Full disclosure: I am not a fan of slot machines. In fact, I'd rather get a bad case of poison ivy than suffer the fate of sitting near one of the insidious beeping, chiming and flashing machines that cover the floors of casinos. Despite my dislike of slot machines, I found a new app -- Double Luck Nudge Slots for Apple Watch (US$2.99) -- to be a great way of keeping myself occupied while waiting at a doctor's office recently.
The great thing is that for your three bucks, you can play forever on this app. There are no in-app purchases, although if you want additional credits they're available if you wait an hour or you can watch short video advertisements for other apps to build up those credits.
The app is pretty clever; to "pull the lever" you just tap on the Apple Watch display. The wheels spin, and depending on how things turn out you either get a win -- celebrated with flashing lights and a count of your winnings -- or you don't. To change your bet amount or check out the pay table, a Force Touch on the display brings up a settings screen. From that screen you can also choose to turn on haptics; doing so makes the diminutive slot machine vibrate whenever one of the wheels slows to a stop. I chose not to, simply out of concern for battery life.
To quote the release notes for the app, the "three-reel casino slot machine has a unique nudge feature that determines the direction of the reel once it has stopped, giving bars with an arrow a final nudge up or down." Good stuff, because sometimes once the reels have stopped spinning, you watch one or two nudge into place to give you a win.
There's an interesting back story behind this game, too. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Double Luck Nudge was designed by Larry DeMar, a longtime game developer who wrote the classic arcade coin-op game Defender in 1981. The original Mac team spent thousands of hours playing that game to decompress from the craziness of creating an "insanely great" platform. DeMar's company has focused on real slot machine games for casinos, but he thinks that the Watch is a hot platform for the future.
As for myself, I found Double Luck Nudge to be a lot more fun that real gambling in that after the first minor investment in purchasing the app, I didn't lose any money. Highly recommended for any Apple Watch owners who want to show off a cool app to friends or have some fun in those situations where you're bored and pulling out your iPhone would be rude.