What Are Scatter Symbols?

Before you play any online slot machine it is always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the icons featured on the reels in order to understand how each symbol helps you to win. One of the most important symbols found on modern day video slots is the scatter symbol. The scatter symbol provides opportunities for additional wins and serves to unlock bonus features and games in many video slot machines. Scatter symbols were not included on the reels of the first mechanical slot machines, but were later introduced to add a further element of excitement. Let’s look at the origins of the scatter symbol and how the scatter symbol functions in modern video slot machines.

Online Slots Symbols

Red Cherries: The Origin of the Scatter Symbol

The scatter element was introduced to classic 3 reel fruit machines to provide players with an additional means to rake in winnings. Red cherry icons represented the first scatter symbols. These red cherries were not constrained by the rules that govern the other icons on the reels – unlike other icons the red cherry produced a small win whether it fell on an active payline or not. With many classic slots a single red cherry icon anywhere on the reels would mean a small win. In modern video slots that make use of the 243 ways to win system all icons function like scatters, because they do not need to land on a payline in order to produce winning combinations.

Scatter Symbols in Video Slots

Computerised slot machines have completely altered the nature of slot games and also the function of the scatter symbol. Gone are the days when the scatter symbol was limited to a static red cherry image. Scatter symbols in video slots are often animated and come to life when two or three land on the reels. These symbols are integral to the game and often reinforce the theme of the slot machine. In Thunderstruck 2, for example, the scatter image is represented by Thor’s mighty hammer known as MjÓ§lnir.

What is most significant about scatter symbols in modern video slots is the role they play in activating a slot game’s bonus features or second screen bonus games. Traditional slots could offer players no more than static images on the reels. Modern slots are far more entertaining, often contain video clips, animated narrative sequences, and second screen bonus rounds that differ dramatically from the layout of the main game. In most video slots that include such bonus features, the scatter symbol is the key to unlocking these bonus features and stages. In Immortal Romance, for example, the player needs to land 3, 4 or 5 scatter symbols on the reels in order to gain entry to the main second screen bonus stage, known as the Chamber of Spins. Multiple scatters are required in numerous other casino games to trigger their bonus stages: Thunderstruck 2, Tomb Raider Secret of the Sword, The Dark Knight Rises and Hitman all require scatter combination to trigger the bonus rounds.

Another important aspect of scatter symbols is that these symbols are usually the only icons on the reels that cannot be replaced by wild symbols. Wilds symbols are also bonus icons that were introduced to slot machines in order to provide more chances to form winning combinations. These symbols can be used as substitutes for other symbols on the reels to complete winning combinations. However, as mentioned above, the wild symbol cannot replace scatter symbols.

With most slot machines, you need to land at least 3 matching icons on the reels to form a winning combination. This is not always the case with scatter symbols. As noted earlier, in some classic slots a single cherry on the reels means a small win. Similarly, with many video slots as little as 1 or 2 scatter icons will entitle you to a small win. In Thunderstruck 2, for example, the scatter is the only symbol that pays if you land only two of these on the reels. Two hammer scatter symbols only pay 1 credit, but if you land 5 you win 200 credits.

In many video slots scatters multiply the total bet wagered and not only a particular line bet. For this reason it is important to try and activate all paylines in games that offer major scatter wins. Scatters also often function as multipliers. It is always a good idea to peruse a game’s paytable before you start playing to find out how many scatters are required to form a win, whether a scatter functions as a multiplier and whether the scatter multiplies the line bet or total bet. Not all modern slot machines make use of scatters and some contain multiple scatters.

Familiarise Yourself with the Scatter Rules of a Slot Machine

There are many benefits to playing a game in the demo mode before you play for real money. One of these benefits is that you give yourself time to become accustomed to the function of the scatter symbol in a particular game. In some slot machines the scatter serves multiple purposes.

In the Immortal Romance slot, for example, the lion doorknocker scatter unlocks the 4 bonus stages contained within the Chamber of Spins. Once you are in the Chamber, additional scatter symbols will trigger more free spins in some of the bonus rounds. In addition, you earn a small win even if only two scatters fall on the reels, and, the maximum jackpot of 60 000 coins is won when you land 5 scatters on the reels. The scatter thus serves multiple purposes and adds many layers of excitement to the game.