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Konami Slot Machines Flashing Subliminal Messages?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-are-NOT-very-sorry dept.

Bug 208

shadowspar writes "A Canadian province has pulled several models of Konami slot machines out of service after a news investigation revealed that they briefly flash a jackpot result on the screen every time they are played. Konami claims that the 'subliminal' jackpot images are unintentional and the result of a bug, but other US and Canadian jurisdictions are looking at pulling the machines as well."

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208 comments

Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156070)

Konami Slot Machines Flashing Subliminal Messages?
Also suspect was the fact that if you pressed up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B and then A, the machine would flash the jackpot screen continually while declaring all its cash "are belong to you." Casinos grew suspicious after younger and younger players continually cleaned out the machine in a methodical manner before eventually treating their "conquering" of the slot as a standard Saturday morning ritual.

I'm sorry, it's Monday and I definitely wish I could UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA my job right now. I used to think that this cheat code (or things like the game genie) were detrimental to youthful minds thinking that you just needed to figure out the trick to life and everything was over. I used to think that they would grow up expecting everything to be easy once you were "in on it" and that this would be bad and they would never understand that life is much more complicated. But, you know what? I sadly see more and more everyday that it's a matter of knowing what UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA to tell your boss to make him/her think you know what's going on. Or what UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA you tell someone to befriend them to hook you up with a position/help. And then it's to the pharmacy where you're given more UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA in pill form because your doctor (of which there are thousands of kinds) tells you you need it. Notice the tangents my brain flies off on when it's Monday.

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (2, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156336)

What's up with Canada? This happened in 2000:

A manufacturer of computerized gambling equipment, WMS Gaming, of Chicago, earlier this year sued Edmonton, Alberta, software consultant Zues Yaghi for $10 million after he showed the company and Canadian authorities a "back door" he'd discovered in the company's casino slot machines.

In a case that was reported in Canada, but mostly ignored elsewhere, Yaghi went to officials of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, who videotaped the consultant winning hundreds of dollars, according to The Edmonton Journal. He turned all the money over to the officials on the spot.

Both Yaghi and the manufacturing company say the software error in the machines allowed millions of dollars of fraudulent gains. At least two people other than Yaghi took advantage of the bug at casinos in the United States and Canada before the software was fixed, the company says.

Yaghi may have erred when he proposed to the company that they hire him as a consultant to find and repair such flaws for a fee of $250,000. The company offered $50,000 instead, which Yaghi declined.

The company then obtained an order from a Canadian court to seize computers from Yaghi's home, persuaded the gaming commission to ban him from Alberta casinos, and filed the $10 million lawsuit.

In response, Yaghi is suing WMS Gaming for $1 million and the gaming commission for $3 million.

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156688)

Dont leave us hanging, man! Howd it turn out???

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (2, Funny)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157092)

I think you forgot to code.... there's a "start" on the end buddy

UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBAstart

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (2, Informative)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157274)

You must not have had any friends to play with - its "Select - Start" for 2 players.

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157414)

"there's a "start" on the end buddy"
It's not part of the code. You press "start" to start the game. [marvin]It's quite simple, really.[/marvin]

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157330)

Also suspect was the fact that if you pressed up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B and then A,

Do I need my ocarina equipped for this first?

Re:Tag: UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157864)

Do I need my ocarina equipped for this first?
So I need to sing D, D, F, F, B, A, B, A and then roll on the ground?

It doesn't work (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156086)

All scientific tests done in a controlled (mod up) environment have come up with the same conclusion: it doesn't work. The one suggestion that (+1) has generated some interest recently, and (+1) has not been tested, is that the most that can be accomplished (modup) is familiarity with the idea. This is (+1) not the same as motivation. So you can put the tin foil hats away.

Re:It doesn't work (0, Flamebait)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156242)

If I had mod points I'd mod you flamebait just to prove you correct. But I don't, so I'll just laugh instead.

Re:It doesn't work (5, Funny)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156282)

Mod parent up!

Please, I don't have any mod points, but something tells me this post really needs top moderation.

it can work... sometimes (3, Informative)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156344)

While the evidence that subliminal advertising [wikipedia.org]affects behaviour a very similar technique (backward masking) is used in psychology experiments to good effect. The upshot being that presenting stimuli below the conscious threshold *can* affect behaviour. Presenting images of a jackpot win on a gaming machine might just prolong the time that a player is willing to play. Good news for the manufacturer, not so good for the player. Anyhow - what are the changes of a *bug* causing this behaviour?

