October is International Hispanic Heritage Month. 31 days where the world is encouraged to take some time to celebrate the influence of all things Spanish.
Spanish influence is too vast to be confined to just the one solitary set of 24 hours. Instead, to help squeeze every drop of Latin inspiration into our lives we have been give 4 whole weeks to consider the language, music, food, history and other cultural wonders that the people of Spain have spread throughout the world.
Origins of International Hispanic Month
Believe it or not, the decision to turn International Hispanic Day into a month-long celebration was one taken by then US President, Ronald Reagan back in 1988. You could quite easily argue that his contribution to Hispanic culture is a surprising one, especially when you consider the influence he had in South and Central America during his 2 stints in office. The reason he chose this particular time of the year appears to be because there are a number of South and Central American countries who celebrate their independence at around this time.
Spain Around the World
Spanish is the 2nd most spoken native language in the world and roughly 530 million people speak it. There are 21 countries that consider Spanish their native language, all of which, other than Spain itself, make up practically all of Central and South America. In fact, with the exception of Brazil, Spanish is the first language of every single country in that entire region.
What else can we thank the Spanish for?
Literature for one. “Don Quixote” is considered by many to be the first novel written in any language. It would unrealistic to suggest that we wouldn’t have got there without Cervantes’ masterpiece but there should be no doubt that he helped to speed up the process and paved the way for the emergence of prose over poetry, something that wouldn’t become the preferred verse of choice for over 200 years.
According to the UN, Spain is the 3rd most architecturally influential country in the world, coming in behind the likes of Italy and China. If you have ever visited the country and been to cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Granada then you will know that there are some truly stunning buildings defining those cities. If you ever been to South or Central America as well then you could almost imagine that many of the buildings that you have seen in Spain have been lifted up and rooted down on the other side of the Atlantic.
From here I could go just about anywhere. With food I could mention the obvious national dishes, like tortilla Espanola, gazpacho or paella. I could also mention potatoes, chocolate and the tomato. All of these ingredients were brought back to Europe on Spanish ships. I could mention dance, like the Salsa or the Tango. I could mention Spanish guitar music and endless numbers of instruments invented there. Siestas, Fiestas, turning up late to the fiestas. The list is endless.
Spanish Themed Slots
Here at ThePogg we are planning on celebrating International Hispanic Month with a huge bowl of Patatas Bravas and a helping of the 10 best Hispanic Influenced slots. The slots that we look at will take us on a tour of South and Central America, to the regions of the world where the Spanish language is spoken today.
I am going to kick things off with one of the all-time classic slots. 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.
There is a lot to like about the Mayan slot. For anyone who doesn’t know and for the few who might care, the Mayan’s the most ancient civilisation in Central America, predating the Greek civilisation by roughly 1000 years. As for the slot, Mayanan was released by Quickspin in October 2017 and is set deep within the ancient Amazon Jungle. Your symbols are made up of a few brightly coloured animals, all of them found somewhere in the dense Amazon Jungle. The slot looks good, the features are fun and the house edge is competitive.
The Pinata Fiesta slot takes us into modern day Mexico, lightyears away from the ancient Mayan civilisations that we’ve left behind. 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.
I feel like I never stop writing about the Narcos slot and that is mainly because it has to be considered one of the best releases of 2019. The other reason is that it can appeal to people in a variety of different ways. In this instance we are looking at this slot because it based on what I would imagine is the most successful Spanish language dramas in recent times. 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.
The Phoenix Reborn slot made an appearance on our Phoenix themed slots list earlier in the year and should be considered one of Play ‘n Go’s best releases of 2019. In this slot you enter an ancient Aztec temple, playing across a very large grid with 40 different paylines. You get a number of excellent features, the best of which are the Free Spins, which can be re-triggered. You also get expanding Wilds but the most important element of the entire slot is how good it looks. This shouldn’t be a surprise given how good most Play ‘n Go slots have been looking recently but I have to say that Phoenix Reborn stands out even from that very select group of slots.
The Lucha Legends slot is the first of two Mexican wrestling themed slots on this list, because who doesn’t love Mexican Wrestling? The slot both looks and sounds fantastic, with some fun music playing as you spin those reels. You get bright, cartoonish looking symbols that help bring this slot to life, with all the spirit and energy of a real Mexican Wrestler. Of the features that you get, the Power Up Button is probably the most fun, but also the most dangerous. I want to place a word of caution in here because if you want to play it you will need to bet more, which you should only do if you can afford to lose the additional money. Your house edge is reasonable too, meaning there isn’t too much not to like here.
This has been the year of the ancient South American civilisations and the Contact slot is the second of two Play ‘n Go slots 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.
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.
Finally, 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.
Despite writing up a list of the best Hispanic themed slots out there, there is nothing here that is actually set in Spain. I guess the old country doesn’t offer the same sort of mysticism, colour or fun that that the Americas do. I also appreciate that a few of the titles on here could be argued to have nothing to do with Hispanic culture, that the Mayans never came in contact with the Spanish, but I think that would be a little too specific for the sake of a list of slots. One thing you can be sure of is that every single slot on this list is one you will find hugely entertaining.
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