From Arcades to Online Casinos: The Evolution of Pokies

Over the years, the gaming industry has developed from vintage style of arcade games to the present day online casino games. This journey has witnessed an evolution of one of the most popular forms of gambling, known as “pokies,” in Australia or more commonly “slot machines”, both in the brick and mortar and online casinos. Lets dive into a brief of pokies starting from the history, the role of arcade games, technology, as well as the legal aspect of online casinos in Australia.

History of Slot Machines

The history of pokie machines can be told to have started in the late 1800s. The first true slot machine also known as the Liberty Bell was developed by Charles Fey around 1895. This mechanical marvel featured three spinning reels and five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and the Liberty Bell and there are four suits in the game which are; diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. This game was very simple, yet fun, and it gained immense popularity that paved the way for the development of modern pokies.

When casinos appeared in the 20th century, slot machines became very popular in the sphere of gambling. From the mechanical slot machines, these machines developed into electro-mechanical machines with more elaborate configurations and larger pay outs. Surprisingly, the design of the earliest slot machines is quite similar to the modern arcade games; they were colorful and had simple mechanics.

Influence of Arcade Games on Today’s Online Pokies

It is quite important to note that the culture of arcade games. They started being produced in the 1970s and the 1980s their influence was felt in the design and play of modern online pokies. Arcade games were known to have bright colors, good music scores and above all, good gameplay. Thus, these elements have been incorporated into online pokies and give players a nostalgic feeling with a new twist.

Another factor that can be considered an influence is the bonus rounds and mini-games that are present in most of the games, similar to the levels in arcade games. For instance, most contemporary online pokies include bonus games where the player has to perform certain activities to gain points and progress to the next level, as in an arcade game.

Popular Arcade-Themed Online Pokies

Space Invaders: This online pokie is clearly inspired by the arcade hit from the late 1970s. It has the conventional space theme design, and the player can have a chance to play a bonus game where they shoot space aliens to gain more points.

Features: Space related icons, alien characters, and the bonus shooting game.
RTP: Around 96%.
Symbols: Invading aliens, spaceships, photon torpedoes.

Pac-Man Wild Edition: The theme of this pokie is based on the legendary Pac-Man arcade game where characters and symbols are similar. Also, there is a bonus round in which players have to guide Pac-Man through a maze to collect items rewarded to them.

Features: Maze navigation bonus game; symbols of the original Pac-Man game.
RTP: Approximately 96.1%.
Symbols: Pac-Man, ghosts, fruits.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Slot: This is another pokie that is based on the fighting arcade game; the symbols and the background of this pokie game will remind you of the World Warrior game. Battles can also be conducted whereby the player is awarded a certain number of coins that are added to their initial stake.

Features: Some of these include character versus character fights and fight mini-games.
RTP: About 96.06%.
Symbols: Famous characters such as Ryu, Ken and Chun Li.

Gonzo’s Quest: The game is not an arcade style game per se, but it has some features. For example the ‘cascading reels’ and an adventure theme which is quite common with arcade games.

Features: Scatter symbols, multi-levels, wilds, and an adventure theme.
RTP: 95.97%.
Symbols: Symbols with Inca themes, Gonzo character.

Arcade Bomb: This online pokie comes with a 1980s arcade-style design and bombs in bright, neon colors that blow up and make winning lines. The look and play of its design are dominated by the principles of arcade gaming, which is characterized by simplicity and enjoyment.

Features: Old school layout, bombs going off to gain points.
RTP: 96.15%.
Symbols: Lively bombs, fruit icons.

Technological Advancements

Moving from mechanical slot machines to online pokies is a great advancement in technology. Original slot machines did not have electronics, they were purely mechanical with gears and levers. Microprocessors came into these machines in the 1980s and this made the games to be more detailed and the jackpots to be bigger.

The advancement of technology especially in the digital age has boosted pokies even further. Online pokies are imploying employing state of the art software and RNGs for their gaming. Integrating high definition graphics, sound effects and interactive features has improved the general playing experience. The use of advanced gadgets especially smartphones has also boosted the uptake of online pokies since they can be played at any time and from any place.

Legal Status of Online Casinos in Australia

Knowing the legal framework of online gambling in Australia is vital to help players avoid scams and have positive experience at online casinos. Online gambling in Australia is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA). It bars online casinos from providing real money gambling services to Australian citizens. However it does not bar Australians to play at offshore casinos, so it it legal for Aussies to play at online casinos, as long as they are not situated in Australia.

Advice for Players

  • Check for Licensing: Make sure that the casino has a licence from a recognized authority like Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, Curaçao eGaming.
  • Read Reviews: This will help you choose a reliable casino, so you should consult review sites to get the right information.
  • Responsible Gambling: Set a maximum amount of time and money to be spent on gambling and seek help in case of any issues.


The evolution of pokies, from mechanical slot machines in the 1800s to today’s sophisticated online casino games, highlights the casino industry’s dynamic growth. Influenced by arcade games modern online pokies combine nostalgia with advanced technology, featuring high-definition graphics, sound effects, and interactive elements. These advancements, along with mobile accessibility, have transformed the gaming experience.

For Australian players, understanding the legal landscape and choosing licensed, reputable online casinos is quite important. Explore more about online pokies and find reliable casinos at Get valuable information from reviews and recommendations for an enjoyable online casino experience.

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