Re:it can work... sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156406)

No, it can't work, ever.

The US military has invested huge amounts of money into brainwashing. It is not a valid route unless the person can also be drugged and the message input in various formats over a long peroid of time. Better luck next time.

Re:it can work... sometimes (2, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156516)

You can't be brainwashed but your moods can be altered. There have been numerous test that show that flashes of dramatic images can cause emotional changes. There was a very recent experiment that showed the name of a nagging loved one can cause people to do worse on test when that name is only flashed for a brief 1/4th second to slow for the person to consciously detect. We do unconsciously see things, the ability to "control" people though that is doubtful, the ability to alter their train of thought is possible.

Re:it can work... sometimes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156708)

You can't be brainwashed but your moods can be altered

Very true, in fact after reading your reply my mood has gone to annoyed.

As for dramatic images, ummm i dont know what to say. This is pretty much common sense. If I flashed a picture of a woman being reaped to you throughout the day I imagine it would ahave a dramatic effect on your mood.

Lets not confuse the ability for the mind to register an image and the ability of the mind to recogize an image. Basically, the gambling thing is a bug. Subliminal message that can cause a person to act or react are fiction.

Re:it can work... sometimes (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157268)

The idea is if you flashed jackpot consciously you would react positively. But they can't legally flash jackpot for no reason. So if you flash jackpot unconsciously you might have a similar but subdued reaction.

Re:it can work... sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157508)

So if you flash jackpot unconsciously you might have a similar but subdued reaction.

This has been proven to be fiction.

You can not get an action or a reaction via a subconscsious signal. It just does not work. You can affect mood as you have said but that is a very different thing.

Re:it can work... sometimes (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157804)

So if you flash jackpot unconsciously you might have a similar but subdued reaction.

This has been proven to be fiction.


I'm not sure what you're getting at, but certain subliminal effects are quite real.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&scorin g=r&q=motor+subliminal [google.com]

http://jocn.mitpress.org/cgi/content/abstract/17/3 /483 [mitpress.org]

The Neurophysiology of Response Competition: Motor Cortex Activation and Inhibition following Subliminal Response Priming
Peter Praamstra and Ellen Seiss

University of Birmingham, UK

Some widely used tasks in cognitive neuroscience depend on the induction of a response conflict between choice alternatives, involving partial activation of the incorrect response before the correct response is emitted. Although such "conflict tasks" are often used to investigate frontal-lobe-based conflict-monitoring processes, it is not known how response competition evolves in the motor cortex. To investigate the dynamics of motor cortex activation during response competition, we used a subliminal priming task that induced response competition while bypassing preresponse stage processing conflict. Analyses of movement-related EEG potentials supported an interaction between competing responses characterized by reciprocal inhibition. Inhibitory interactions between response channels contribute to the resolution of response conflict. However, the reciprocal inhibition at motor cortex level seemed to operate independent of higher level conflict-monitoring processes, which were relatively insensitive to response conflict induced by subliminal priming. These results elucidate how response conflict causes interference as well as the conditions under which frontal-lobe-based interference control processes are engaged.


http://www.unicog.org/publications/Dehaene_Sublimi nalPriming_A&P2002.pdf [unicog.org]

The neural bases of subliminal priming

Stanislas Dehaene

Psychologists have long reported that words that are made invisible by forward and
backward masking can nevertheless cause behavioral priming effects. Functional
neuroimaging can now be used to explore the neural bases of masked priming. Subliminal
priming causes reduced activation in multiple areas (fusiform gyrus, intraparietal sulcus, and
motor cortex), in direct correspondence with behavioral manifestations of priming at the
orthographic, semantic, and motor level. This implies that a whole stream of processors can
operate unconsciously. The neural code in each area can be assessed by varying prime-target
relations. A simple mathematical framework is proposed that tentatively relates priming at the
voxel level with the shape of the tuning curves of single neurons in the underlying tissue.
Priming thus provides a general method to study the fine microcode in each brain region (the
'priming method').

Re:it can work... sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158620)

when that name is only flashed for a brief 1/4th second to slow for the person to consciously detect.

