It’s a credit to the creators that even the simplest games in the world have somehow found new life in the era of social media trends and hashtags. While the obvious candidates involve match-three games and word puzzles, like the New York Times-endorsed Wordle, both bingo and slots have gone in directions that would have baffled players just a few years back.
Pen and Paper
As even many non-players are aware, bingo is a pen and paper game, although it’s perhaps fairer to say that it’s mainly played with finger and phone these days. This shift in technological direction has changed very little about the standard game, other than how players communicate with each other and how the balls are called and marked off – automatically, in some cases.
However, variants of this storied game have existed for a long time. One example involves melding bingo and slots to create Slingo, an experience that swaps the bingo caller for a spinning reel. These two casino games, bingo and slots, have become intertwined since they developed a presence online, and the vast majority of operators will carry at least a few slots besides the standard bingo fare.
Of course, slots are the most popular casino game of all, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they have such a large footprint on the internet. So much so, in fact, that there are dedicated sites with thousands of pokies to choose from, including content from Blueprint Gaming, Evolution, Microgaming, and Quickspin. The choice of not only game but the game developers is telling of a thriving industry with a lot of potential. Slingo is quite a game-changing experience, though, so what about the more classic bingo variants?
Successful experiments to date include games that change the standard line or house into different shapes (corners, edges, or letter patterns) but there are some games that adjust the number of balls in play, change the size of the bingo card, or swap the numbers for something else entirely. In the latter case, using animals produces the popular US bingo game Roadkill.
Losing or adding a few balls changes one major aspect of bingo – the speed at which it is played. You’ll most likely come across 75 and 80-ball bingo online, but one particularly crazed scientist has created 30-ball bingo as an alternative to the often rather slow proceedings. The benefit of this game is that it’s over quickly, so it’s possible to play more rounds in a much shorter time period.
The UK’s favourite bingo game – 90-ball bingo – is the slowest version of all. Oddly enough, this way of playing has earned itself a number of different names around the world, such as kinzo in French Canada. Kinzo has only existed since 2011 and enjoys much the same audience as traditional bingo. This game experienced something of a heyday shortly after its inception, with clubs popping up in Montreal and Lasalle.
Bingo’s ongoing evolution is a product of its popularity and receptiveness to new technologies. Whether it has reached its zenith, however, is anybody’s guess.