With International Tapas Day just around the corner I felt it was about time for me to revisit and update an old list of slots. The last time I put together a list of Spanish themed slots I could not find any set in Spain that enthusiasts would deem good enough to make it into the Patheon of Top Ten Spanish themed slots. Instead, every single slot that made it onto the list was South American.
Obviously, Spanish influence has made its way around the globe and none more so than in the South American continent but over the last few months I have spotted some tributes to España, tucked away in the far reaches of slots that may have gone unnoticed if I wasn’t specifically looking for it.
Whilst I will endeavour to find Spanish themed slots that contain references to the mother country, I will still need to delve deep into the mines of Eldorado to complete the full list of 10. However, that list will hopefully contain a few new gems as the popularity of South American themed slots seems to be next in line only to the glory of the Egyptian Empire.
Before I turn my attention to Spanish themed slots there is the small matter of some tiny but exceptionally tasty bite sized snacks to tuck into.
Let’s face it, what is there not to like about tapas? Lots of small plates of food for you to pick from, all of them designed to accompany beer or wine. Sign. Me. Up.
I should clarify for the uninitiated that tapas is a step up from your basic bar snack. Crisps, nuts and Bombay mix aren’t quite food enough to cut it but at the same time we’re not talking about a roast dinner with all the trimmings either.
That’s not to say you can’t dine out exclusively on tapas for an evening. There are restaurants that will fill your belly with multiple platefuls of tiny morsels without you having to drink an equivalent quantity of beer or wine to meet the threshold.
And tapas doesn’t mean translate to tiny food either. In fact, tapas is the Spanish word for a cover or a lid. The lid in question is the plate, placed on top of your drink to keep flies away from the precious nectar. Originally that was it. A plate. Before some bright spark decided that an empty plate was akin to unlimited data on a North Sea oil platform and topped them off with something delicious.
That is certainly one interpretation that I have heard and if I am honest it sounds the most plausible too but there are other, perhaps more romantic stories behind the birth of tiny Spanish food.
Some cynical historians believe the wine drank by those unable to afford the good stuff had a tendency to be so awful that the smell of it had to be covered up with something more pungent. Nothing that a ripe and crumbly slab of manchego won’t help to mask, in much the same way that herbs and spices were often used to hide the smell of food that had been dead for a few days too long.
Then there are the monarchists who desperately want one of the Alfonsos to get some credit. King Alfonso X of Castille is reported to have become so ill at one point during his tenure that he could only eat tiny sized portions at any one time. This was 13th century Alfonso but for anyone looking for a more contemporary Alfie to thank then look no further than 19th-century namesake, Alfonso XIII. Rumour has it that whilst in Cadiz, a town notorious not only for being windy but also being dusty, Alfonso covered his drink with tiny plates of food to stop the sand ruining his favourite wine. As for the food, well I hope he liked it crunchy.
There is also the notion that food counteracts some of the effect of the alcohol. Eating not only slows down the rate at which we drink but it also helps absorbs some of the alcohol. This means we can drink for longer and remain as sophisticated as our innate levels of sophistication allows for. In the long run, customers are more likely to stick around is they don’t end up utterly inebriated, so it is possible that those bite sized snacks lead to more profitable businesses and less drunk patrons.
Regardless of where it came from, tapas is now a cultural institution in Spain and if there are pubs and bars out there not doing it then they will struggle to compete with those who do. Each bar in a town or a city should have one thing that they do best. It could be a tortilla or patatas bravas or calamari, as long as each bar has something that they do better than everyone else, tapas will remain king.
In the rest of the world the salted peanut is no longer enough. The Spanish have raised the bar for everyone. Bars and pubs in cities across the world give you more than just the drink you’ve ordered. Bread with oil and vinegar. Olives, chorizo, cheese and whatever local delights there are to offer will find their way onto a plate accompanying beers and wines all across Europe and beyond, and I for one would like to takes this opportunity to thank the Spanish for what I believe needs to be considered one of their very finest exports.
A Spanish Slots Revision
To honour such an incredible cultural movement I have decided that our Spanish slots need some revision. I have resigned myself to the fact that 10 slots from that country is impossible but none is simply not good enough either.
The slots I have chosen will be a combination of Spanish and South American themed slots. The links to Spain might be a little tenuous at times but they will be there, I promise.
Like a 10 item Tapas deal, here they are, the newly revised Top Ten Spanish themed slots, as a tribute to small food that is designed to make drinking more enjoyable.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
Let’s kick things off with the best slot of 2020 so far. If you want to take home the biggest prizes that this slot has to offer then at some point you are going to have to head to Spain and take on the deadly quick and the exceptionally handsome Vega in his own back yard. This slot takes everything you loved about the game and tries to turn it into a feature. There is nothing not to like here unless you, for some reason, have a dislike for the classic Nintendo game.