Huh? I can readily detect the existance of images flashed for 1/30th of a second (a single de-interlaced TV frame), 1/4 of a second is likely enough for me to make out what the word was. Attempts to influence me by flashing images into my subconcious will affect my mood alright. I'll get rather P.O'd at your interupting my viewing. Maybe these hijinks worked on 1920's era fols used to a slower speed of life, but almost anybody under 40 (Gen-X is getting old!) will know whats happening.

And considering today's electronic slot machines are already allowed to tease folks by placing the jackpot wheels in sight (ie the internal dice say wheel 1 hit blank, but it chooses to show you the Blank next to the 10x icon instead of teh one between BAR and 7), I'm almost surprised they don't just call this a "feature".

Re:it can work... sometimes (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158750)

There was a very recent experiment that showed the name of a nagging loved one can cause people to do worse on test when that name is only flashed for a brief 1/4th second to slow for the person to consciously detect.

IME, .25 sec is quite enough to register even more than just a name - say, full two lines of text, i.e. in a subtitle.

The same thing as wheels spinning backwards, though I don't know what's that effect called in English...

Re:It doesn't work (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156366)

Your subliminal advertisement is clever, but what really works is superliminal: HEY PEOPLE, MOD ME UP.

Re:It doesn't work (1, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157588)

No no no, that doesn't work. I know I'm going to be modded down for saying this, but the only sure-fire way to get karma on Slashdot is reverse psychology.

Re:It doesn't work (5, Informative)

yali (209015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156610)

Joking aside, subliminal priming [google.com] is making a comeback in experimental psychology. It was somewhat discredited in the 60s and 70s (i.e., the urban legend [snopes.com] about theaters flashing "Drink Coke" on movie screens), but more recent work [millisecond.com] has uncovered the parameters and boundaries to make it a viable experimental technique. It is typically used in controlled lab situations to study automatic processing of information in isolation from conscious, intentional thought. It's not entirely clear from the research literature whether it would work in this kind of real-life applied context. But it wouldn't be hard for a casino to do the testing to find out.

I disagree. . . (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157038)

I believe this. . .
"the urban legend about theaters flashing "Drink Coke" on movie screens)"
is true.

Let me explain. . . in college (an Art School) I took Film History, and we went over this technique in class. . . so, the same summester I was also taking Film/Video I, and I decided that I would test this out on my next video assignment.

And guess what. . . it worked!!! I got an A.

Then again. . . I could not isolate this as the cause, because well. . . I'm a genius and I always get A's. (ok, ok, that last part isn't completely true, but it sounded good, to my ego.)

Re:It doesn't work (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157146)

All scientific tests done in a controlled (mod up) environment have come up with the same conclusion: it doesn't work. The one suggestion that (+1) has generated some interest recently, and (+1) has not been tested, is that the most that can be accomplished (modup) is familiarity with the idea. This is (+1) not the same as motivation. So you can put the tin foil hats away.

This post is better than "Cats". I'm going to read it again and again.

Canada. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156130)

The USA's Jiminy Cricket.

Re:Canada. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156568)

Unlike Canada, the USA doesn't believe in Blue Fairies.

Subliminal? What about overt? (5, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156136)

Who needs a subliminal jackpot flash that may or may not be proven to work when you have a 20' light up sign tallying the payout of the casino hovering a few feet above the slot machine trenches? Who needs a momentary flash when the payout trays are engineered so they ring extra loud and clear during a win that the entire casino floor can hear it?

Who needs subliminal advertising when the shortcut to riches is so ingrained into the psyche that this mere promise was enough to supply a city with excess revenue for over half a century before they decided to change gears into an entertainment destination?

I do, however, welcome our subliminal jackpot bearing one armed robotic masters/bandits.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156380)

Who needs a momentary flash when the payout trays are engineered so they ring extra loud and clear during a win that the entire casino floor can hear it?

Wow, you found a casino that's still using coins in slots?

Who needs subliminal advertising when the shortcut to riches is so ingrained into the psyche that this mere promise was enough to supply a city with excess revenue for over half a century before they decided to change gears into an entertainment destination?

Gambling was probably a part of humanity a long time before anyone ran an actual business based on it, aside from some unofficial bookmaking and legbreaking.

