look at the evolution of slot machines. No Armed Bandit talks about what they were originally designed to do and how they eventually became the machines we know today.
Have you ever wondered why fully digital slot machines, and even online slot machines, often have a distinct mechanical feel? This episode will tell you all about why that is and how it’s achieved.
One of the best bits of this champion among 99% Invisible casino episodes is how it really goes into the psychology of slots players in both online and offline casinos. And we all know it’s true. It’s not about winning, exactly. It’s all about playing the game.
Episode 135: For Amusement Only
When does gambling really count as gambling? The question everyone wants to know. Especially the tax man, legislators and anyone that can make a buck off this industry.
99% Invisible’s For Amusement Only tackles this casino quandary by taking a deep dive into the world of pinball machines. Yeah, you read that right.
Pinball machines actually have a lot in common with slot machines, if you think about it. They’re often, but of course not always, a game of luck with immersive themes and they’re a hell of a lot of fun to play.
What you may not know is that they were illegal in many major United States cities for 80 years. That’s because, in the eyes of the authorities, they were seen as a vehicle for gambling. And because if you managed to win a game of pinball, you could expect to win a cash prize. Much like slots.
Here all about the violent crackdowns, mafia intervention and presence in casinos in one of the best 99% Invisible casino episodes.
Episode 302: Lessons From Las Vegas
Las Vegas has got to be one of the most recognisable places on the planet. It’s all about fun and games, and perhaps just a little vice. Well maybe more than a little vice, but that’s all part of the fun and games.
However, people who haven’t been to Sin City, or just general non believers in “that kind of thing” sometimes dismiss it as tacky or uncouth. If you feel like that, prepare to have your mind blown when you listen to Lessons From Las Vegas.
This episode is all about how architects Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi went to Las Vegas and discovered some essential lessons that influence many of the buildings we see today.
They went on their journey in the 1960s and discovered a world far away from the then trendy modernist architecture style. Las Vegas is all about what the people want and it’s all about what works. It’s democracy in architecture.
Overlooking the snooty architects that initially dismissed their ideas, they brought this message back. The result? Postmodernism was born. Listen to this 99% Invisible casino episode if you want to hear all the nitty gritty about how that happened.