Review of The Big Lebowski Slots
Since it’s release in 1998, The Big Lebowski has had a cult-like following among fans who see the film not only as a great story, but also as a religious way of life: “Dudeism“. There’s just something about the simple wisdoms of Jeff Bridges’ character that appeals to everyone’s sense of spirituality, or at the very least makes them laugh. The Dude and his philosophies are truly larger than life.
My buddies and I first saw The Big Lebowski in college and we immediately knew that it was going to be a classic film for the ages. I think we watched it around 10 times over the weekend when it was first released on DVD, in various states of inebriation and amazement. I’ve tried to watch it at least once a year since graduating because it always gets better with each viewing, and I usually find something new that I hadn’t noticed before.
So ya – you can damn well bet that I’m bringing some heavy biases into this review with me. I’ve been a fan of the Dude for over 20 years and those feelings get stronger and stronger over time. I think that most people who read this are also going to be huge fans of the movie and know exactly what I’m talking about.
Warning: there is a serious bad language alert for this game so anyone with sensitive ears will want to keep on trucking. But let’s be honest – why in the heck are you reading a review of a slot based on one of the most hilarious curse-filled movies of the ’90s if you have a problem with strong language? You must abide or go for a ride.
So crank up the Creedence, put on your bathrobe, and grab your favorite hard beverage and let’s get started…and don’t forget to throw that Eagles cassette directly in the garbage.
As these screenshots clearly show, this game is crisp and clean, and drenched in color – which definitely isn’t what I would have expected a Big Lebowski slot game to look like. I would have thought that it would be a little darker in tone, but I’m absolutely happy to spin with a bright and happy mood if that’s what 888 Holdings wants to give us.
If you click the screenshots below to enlarge them you will also see that the game controls were well designed, with little touches like the Spin button being a bowling ball, and all of the fonts in a classic Southern Californian style.
All The Dude wanted was to enjoy some White Russians, smoke a doobie or two, and live in peace with the universe. Unfortunately, that tranquility was violently shattered as two hooligans kicked in his door and promptly urinated on his rug. It eventually comes to light that the meatheads were looking for a different Jeffrey Lebowski so The Dude goes directly to his house to demand reparations for his ruined rug – after all, it really brought the room together. The “Big” Lebowski is an old cranky millionaire confined to a wheelchair who tells The Dude the rug situation isn’t his fault and he can go climb a tree.
A short time later the young trophy wife of the Big Lebowski is then kidnapped and he enlists The Dude to help him facilitate the ransom exchange and get her back. Numerous plot twists then unfold as The Dude and his best friend Walter try to balance the volatile situation with their important bowling tournament, as they meet up with tons of hilarious characters and ridiculous pitfalls along the way. I won’t give away any more details in the slim chance that you haven’t already seen this movie, but please believe me when I tell you that it’s an absolute masterpiece.
This game from 888 Holdings unfortunately doesn’t dive into any of the crazy plot lines from the movie and instead concentrates on the group’s love of bowling, and select scenes from the original film. What a bummer, Man! Although, I imagine that most of you will feel like I did and just be happy to see Donny and the boys in an online slot machine. Don’t worry though, there is definitely enough content in this game to bring back the joyful memories of the movie and keep you entertained.
Since I still can’t believe a casino software company actually released a slot based on The Big Lebowski, I really shouldn’t complain too much about it…so I won’t. However, I do have to say that I think most fans would have thrown out some of the card symbols in favor of a few more unique symbols like a white Russian, a rug, or a severed toe. These would have been easy to include and wouldn’t have required any licensing or legal approvals, so I am a little confused as to why these didn’t come to pass.
Anyway, all of the main characters are included as symbols so let’s be thankful for what we have, but it would have been nice to see the Big Lebowski, David Huddleston in this game somewhere. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Brandt, Tara Reid as Bunny, and Sam Elliott as The Stranger all should have made an appearance somewhere, in my opinion.