I work in a tribal casino and I am continually amazed at how much money people will stuff into machines, but then I'm a gamer and if I don't get to control anything (the amount of bet/number of lines is just not enough for me) then I get bored easily. Also, I have some idea of what the hold is like :P

I know a woman whose father was/is a compulsive gambler. Sometimes they would be flush and living in a ritzy house with a frippin' maid. Sometimes they'd be living in the next-closest thing to a van down by the river and the repo men were coming to take away all their valuable posessions. But gambling pays my paycheck, and when we get money to play with on employee day once a quarter, I take that few bucks HOME because I'm ALWAYS a winner :)

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

FlyingOrca (747207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156508)

Quoth Drinkypoo: Wow, you found a casino that's still using coins in slots?

Well, considering it's a Canadian story, and we have $1 and $2 coins rather than bills, it's not really ALL that surprising, is it?

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156878)

Well, considering it's a Canadian story, and we have $1 and $2 coins rather than bills, it's not really ALL that surprising, is it?

Yes, because here in the US, we don't want to deal with fills (in spite of the comments about Vegas having slots with coins, properties that actually use them are in the minority, and the coin-filled slots are far in the minority even at those properties) so we just use ticket-out; the slots print out tickets with unique barcodes which are linked to a row in a database. The tickets can be inserted into another machine (ticket-in) or they can be redeemed at the cashier's cage or, on properties which have them, a kiosk. Most properties have at least a redemption kiosk that looks like a bill changer, some have a full kiosk with a screen that lets you redeem points and such as well.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157320)

Well, that just takes all the fun out of it doesn't it??? Lazy bastards...

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157484)

Well, that just takes all the fun out of it doesn't it??? Lazy bastards...

Like anything else, some customers love it and some hate it. Regardless, besides the work issue, it is also more sanitary. Also you don't have issues with little old ladies dropping their bucket of quarters and being all irate if you don't find every quarter they think was in their cup :)

It is true, though, that casinos are always trying to give you less and make you think you're getting more... But at the same time, they do have a certain motivation to give you what you want, at least on average, because there's competition everywhere.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158478)


>Well, that just takes all the fun out of it doesn't it??? Lazy bastards...

It does, but more than that, it introduces a level of interaction that many people simply won't do.

In the old days, you could, at any moment, scoop up your bucket of quarters and walk away.

Now, you have to take a receipt, stand in line, and get your cash. Forget it.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158306)

A kiosk with barcodes you say ?

How large are the barcodes ?
How often can invalid barcodes be tried before someone comes out to check on them ?

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158582)

>The tickets can be inserted into another machine

Another machine in the same casino. This is a very big distinction between machines that use chits (private token, revocable) and machines that use coins (public, legal tender).

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156664)

Here in Vegas a lot of the casinos still use coins...my theory is that it is such a pain to deal with three full plastic cups full of quarters, finding a cage, standing in line, etc that grandma is more likely to keep pushing the button until the quarters are all gone or the BIGONE hits...like a sucker, I have fallen into that trap myself.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156930)

I liked the sound of a big coin pay off ticket in ticket out is not as fun.

How long before some rips off the ticket system for a lot of money?

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158344)

How long before some rips off the ticket system for a lot of money?

I'm not privy to the details of the ticket system - When I've attended conferences etc I've been paying attention to other aspects of the program (in this case Aristocrat OASIS) like the pit ratings, the back end, etc. On one hand I like to know all I can, on the other hand some of this stuff is mind-numbingly boring and I go and learn what I need to learn and then get the hell out and go drink somewhere. (I'm not a gambler - when I go to casinos, I drink. Thus I always win. Or lose, depending on how you look at it.)

But seriously, some very smart people have put a lot of time, effort, and development dollars into making sure that doesn't happen. The slot machines themselves are very closed to user input, allowing only a few keypresses (and having hardware only for a few keypresses.) If a cabinet is opened, the machine's color changes on the monitoring software and if a tech hasn't been dispatched there then you know someone is messing with the machine. On top of that the connections to the machines are located in such a place that you can't get to them without actually moving some fairly heavy hardware.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156734)

Wow, you found a casino that's still using coins in slots?
Last time I was in Las Vegas. (Around 2001, admittedly)

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158614)

> Last time I was in Las Vegas. (Around 2001, admittedly)

A lot has changed since 2001, and I have my suspicions that part of the motivation to move to tickets from coins
came from pressure to make the casinos more accoutable to fatherland security.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156790)

Gambling's built into humanity. We're built to recognize patterns, even when no patterns actually exist. It's part of the package: if you can abstract well enough to reason, it's very likely that you're going to 'reason' things into existence even when no such thing exists.

