Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 13

Slot Machines and Player’s Memories 9 entertainment as comedies did. For example, for every IL o ve Lucy, there was a Twilight Zone ; for every Happy Days, there was a Star Trek. Sometimes the two genres were combined, as with My Favorite Martian and I Dream o f Jeannie. Every one o f these television shows have been used as themes in slot machines. W hat is notable, however, about the comedies is the extent to which they appealed to children as much or more than they appealed to adults. The Beverly Hillbillies had its satirical elements, playing off dass differences and the mythology o f the Outsider; but what kids liked was the way Jethro spoke and dressed and the fact that Ellie Mae had as many pets as she could handle. Adolescents and pre-adolescents loved The Monkees, and little girls, and some boys, developed crushes on Micky, Peter, Mike, or Davy, and little boys, and some girls, asked for guitar or drum lessons after seeing and hearing The Monkees play. The shows devoted to Science fiction or speculative fiction tied into educational themes explored during school hours. The Twilight Zone, at first consideration, seems to be an adult show; but Rod Serling derived many o f his ideas ffom much o f what passed for current events in a Baby Boomer’s elementary school classroom, and in particular, the things that fascinated and sometimes scared kids— the M ercury and Apollo programs and the idea o f going to outer space, the possibility o f life on other planets, robots and early versions o f Artificial Intelligence, and early on, the drills during which children rehearsed “dodging” radiation during the Cold W ar by descending into the basement or hiding under their desks. To Baby Boomer children, The Twilight Zone was a Contemporary Version o f one o f Grimm’s fairy tales, as discussed by Bruno Bettelheim— an entertaining show which allowed children to feel and express fear in a safe environment. It’s not surprising that slot designers would tum to The Twilight Zone in asking the player’s “inner child” to come out and play. If these are the types o f games which appeal to the inner child, what games then target the Puer Aeternusl The answer is, those games which either reduce recent historical or political events to cartoonish levels, deflecting the serious and sometimes tragic elements o f a game in favor o f ridiculous characters and humorous images— or target those elements o f the player’s personality which might be regarded as “arrested” in development. For example, in IGT’s Texas Tea, the kind o f activity that interests adults alone— oil drilling and acquisition— is given a decidedly immature treatment. Icons include boldly drawn cactus flowers; a cartoon bull, big, blue, and snorting whenever he gets a