Funny man Al Murray has been drafted in to help out ailing British fruit machine designers JPM to promote their latest £70 jackpot fruit machine. The oldies amongst us will remember, and likely have fond memories of the great fruit machine era that JPM dominated 10 to 15 years ago, with Roller Coaster, Red Arrow etc. designed for the player, but arguably eventually to be destroyed by the player (small Coke please). They have been very quiet of late, in the U.K. Market at least, but have returned to the pub sector with an Al Murray themed series of fruit machines. You would assume having being absent for such a long time, that a great and unique come-back would have been delivered. Unfortunately tedium abounds in this poor knock off of Bell Fruits over used Deal or No Deal themed fruit machines.
Initially believing there to be some kind of fault with the machine that I was playing, the game ran at around 40% the speed of most fruit machines, making for a very frustrating and tedious playing experience. As it happened, it actually turned out to be an intentional part of the design! Zzz
Feature entry is from a win on the multi-winline reels, or from a row of barrels (Deal or No Deal boxes to you and me). Feature entry isn’t cheap, and was regularly costing £9 – £12 per board, so no pub change going in this one. Although there were moments when two or three features came in quick succession, it wasn’t a common occurrence. The poor amount of feature entries was mainly down to the barrels not trial holding. The JPM game brochure appears to suggest that the hold over is random!
The game is most similar to Deal or No Deal Crazy Chairs, with the features appearing to be mostly the same (averaging £3 – £6). 25p and 50p stakes start with white features, where-as playing on the hefty £1 a spin makes the features red. £1 play also appears to be a separate stake, which basically means if you put a significant amount of money in on 50p, changing up to £1 is not going to be a good idea, and vice-versa .
Instead of red boxes, Al Murray’s Big Beautiful Game does red win lines. A feature entry whilst red opens up the Deal or No Deal style game. This game can also be opened during regular game play, but is rare.
Along the bottom of the machine, a row of twelve darts is lit by the number reel; each number spun in lights up a dart. Many times the number reel doesn’t spin, so lighting up all of the darts can be very costly. It is also not random, so it will hold off from the last dart until it is ready. The JPM game brochure, which discusses the game, suggests that all odd or all even darts lit will award the bonus feature. This certainly wasn’t the case when I played, and was only awarded when both sides were fully lit. So unless they have released an update already, the person who wrote the brochure obviously didn’t play the machine. The numbers do however nearly always hold over, but are canceled out with a cash or bust win. Even a win as low as £1 will reset the darts.
Amusingly the gaming brochure goes into great detail to explain how the top feature works, trying desperately not to mention that it is exactly the same as Deal or No Deal.