Around the World

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One of the more exciting adventures one can have in life is to circumnavigate the globe, using various means of transportation via sea, land and air to visit exotic ports of call and perhaps gather not only a wealth of experience but also some valuable treasures along the way. That’s exactly the theme of Playtech’s interactive arcade game called “Around the World.”

As the game opens, a race board is revealed, with six steps leading to each of four levels clockwise around the perimeter of the screen for 24 steps in all. The starting point at the lower left of the screen is a seaport, where a steam engine waits to set off a journey to the four destinations—France, the United States, China and England—that represent the levels of achievement. A locked safe beside the train tracks represents the wager that can be won and the size of the bet is displayed in a tan circle just beside it.

The “Place Your Bet” controls are shown in the very middle of the screen at the beginning of each game. Behind the controls are images of travel—sailing ships, a single-engine biplane and a hot air balloon drifting among the clouds. Using the +/- toggles allows the wager to be set anywhere from €0.10 to €100.00. After the desired amount has been selected, clicking on the red Start button will initiate the game.

At the bottom of the screen, the upper portion of a large wheel appears. It bears the numbers 1~49 in consecutive order, plus three special symbols: RS, AS and AL. As soon as the Start button has been activated, the wheel will spin and gradually come to a halt. At the very top of the wheel, a magnifying lens shows the number upon which the wheel has come to rest. That number will be displayed on the race board in the step immediately above the Steam Engine.

The player must then make a decision. Will the next number to appear in the wheel’s magnifier by higher or lower than the number just displayed? The steering device below the magnifier has two red handles—“Lower” on the left and “Higher” on the right. Clicking on either one of them will lock in the player’s decision and set the wheel to spinning once again.

If the player’s choice is correct, the new number will appear in the next step and play continues with the next decision to be made. If the player’s selection is wrong, the new number will still display on the race board, but the preceding step will turn red and an “X” will appear in the first of two “Strike” boxes at the top left corner of the screen before play resumes. Obtaining two strikes prior to reaching the next level ends the game with no payout.

However, if the player is able to navigate the six steps to the next level successfully, a prize amount will appear in a red box below the arrival destination and a dialog box pops up in the middle of the screen, stating “You have reached a payout level. What would you like to do?” The options are “Cashout” or “Keep Playing.” Clicking on Cashout will collect the prize amount and end the game, erasing all step numbers and returning to the original race board display for the next challenge.

If Keep Playing is selected, any previously accrued Strike will be erased, the wheel will spin, and a new number will appear in the magnifier and on the first step of the path to the next level. The player continues making decisions around the race board in this manner until two strikes are caught, a payout is claimed or the entire course is completed for the highest level award.

Note that the RS, AS and AL symbols have special functions when they appear in the magnifier. The RS will “Re-Set” the Strike counter to zero, eliminating any Strikes earned to that point. The AS allows the player to “Advance Safely” to the next step, no matter what number arrives on the next spin. And the AL lets the player “Advance a Level” automatically, without any more spins of the wheel.

Around the World is truly an absorbing and entertaining arcade game. There is a certain skill and strategy involved in choosing Lower/Higher for each spin, as well as knowing when to stop and collect payouts. Appropriate music for each culture plays upon reaching Paris, New York, the Great Wall and London. All in all, this is a nice change of pace from the usual slots and table games fare.

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