That's why people think that there's a 'system' to gambling, even when it's just a matter of pure probability. It's like flipping coins: after you get heads ten times in a row, you're convinced that you're going to get tails on the next flip...

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158148)

But gambling pays my paycheck...

There's a funny story which I think is attributed to John Scarne, who, back in the old days, was often called in by casinos as a gambling consultant. One of the heavy slots players he interviewed was complaining to Scarne that "these slots just never pay!" Scarne replied, "Sure they do. They pay for the lights, the food, the entertainment, the dealers..."

--Rob

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156448)

Who needs a subliminal jackpot flash when you can hit the jackpot with the 70 year old woman dangling a cigarette from her mouth just playing beside her? Your odds will never be so good in a casino!

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (5, Informative)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156474)

Everything in a casino is engineered to encourage you to keep playing. From the obvious (as you said, huge jackpot signs, loud noises when someone wins) - to the not-so-obvious (carpets on the gaming floor are often intentionally ugly to encourage you to look up at the gaming). Have no noticed there are no clocks *anywhere*? That is, except for the computers. If I'm playing blackjack, which I do once or twice a year, I try to grab a 3rd base seat near a computer if I don't have a watch or phone on me.

Some places even have huge fish tanks as you're exiting, some would say to calm you down after a big loss so you're more likely to come back.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (2, Interesting)

azrebb (850804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156618)

Actually, in Australia it's law that you have to be able to see a clock from where ever you may be in the gaming lounge. Of course, they can be a little tricky to spot at first...

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (5, Interesting)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156938)

I've always found it interesting/creepy how in many of the big casinos in Vegas it is really easy and welcoming coming in, but confusing and cumbersome to leave...Excalibur is a good example: a moving walkway shuttles you right in the door, but to leave you have to find your way around the moving walkway, since there is no outbound equivalent, sometimes shuffling between turrets, up stairs, etc. Station Casinos are another good example, where the entrances are all big and well-marked from the outside, but once you get in the door, the exits are all blackened/darkened/mirrored so they kind of blend into the rest of the decor, and the inside of the casinos are labyrinthine at best. At many like Sahara, Imperial Palace, Luxor, and Wynn, the main entrance dumps you out into the valet horseshoe, so you have to brave walking in front of taxicabs, limos, and impatient drunk drivers to get off of the property.

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158094)

I actually had the same problem in GTA: San Andreas. I always had trouble finding the casinos' exits. And I wasn't even there to gamble!

Re:Subliminal? What about overt? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157980)

Some places even have huge fish tanks as you're exiting, some would say to calm you down after a big loss so you're more likely to come back.

I was just in Vegas over Christmas [lazylightning.org] and the only place that I saw with a fish tank was well off the strip and had exits closer to the Casino than where the tank was located.

That said, everything else you mentioned is true and while I am not a gambler, I do constantly think about the flashing lights and sounds (even though they are annoying in any other location) and how it was nice to be there. Odd thoughts for a non-gambler :(

not that it's a big deal... (1)

xjmrufinix (1022551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156566)

...but as a programmer I have difficulty believing that the images are "accidently" appearing. Bugs can be weird, but that really seems like it would take some Intent to produce. But then again I have a lot more experience with database programming than with graphics, so maybe someone else disagrees?

But like you said, it seems silly to deny a little subliminal advertising when the whole casino is a giant and explicit mind-fuck.

Re:not that it's a big deal... (2, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156766)

...but as a programmer I have difficulty believing that the images are "accidentally" appearing

Agreed - the likelihood of this being a "bug" seems monumentally remote. How could a "draw screen" routine keep accidentally writing a screen that it is least likely of every drawing? Did they optimize by doing a call to displayJackpot() on every screen flip just in case it's that one in a billion or so times that it actually needs to?

To state the obvious, the reason for this screen is starting in the poor gambler's face -- the whole point of the drawn out process of a slot machines (versus just saying "Nope...nope...nope...nope....") is to give the feeling of being "close".

"DAMN! I almost won. Just have to feed it a few more as this one is getting lucky."

Flashing the grand prize for brief moments obviously compels that feeling. And when you're talking about problem gamblers who are already addicted, it is nothing like trying to get people in a theater to buy coke.