Oh – Flea as Nihlist #2: Kieffer, would have obviously propelled this game onto another level of awesomeness, but it is what it is…
- 10 (Green Bowling Ball)
- J (Jack – Blue Bowling Ball)
- Q (Queen – Purple Bowling Ball)
- K (King – Yellow Bowling Ball)
- A (Ace – Orange Bowling Ball)
- Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore)
- Theodore “Donnie” Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi)
- Walter Sobchak (John Goodman)
- Jesus Quintana (John Turturro)
- Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges)
- 1973 Ford Gran Torino (Wild)
- Coffee Can with Ashes (Bonus)
The Dude knows that this aggression will not stand, and is of course the highest-paying symbol in the game with 1,000 coins for 5 of a Kind. It’s a little surprising that The Jesus pays the second-best with 700 coins for the same considering his amount of screen time, but I guess we’ll have to “roll” with it. Walter finally gets some respect in the 3rd position paying 400 coins for five across the reels, with Donny and Maude following up with 300 and 200 coins respectively for 5 of them in 1 spin.
You won’t have to trade your pinky toe for a big cash prize here because the Dude’s slot game abides with a progressive jackpot that can be won at random, on any combination of symbols during a spin. Like other games that we’ve seen, it alleges that you have a better chance of winning The Big Lebowski Slots Jackpot if you are wagering larger amounts on each spin and covering more paylines…even though you can only play a fixed 25 paylines each spin. Confusing, right? I suspect that if you try to dig deeper into how the math on this claim works you will enter a world of pain, so don’t even bother.
The jackpot prize is re-seeded after it’s won and then begins to build all over again. The largest amount that I’ve ever seen won was in April of 2017 when it went off at over $1.2 million. Now that would be a religious experience.
The “Goodnight Sweet Prince” bonus game is a bit of a tear-jerker since it presents you with five cans of ashes with “Bonus” written on them, set against a beautiful background of the Pacific Ocean. (Those who have seen the movie will immediately know the scene that the feature is referencing.) You select one of the cans and a prize is revealed, which will be a random multiplier that’s applied to the triggering wager amount. Thankfully, it shows you the multipliers that were in the other cans that you didn’t choose, but you have to read them quickly because they disappear fast.
This bonus area is triggered by the Coffee Can symbol falling on reels #1 and #5 in the same spin and has a maximum payout each time of 33x on the triggering wager. All of the multipliers will always range somewhere from 3x to 10x so you have the opportunity to really boost your bankroll while you’re visiting the beach.
There’s also a small reel feature of the Gran Torino Wild symbol expanding when it lands on a winning payline on reel #3, and it extends to cover all three positions. This usually gives you a few extra payline wins when it hits so it’s nothing to sneeze at.
The Big Lebowski Slots free spins are handed out as “spares” in keeping with the bowling theme of the game, but you’re not going to believe how you win them: You get free spins in exchange for losing spins. Yup – you read that correctly. Every losing spin triggers one re-spin to try to give you a win, but obviously it’s not unlimited. If your re-spin is also a losing spin it doesn’t trigger another re-spin, so basically any cold streaks are pretty much cut in half: losing spin, re-spin, losing spin, re-spin, etc.
Of course these re-spins come with a price, and some players may consider it a steep price. First of all, you must wager a minimum of 25 coins each spin, so you’ll want to choose your bet size carefully. (You should also note that there are many jumps in coin sizes: $0.01, $0.03, $0.05, etc. so keep your eye on your “total bet” to make sure that you’re staying within your gambling budget.) Also, this game has a much lower Return to Player (RTP) than many other online slots and some of you may find the 94.5% not high enough for your liking. However, I think that most fans will agree that the low RTP is worth it in order to play a Dude-themed slot.
