How Megaways changed slot gaming

By William Davis


Jul 6, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Playing slots has always been a popular pastime. It’s a treat for the eyes that’s made even better by having the chance to score some wins. We’ve seen slots with stories and games with amazing visuals, but one thing that’s always a key component for the player is the number of paylines.

When Big Time Gaming invented the Megaways mechanic for slots, things really went to the next level, introducing up to 117,649 ways to win on a single spin. So, let’s have a look at how Megaways has changed the face of slot gaming, the equivalent of the multiplayer computer games like Dota 2 taking over from single-player tedium.

The rise of the payline

It used to be that 25 paylines on a slot was more than enough, especially when you consider that back in the day, there was only one. But like a lot of things, bigger can be better, so the payline started to evolve within the slots universe.

When slots like Thunderstruck II and Immortal Romance came out, all of a sudden there was a massive rise in the number of paylines or ways to win. 243 ways to win meant exactly that, and it was a number that stuck around for a while. That was until 2015, and a year later, the release of the famed Bonanza Megaways slot gave players that 117,649 number.

More on Megaways

The mechanics of Megaways aren’t as difficult as you’d think, considering the vast options. Essentially, there is a random reel modifier that changes the number of symbols that can appear on each reel during a spin. So on each spin of the reels, there’s the potential for a huge variety of symbols to land, giving you many more ways to win as opposed to the previous, rigid layout. Let’s break it down further.

On a slot like Bonanza, which is themed around the original gold rush in the United States, you’ll see that the game is played across six reels, with up to seven symbols able to appear on each. This is where the Megaways mechanic then comes into effect, acting at random to select the number of symbols. By doing this, thousands of different combinations can be made when all six of the reels are showing the max number of seven symbols. Or, to explain it in math talk, it’s essentially 7x7x7x7x7x7.  And while Bonanza really upped the game with 117,649 Ways to Win, there are actually even more. 

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That’s because Big Time Gaming, the company behind the process, has worked in partnership with many other gaming companies to help create games that maximize the number of paylines. Other companies have used the Megaways engine and created slots with a mind-boggling 248,832 ways to win, and even up to 586,971 on slots such as Holy Diver!.  You can find out more about Megaways slots and try them out for yourself when you’re ready.

Best way to play

Sometimes when playing slots, it can be easy to just hit the spin button, watch the reels spin and see where the symbols land. Coming up with a strategy isn’t always necessary because, most of the time, it’s down to luck.

This is slightly different on Megaways slots. For instance, to win on a traditional slot, you need to line up matching symbols usually horizontally or vertically. On a Megaways slot, all you need to do is get the same symbols touching on adjacent reels to land a winning line. As long as the symbols connect from left to right, in whatever way, you’ll get that winning combination.

Players can get a feel for what is on the reels, and then start to wager based on that. Though these are still largely based around luck, it does add a hint of strategy into the equation.

The other good thing about Megaways slots is that alongside the huge number of paylines they offer, they also come packed with other features such as free spins, multipliers, and bonus games.

Add all of that together with hundreds of thousands of paylines, and the potential is huge. Of course, Megaways slots tend to be highly volatile, with big wins coming only on occasion. This is still a unique, exciting way to play slots, though.