The Gonzo’s Quest slot was released back in 2011 and brought to life one of Net Entertainment’s most enduring characters. Gonzo is a Spanish Conquistador who is on the hunt for the Lost City of Eldorado. Net Entertainment claim that this was the first slot game in history to do away with the traditional reels and introduce an avalanche system. Whilst you might be able to find slots out there that are better than Gonzo’s Quest, the way it changed our expectations makes it too important not to find its way onto this list. You get some interesting bonus features and you get a competitive house edge, but Gonzo’s Quest is all about those avalanches.
The Narcos slot might only be a year old, but I for one consider it to be one of Net Ent’s very best. Narcos is a Spanish language drama that has hit the mainstream in a big way. Set in Columbia, Narcos depicts the case involving some of Latin America’s most notorious drug lords, none more so than the infamous Pablo Escobar. This slot has everything: excellent features that tie in perfectly with the themes of the programme, a competitive house edge and a slot that looks very much the part.
La Casa De Papal Clasico
The La Casa De Papal Clasico slot is about as Spanish as it is possible for us to get on this list. Based on the very popular Netflix drama, La Casa De Papal Clasico incorporates the key aspects of its source material, with a Heist feature and images from the show throughout. You get Free Spins and a decent house edge in a slot that won’t confuse nearly as much as the show it is based on often does.
Our travels across South and Central America take us to iSoftBet and the most recent release on this already impressive list of Spanish inspired slots. iSoftBet only do stunning looking slots, so you know you are in for a visual treat before you even get started. If I was to tell you that we scored the Golden City slot 9 out of 10 earlier this year then you will also know that there is much more to this slot than just how amazing it looks. Brace yourself: You get a Bonus Trail feature, Free Spins, expanding symbols and the whole thing revolves around cascading symbols. Interestingly, we finish with a slot that owes a great deal to the first entry on this list. Golden City is in my opinion where Gonzo’s Quest set about taking us and there is an argument that without that Net Entertainment slot we wouldn’t have this iSoftBet one.
As if Mexican wrestlers weren’t mad enough! What I love about the Lucha Maniacs slot is how it looks. Everything that has been added to those reels is shiny, from the symbols to those very reels themselves. Small moving parts, like the loudspeaker and the flag help to bring things properly to life, with the features on offer only adding to the whole experience. You have to be impressed with the work that is being done over at Yggdrasil, as their slots rarely fail to pass the eye test and the features test. This slot comes with Free Spins that have all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a quality Free Spins feature. You also get a bonus game that gives you the chance to play those Free Spins with 3 of the addons in play.
Bulls. Check. Bull Fighters. Check. Senorita. Check. Spanish guitar music, maracas and other things that are undeniably Spanish are all here. The Torro’s Gold slot is PariPlay’s homage to Spain and if La Casa De Papal Clasico was undeniably Spanish then this one is to the power of tapas. This is a simple slot at heart but the few things it does offer are all done verywell. Free Spins and Wilds along with an excellent house edge make this one of the best and undeniably Spanish slots out there for you to play today.
This has been the year of the ancient South American civilisations and the Contact slot is our only Play ‘n Go slot to explore that particular theme. I appreciate that Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilisations are not Hispanic but the worlds are so closely linked that if feels almost impossible to have one without the other. Here, we enter an Aztec temple where large slabs of stone that slide into place with what I can only describe as a very satisfying clunk. As well as sounding great this slot looks great, the grid is huge, helping to create the perfect playground for all the action that takes place as you spin those reels. The bonus rounds might be very similar to the main game but there are enough little addons to inject the variety needed and let’s not forget that the main game has much more to offer than most do anyway.
Hot Shots is a football themed slot that sees iSoftBet make another entry on this list. I could have included Hot Shots II but, that slot wasn’t quite as good as the original thanks to a less favourable house edge. The slot has representation from most of the world’s footballing nations and Spain make their appearance thanks to the inclusion of a Spanish Bull character. You get everything you could hope for from an iSoftBet slot: It looks amazing, has free spins, a bonus and comes with wilds. Add to this the excellent house edge and it is an 8 out of 10 from us.
The Pinata Fiesta slot takes us into modern day Mexico, lightyears away from the ancient civilisations that we’ve already mentioned and a whole ocean away from Spain. Who doesn’t love a pinata? Paper animals, filled with treats that you beat with a stick until they comply and hand over the precious candy. Pinatas are perfect for slots and this one is arguably the best one that I have played. If you can trigger the Free Spins feature then guess what? That’s right. You get to beat your very own pinata, which will add one of four possible additional features to your spins. Add to all of this some crazy looking symbols, most notably a cigar smoking, sombrero wearing chilli and you have yourself an excellent slot.
Four new slots in this list help to make our Spanish themed slots that little bit more Spanish. Hopefully even more will appear in the future.
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