Complete Evolution of Slot Symbols

Complete Evolution of Slot Symbols

Published Date · July 16, 2021 · Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 ·Read Time · 3 mins

Slot games have come a long way since their beginnings. From basic slot machines to interactive online slot games, casinos have made sure that players aren’t missing out on the latest technology. Along with the evolution of slot machines, slot symbols have also evolved into more than just the basics. This article looks at slot symbols in more detail and discusses their history in addition to giving examples of what symbols you can find in some of the most popular online slot games. 

The History: Where It All Began

Along with the very first slot machine, slot symbols were invented in 1894 by Charles August Fey. The machines first used playing card symbols (such as diamonds, spades, and hearts) in order to connect to the table games players. The symbols as we know them today were first used in 1909, created by the Industry Novelty Company. The company experimented with using fruit symbols on their chewing gum dispensers that operated in the same way a slot machine would.

The idea of using vibrant and playful symbols caught on and in 1910, Mills Novelty Company decide to take it further — a photo of a chewing gum pack was added onto the reels. This was later changed into the ‘bar’ symbol. In 1916, Mills Novelty Company also created the jackpot bonus, which would be triggered when the player lands a specific symbol combination.


The Next Big Thing: Themed Symbols, Wild, Scatters, 7s

Manufacturers also started to experiment with adding their own logo as a symbol — this symbol would often have the highest payout. This is also when the symbol 7 was also introduced and often referred to as the lucky number. It became a popular symbol and a number that is commonly associated with slot games.

Soon after, companies started to think of ways they can diversify their slots to provide their players with a better gaming experience. Video slot machines were first introduced in 1975 in Las Vegas – they made it easier to come up with symbols that would relate to each theme. For example, a jungle theme would feature jungle-related symbols. However, the main principle of each symbol would still be the same – there would be low payout symbols as well as high payouts Wilds and Scatters. The payout rules for each symbol became different depending on the slot you play, allowing the players to have a preference and choose their favourite. Around this time, hundreds of software developers such as Pragmatic Play, Microgaming, NetEnt and many more started to create their own slot games and symbols. 

Symbols in Popular Online Slot Games

Online slot games made slot symbols even more popular as they allowed the players to spin their slots from the comfort of their own homes. Software providers created thousands of slot games, all coming with their own symbols as well as rules. Here are the symbols you can find in some of the most popular slot games available today: 


Starburst slot game features 8 symbols in total. Five of them are colourful gems, with the most valuable being the yellow gem. It also features the 7 number and the BAR symbol, both paying tribute to the old school slot games. The last symbol is the Starburst symbol, which acts as an expanding Wild. It only appears on reels 2, 3, and 4 and triggers free spins as well as turn the reel into a Wild reel. 

Mega Moolah

Mega Moolah is another popular online slot game, featuring 12 symbols in total. These include the numbers 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. In addition, the themed symbols include the Kudu symbol, Zebra, Buffalo, Giraffe, and Elephant. Of course, the other two important symbols are he the which is the Lion, and the Scatter, which is the Monkey. Landing three or more Monkeys will trigger the Free Spins bonus. On top of that, you only need to land two Scatters to trigger the popular multiplier bonus. 

Gonzo’s Quest

Gonzo’s Quest features seven different symbols. These include Fire, Alligator, Fish, Bird, Moon, Snake. and Heath. The Wild in this game is the Question Mark symbol while the Gold Medallion is the Scatter. Gonzo’s Quest was the first slot game of its kind to have the unique Avalanche feature which triggers the symbols to randomly fall on the reels. Each avalanche increases the win multiplier, giving the players more chances to win bigger prizes.


Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer