Forgotten Treasures: Why Are Slots Obsessed with Ancient Civilizations?

Duncan Wilkie. - June 27, 2016
Forgotten Treasures: Why Are Slots Obsessed with Ancient Civilizations?

What is it with the obsession to ancient treasures and cultures in the world of online slots? Online Casino Reports tries to get into the thick of the Aztec jungle to find out.

They say that history is written by the winners – and this old adage is certainly reinforced by the slot machine industry, where countless tales of success have been penned on “old world”-themed titles.

Indeed, it seems these days you can’t swing a cat in a casino*  without hitting a slot cabinet that draws its visual aesthetic and bonus features from ancient civilisations, with Egyptian, Greek and Norse mythology being just three sources of inspiration for some of the most popular games around.

The question remains, however – just where does our obsession with long-lost cultures come from and why do the industry’s biggest software providers continue to dip into this thematic pool when the market it already over-saturated with similar titles? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at where our love affair with “old world” slots began and why it’s still going strong in the present day.

*OnlineCasinoReports does not condone swinging cats in casinos. They don’t typically welcome pets. 

The Rise Of Isis

Now, before you think we’ve lost our minds and phase-jumped from an article about mythological slots to a tale of global terrorism, long before the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria worked its way into the common vernacular, the word “Isis” was more closely associated with an Egyptian goddess.

Literally meaning “throne”, Isis was the deity of health, marriage and wisdom and was first worshipped in Ancient Egyptian religion, with her following later spreading throughout the Roman Empire and the greater Greco-Roman world. Serving as the friend of sinners, artisans and the downtrodden, it is perhaps little surprise that these days she is used as a figurehead for online slots.

First coming to the attention of the online gambling population courtesy of Microgaming’s Isis slot, the goddess became a popular subject for both land-based and virtual games, with many similarly-themed titles like Temple of Isis and Treasure of Isis cropping up over the years. Indeed, so popular did the original Isis slot prove that Microgaming eventually made an Isis version of their millionaire-making progressive jackpot series, Mega Moolah, and the rest – as they say – is (ancient) history.

Whether focusing on gods and goddess or more earthly Egyptian themes, this period in time continues to be a major source of inspiration for software providers, with Cleopatra, Pharaoh’s Dream, Crown of Egypt and The Lost Slot Of Riches just some of the titles now available to players.

Time Travellers

Of course, it’s not just Egyptian-themed slots that have been hugely successful for software companies in recent years – many other ancient civilisations, cultures and legends have also provided the background context for many of the popular machines that we know and love today.

In particular, the Viking era and Norse mythology has been a rich well of opportunity for slot designers, with games like Microgaming’s Thunderstruck series, Yggdrasil Gaming’s Vikings Go Wild and NetEnt’s progressive jackpot title, Hall Of Gods, being just three of the more notable examples.

Replacing Isis with Thor, Odin and Loki and traditional hieroglyphic symbols with swords, shields and helmets, these games may look and sound very different from Egyptian-themed slots, but the core concept running through each game is remarkably similar – either drawing on the power of ancient gods to boost your winnings or hunting out long-lost treasure in the far-flung corners of the globe.

In truth, this is perhaps the crux of all video slot titles that are based around an “old world” theme. For Norse, read Greek and for Thor, read Zeus – it doesn’t matter what part of the world or period in time you set your slot in, it still comes back to the sense of wonder associated with ancient legends and the thrill of exploring forgotten civilisations. With this in mind, it hardly came as a shock when the Amazon-inspired game, Gonzo’s Quest, became the first NetEnt title to achieve platinum status.

Calling All Explorers

So why do software providers keep producing these “old world”-themed games when there are already so many of them existence? Well, quite simply because players continue to lap them in. Let’s be honest, there’s a part of every single one of us that yearns to be Indiana Jones exploring the Temple of Doom, and these games give us the chance to do just that from the comfort of our homes.

When playing an “old world”-themed slot, we’re all given the chance to play the role of everyone’s favourite heroic archaeologist, but unlike Indy, we get to explore forgotten civilisations and hidden kingdoms putting nothing but our casino balances at risk. Furthermore, these games – particularly the jackpot titles – go beyond the realms of fantasy in that they enable us to uncover tangible treasure in the form of life-changing prizes without the need to go breaking into musty old tombs.

As with all slot titles, games that are based on “old world” themes offer players a chance to escape the monotony of everyday life and go on the adventure they’ve always dreamed of. Whether that’s uncovering the treasures of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt, plundering villages with a horde of Viking warriors or drawing on the power of mythical Greek gods, they allow us to journey into forgotten and fantastical worlds armed with nothing but an internet connection and a bit of luck on our sides.


Did You Know?

  • Isis is the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom
  • The Mega Moolah Isis slot guarantees a jackpot prize of at least £1,000,000
  • Cryptologic offers a rival Egyptian goddess-themed slot called Treasures Of Isis
  • Gonzo’s Quest was the first NetEnt-designed slot to achieve platinum status
  • WMS’ Zeus series can be played at land-based casinos across the United States


Five “Old World” Slots You Have To Try





Gonzo’s Quest



Avalanche Reels

Mega Moolah Isis



Progressive Jackpot

Book Of Aztec



Expanding Wilds

Thunderstruck II

Norse Mythology


Multi-Level Free Spins

Zeus Series

Greek Mythology


Stacked Wilds



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