Re:not that it's a big deal... (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157076)

It is not that uncommon that you end up with stuff flashing on the screen for a fraction of a second in game programming. It can for example easily happen when try to place a sprite on the screen, but only initialize its positions position value after having gone through the draw loop once, i.e. something like this:

1. call update() to handle game events, one of them triggers the creation of a new object A
2. call draw() to draw the current game state
3. call update() and only now finalize the initialization of object A now
4. call draw() to redraw the screen again

With that code you would get some object flashing up at some random position. Other easy causes for random flashing could be texture loading that happens in a separate thread, since the game doesn't wait for the texture to be fully loaded, it will use a placeholder texture for the first few frames of a new scene till the real texture is loaded (see for example Halo2 on XBox). If that placeholder texture happens to not be specified the renderer might just use whatever texture is just in memory and so you would get the desired effect of textures appearing in the wrong places. Double buffering can also lead to all kinds of subliminal errors.

So in short, there are plenty of ways to get subliminal errors in game programming, if Konami did this by error or intentionally is of course a different question, but those kind of errors are not that uncommon.

attention my boss (0, Redundant)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156170)

<subliminal message>
Hi boss I know you read slashdot
Give davidwr a raise
</subliminal message>

Voting machines do that too! (1)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156222)

In other news, a mass recall has been determined for Diebold Voting Machines with similiar 'bugs'. Just before the "Are you sure you meant XXX for President?" dialog, the Diebold machine flashes a screen for 1/18th of a second that declares "All your votes are belong to us. Vote Republican!!". Then it spits out 50 cents in quarters... The Sticky Widget

Re:Voting machines do that too! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156486)

A great excuse. Maybe if the dumbocrats ran a candidate that had a real chance of winning...

Boo hoo, my candidate didn't win. It must be rigged! Boo hoo!

Re:Voting machines do that too! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157086)

nevada gaming commission tested Diebold Voting Machines and they said don't use them.
The nevada gaming commission also has the full source code to all slot games.

Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A (0, Redundant)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156244)

These machines are made by Konami? And they're just across the border?
 
I'm gonna be rich!
 
...now, where'd they put that "B" button...

Re:Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156294)

...now, where'd they put that "B" button...?

It's just inside a 3-inch long horizontal slot on the front of the machine. You have to trigger it using the right sized piece of paper. Like most secret codes, it'll take you quite a few tries to get it right...

Re:Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156804)

I seen them us Casinos.
Also WMS used to put all kinds of eggs in there pin's and vid's so you may find cool stuff in there video poker and there slots games.

I coded a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156280)

I coded a joke, and set the whole world crashing. But I didn't see, that the bug was on me. -- The Bee Geeks

I confirmed it is a bug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18156454)

The real subliminal picture was supposed to be of an old lady getting money out of a mac machine and then inserting it into the slot machine. Damn the QA department!!!!

Older machines (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156490)

Some of the older machines were found to be flashing Burma Shave logos so the problem has been around a long time.

All your pizzas are belong to us? (2, Funny)

Sleeping Kirby (919817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156768)

So all those Ninja Turtle games I've played as a kid was really subliminial messages to get me to buy pizza? No wonder all those kids are so crazy over yugioh. It's all subliminall messages, I tell ya.

Gay porn subliminal messages (-1, Troll)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156794)

What I want to know is who's responsible for all the subliminal messages in gay porn? Christian conservatives have noted that there are very few gay people in the world, and yet gay porn is one of the hottest selling categories of porn. Obviously subliminal photos of hot women are getting flashed on the screen in an attempt to sell this stuff to all the straight men in the world. Such as myself, for example. I get a raging boner every time I see two men going at it on screen, even more so when it's 4 or 5 of them, and I keep buying the stuff, and that just doesn't make any sense. Class action anyone? We can meet at my place to "discuss" the details.

Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print ads! (2, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156874)

I was under the impression that the idea of subliminal advertising was debunked some thirty years ago when Subliminal Seduction [snopes.com] burst upon the scene.

What's really interesting in casinos is the soundscape. Most sound just settles into a constant wash of beeps and talking and mechanical noise.

Except for the sound of coin hitting the payout tray under the slot machine. That has a pitch and timbre so striking and unique that it jumps out at you every time.

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18156948)

It's been debunked, but Subliminal Seduction hardly debunked it - it's partly thanks to that book (and its sequels) that the myth got so popular in the first place!

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157310)

Except for the sound of coin hitting the payout tray under the slot machine. That has a pitch and timbre so striking and unique that it jumps out at you every time.
That's done on purpose, because that's the noise they most want you to hear. The payout trays are basically large hollow bells, specifically engineered to give the sharpest, clearest, most distinctive sound possible at the drop of every coin.