The game’s intro video gives you the full bowling alley dream sequence from the film, which sets the stage perfectly for what’s about to unfold. Once you get into the main game you will love the background with The Dude and Walter looking in fine form, which could totally be an original promotional photo for the film. There are also tons of images of El Duderino from the movie, with the main background in the regular game being the bowling alley that they love so dearly.
Thankfully, we got a few video clips from the movie like the “goodnight sweet prince” scene at the cliffs where Walter shakes out the coffee can of ashes, as well as the Jesus taunting his bowling opponents. Also, there are some great animations on the character symbols like when Walter pulls out his gun and points it, it actually leaves the symbol’s area to extend over the reel.
There’s some great comedy in the game via the messages that crawl along the bottom of the screen like, “See what happens when Wild expands the reels”, in an obvious reference to the “Larry scene” from the movie. There are other comedic nuggets hidden throughout this slot, but I’ll let you find them for yourself.
Audio & Soundtrack
This game has a lot of songs in its soundtrack so there’s never a dull moment when you’re playing. The jam that pumps out during the intro video is fantastic – it’s a ’60s rock-infused Country and Western hip-shaker, with a deliberate guitar that sounds straight out of Nashville. This is backed up by a fantastic electric organ that battles the axeman for control of the song, making it one of the better tunes I’ve ever heard in an online slot.
The mood then changes with a swanky horn-driven blues song once it loads up and is waiting for you to start spinning. It’s a longer audio clip and the loop is flawless – another decisive victory for the person who chose the game’s soundtrack. Next we have a swinging Honky Tonk number that chugs along as you spin the reels in the regular game. Finally, during the Goodnight Sweet Prince bonus feature there is a beautiful Mexican number played with a climbing Spanish guitar and focused maracas that will get your hips swinging in the breeze.
Unfortunately, the main game audios are pretty loud and jarring, with the sound of bowling balls crashing into pins used as one of the winning payline sounds. There is also a loud trumpet blast effect for larger wins, which most of you will probably find totally unnecessary.
The game’s creators were sure to add many real quotes from the movie like
that’s laughable man and
mark it zero! which add to the rollicking fun time. This title also has the distinction of being the first online slot machine I’ve ever played that has the “F-Word” in it. Yes, you read that correctly: The Dude belts out,
What the f*@k are you talking about? whenever he lands on the reels, and it’s both totally unexpected and extremely funny.
All of the audio clips from the movie keep the game moving and will certainly have you entertained, but if you find that they’re starting to annoy you simply click the Turbo button and that will turn off all of the video clips and audios so you can spin in peace.
Whoever decided on what was to be included in this slot certainly had a sense of humor and did a great job of importing the unique comedy from the film and injecting it into the game. As you can tell by my glowing review, fans of the film will definitely enjoy The Big Lebowski Slots because it delivers in pretty much every major category. My only concern is that since there are so many inside jokes contained in the game, it will probably only be for those who have both seen and enjoyed the film. Although, if you really like to go bowling perhaps you’re the exception to this rule so I encourage you to give it a roll.
Ultimately, most players will probably be as shocked as I was that this slot was even released in the first place, and will easily be able to look past its few shortcomings like the lack of an intricate bonus round and dedicated free spins mode. These are indeed sad omissions and you know that I would never throw around unfounded accusations like Walter,
Is this your homework, Larry? Do you see what happens? Do you see what happens, Larry? This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!
The final verdict is that with tons of imagery and videos of the original characters, lots of funny lines from the movie, and an explosion of colorful bowling balls across the reels, The Big Lebowski Slots is definitely worth checking out. Not to mention that the progressive jackpot can grow to be a massive seven figures so there’s lots of incentive to roll…even on Shabbas.
Come on, Dude. F*@k it, man. Let’s go bowling.
Bonus Video of The Big Lebowski
Here is a “must watch” video on the making of The Big Lebowski with behind the scenes interviews and little known facts. I had never seen it and I’m very happy that I stumbled across it – it’s for any fan of his Dudeness, Dudeism, or clean and sanitary rugs….they really pull the room together…