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157504)

The payout trays are basically large hollow bells, specifically engineered to give the sharpest, clearest, most distinctive sound possible at the drop of every coin.

I think that may be on the way out. I was in Vegas last year, and the slots are almost all paper now. You put in dollars or coins, and, if you win, get paid in a printed receipt that you bring to the cashier. The receipts also have a bar code so you can put it in another machine. Much better for the old biddies instead of lugging around buckets of coins.

I imagine it cuts the costs of dealing with billions of coins every week and it's convenient for the slot players.

I think some use magnetic cards, but didn't see any of those.

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (1)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157704)

In Maine we don't have coin-based slot machines because the quarters are so heavy they are considered to pose an unecessary work-injury risk.

The slot parlor in my city has a background sound of the familliar quarter-based jackpot payout to give the place the familliar casino sound

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157404)

Actually, it works! Recently, there was a nice study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology on this topic:

Beyond Vicary's fantasies: The impact of subliminal priming and brand choice
Johan C. Karreman, Wolfgang Stroebe and Jasper Claus

Abstract

With his claim to have increased sales of Coca Cola and popcorn in a movie theatre through subliminal messages flashed on the screen, James Vicary raised the possibility of subliminal advertising. Nobody has ever replicated Vicary's findings and his study was a hoax. This article reports two experiments, which assessed whether subliminal priming of a brand name of a drink can affect people's choices for the primed brand, and whether this effect is moderated by individuals' feelings of thirst. Both studies demonstrated that subliminal priming of a brand name of drink (i.e., Lipton Ice) positively affected participants' choice for, and their intention to, drink the primed brand, but only for participants who were thirsty. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2005.12.002 [doi.org]

Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Key is hilarious (4, Funny)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158024)

One of the examples in his book is a Playboy centerfold of a beautiful blonde reclining on some silky sheets. The brilliant Mr. Key discovered that if you hold the page up to the light so that the printing on the back shows through, and look carefully at the folds of the sheets in a lower corner of the photo, you can kinda-sorta see the letters "s e x".

I read that and thought: How naive of the rest of us to think the sexiness was due to something as obvious as a large, clear photo of a beautiful naked woman, when the real secret was three fuzzy letters in the corner that can't even be seen under normal magazine reading conditions! In other words, the guy's a loon.

Re:Oooh! Just like the sexual shrimp inthe print a (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158374)


>Except for the sound of coin hitting the payout tray under the slot machine.

They don't even have this anymore, and with that went 100% of the appeal that slot machines ever had for me!

I always enjoyed scooping large cups of quarters out of the tray, or hearing the payout sound (even when it wasn't mine!).

Now all you hear in casinos is "bloop bloop bloop" and "WHEEL...OF...FORTUNE!!!" and a payout means taking a receipt to the
cage. No thanks.

Hey! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157284)

Hey, if I see a jackpot, even for only one screen frame scan, I EXPECT TO GET PAID!

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157696)

Ah, but grasshopper... error voids all play! The casino gods always win.

Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18157348)

Next thing you know, those video billboards will start flashing subliminal messages of people getting speeding tickets, then everyone will slow down!

They say it's a software glitch... (2, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157406)

...that they would never risk losing their license over something like dumb like subliminal messaging. They promise to fix the problem. My question is, do they really have to "intentionally" put up subliminal images to lose their license. I think the casinos should ditch their machines for sheer stupidity in doing something like this, lest the casinos themselves tarnish their "good" image. Not that I believe something like this is a sheer coincidence or "glitch".

A what province? (3, Insightful)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157606)

"A Canadian province has pulled several models of Konami slot machines out of service

The summary is too afraid to actually reference the actual province, for fear that no one would recognize it??? It is actually the biggest one, Ontario, with 12,000,000+ people. Surely *some* of you 'Murkins must have heard of it.

Sorry, but surely such condescending summaries aren't warranted here...

Re:A what province? (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157806)

>It is actually the biggest one, Ontario, with 12,000,000+ people.
>Surely *some* of you 'Murkins must have heard of it.

>Sorry, but surely such condescending summaries
>aren't warranted here...

Um ... pot? Meet kettle? :)

Re:A what province? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158006)

The summary is too afraid to actually reference the actual province, for fear that no one would recognize it???...

No, it's just that once they said "Canada" they knew everyone would lose interest so there was no point adding useless detail.

Re:A what province? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158230)

children, children lets keep the sand in the box.

Slots are based on fraud. (5, Informative)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157952)

I've been developing casino-type games for over 12 years, so I know how they work. This is not at all surprising since slot machines are entirely based on fraud and conning you into believing and 'feeling' like you have a chance of winning - this is just another step in that direction.

The most sinister devices employed by the slot machines are the most fraudulent. I am referring virtual reel mapping and the near miss system. Here's how they work:

Virtual reel mapping works like this: You think that a reel has 24 symbols (12 symbols, 12 blank spots) and conclude that your chances of obtaining any particular combination is 24^3. Not so. What happens is that the slot spins 3 virtual reels, each one consisting of 32 symbols. Positions on the virtual reel are mapped to positions on the physical reel, but guess what, the virtual reels have 8 extra symbols, and they're all mapped to blank spots on the physical reels! This significantly reduces your chances of obtaining a winning combination.

The near-miss system works like this: Considering the virtual reel mapping mechanism described above, the near miss principal works on the basis that the extra 8 blank spots on the virtual wheel are mapped to locations on the physical reel RIGHT NEXT TO the jackpot symbols. That's why you'll see "7 BLANK 7" and "7 7 BLANK" with frightening regularity.

And here's the kicker: There are jackpot symbols on the physical reels that aren't mapped to the virtual reel. Which means that there are symbols on the physical reels that will NEVER EVER show up on the pay line. If that isn't outright fraud, I don't know what is.

If one puts on their cynic hat to appreciate slots from a purely human-psychology point of view, one can truly appreciate how masterfully crafted the whole set-up is. It disgusting and magnificent at the same time.

Re:Slots are based on fraud. (5, Informative)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158286)

I worked on spinning reel slots for WMS Gaming. To my knowledge all jurisdictions have laws regarding the relative frequency of physical reel positions (in Nevada it's 6:1 for adjacent positions and the labs got antsy if you went beyond 4:1) and as a consequence of these laws all physical reel positions must be hittable.

24 stop reels are very rare (never seen them in the real world in fact) because it makes the 12 symbols have to be pretty narrow. 22 stop is the standard although 18 stop was used from time to time. Virtual reels were commonly 72 stop. 32 stop doesn't extend the odds enough to be very useful and it also doesn't give you enough granularity between positions. You can go higher than 72 of course. I saw a math model for an IGT Five Times Pay that used a 90 stop virtual reel and one for a Triple Triple Diamond that used a 200 stop virtual reel. Those were 92% payout games if I remember rightly. I was told Quartermania used 255 stop virtual reels but I never personally saw math for it.

As a general point for people I'd like to say that there are indeed several techniques the machines use that are not commonly known, but all slot machine behaviour is VERY heavily regulated by law. If you want to know what they can and cannot do, look at the statutes. Ironically basically all the things people think the machines do are illegal and therefore not done.

Re:Slots are based on fraud. (1)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158380)

Awesome - That is great clarification on the inner workings. I used 24 simply for illustrative purposes.

Interesting to note that I'm in Manitoba, Canada, and the "Responsible Gaming Center" in our Casinos will disclose that there are certain symbols on the physical reel that are not hittable. Time to look into our legislation on the subject...

Re:Slots are based on fraud. (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 7 years ago | (#18158420)

That's interesting and what you describe is certainly fraud, but this article is about Konami. Every single Konami GBA title I have either crashes or has some kind of a lock up that I've found within only a few hours of play. Based on my experiences, I am certainly willing to believe that this was a bug, just as they said. Konami QA is lacking.

Watch it yourself! (2, Interesting)

Archimonde (668883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18157964)

If you want to see some real thing like Neuro Language Programming, sublimal advertising, misdirection, suggestion etc, look for Derren Brown at youtube.

I guarantee it will blow you away.

To save you the trouble: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=derren +brown&search=Search [youtube.com]

Re:Watch it yourself! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18158520)

Derren Brown is a magician (most specifically a mentalist).

He uses standard magic tricks, plants and actors just like every other magician. He just pretends that he doesn't.

NLP (Neuro linguistic programming) and all the other crap he talks about is complete and utter shite. It is psuedoscience. It doesn't work and doesn't exist.

He is a magician and nothing more.

If you believe he really can do the things he says he can (on his heavily edited tv specials), then I have a bridge to sell you.
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