Russian gaming companies are a furtive bunch. Discerning any sort of meaningful information about their status, future plans and even current activities is often nigh impossible.
Gaz Gaming is the perfect case in point. For the record, there is no reason for Russian software developers to be so reclusive; the country doesn’t crack down on coders or have an anti-gambling vendetta. No, it would simply appear that many Russian devs reveal little about themselves because they can.
In few other industries would it be possible for a business to survive without some degree of publicity, but that’s exactly what Gaz Gaming has done. Visit their website, which was registered in 2013, and all you’ll find is a holding page revealing the company’s logo – reflective gold lettering accompanied by an orange, cherry and grape, indicating their development of fruit machines – and that’s all.
Actually, there’s a contact email at the bottom of the page – firstname.lastname@example.org – but otherwise there is zero information on the furtive company and thus no easy means of fathoming them out. The company might be a closely guarded secret, but thankfully its software is out there on the web, providing an insight into what Gaz Gaming is capable of.
Visit the Gaz Gaming website using archive tool Wayback Machine and it becomes evident that the company’s website has always lain dormant. Either they never got round to building it or they registered the domain to preserve their brand name with no intention of ever building a proper site.
Thankfully, the internet knows everything, and with a little digging, Gaz Gaming start to give up at least some of their secrets. It’s hardly earth-shattering information, but it provides an insight at least into the games the company have produced to date and where their talents lie (spoiler alert: web design isn’t their strongest suit).
In the three years or so since Gaz Gaming was formed, the company have focused on slots. As it stands, they’ve released a handful of slots that can be found at a limited selection of casinos on the web, with Twist Casino the prime location of Gaz Gaming’s oeuvre. This appears to be a Russian casino that Gaz Gaming either have a share in or have contributed their suite of games to.
To date, the Russian software company have released precisely 16 video slots, and their names are as follows: Adults Only, Funky Dexter, Mega Hot, Apprentice Thief, Ghost Busters, Rich Catch, Aztec Gold, Happy New Year, Treasure Island, Cash Fiesta, Lost, World War II, Exciting Football, Lucky Sevens, Far Far Away and finally Maya Quest.
Instantly, a few inferences can be drawn about the games, language skills and mindset behind the mysterious Gaz Gaming team – assuming it is a team and not just the work of one guy of course.
In the Russian market, as well as across Eastern Europe, it’s common practice for regional versions of successful Western games to be released. The only difference is that the slot has been converted to accept local currency and into the local language, which is of course Russian in this case.
The original developer receives no royalties, and if it’s a branded slot, there’s similarly no remuneration. The companies whose brands have been impinged on in this manner would likely be more disgruntled by the cheapness of the resulting product bearing their name rather than any minor loss of income.
Take Ghost Busters for example. Gaz Gaming’s slot conversion of the classic 80s movie is, as eagle-eyed readers will have already spotted, written slightly differently from the movie starring Bill Murray, which was stylised as Ghostbusters.
This subtle alteration of the name would not be enough to save Gaz Gaming from a lawsuit if Columbia Pictures cared enough to chase down the Russian firm – or were even capable of getting hold of them. The slot even features the movie’s protagonists, including Slimer plus the Ecto 1 Ghostbusters car.
The other defining characteristic of Russian developers – some of them at least – is a tendency to release slots that would make other gaming companies blush and feminists faint. Depending on your principles, the firm’s Adults Only slot is either in dubious taste, morally repugnant, an abomination in the current year or the height of hilarity. The game features sex toys, condoms, a woman pleasuring two men and various other instances of female nudity. It’s not exactly sexy – the graphics are too poor for that – but it’s certainly eye-opening.
While there’s no disputing the game’s tackiness, it does exude a certain appeal purely out of morbid curiosity. Yes, this dissolute game actually exists, and yes you can actually play it if you’re so disposed.
Not all of Gaz Gaming’s slots are sordid or stolen, it must be pointed out. Some appear to be based on original concepts, or at least as original as a game named Lucky Sevens can be.
As its name reveal, this is an old-school slot, one whose setting is a casino lobby. The 3-reel offering may not present anything players haven’t seen before, but it’s a competent game, and one that will appeal to fans of retro games, of which there are many.
Gaz Gaming appear to fare best with their own titles that are released in Russian for the local market. This includes Tanks and Money, a 5-reel video slot with a military theme. It features 9 paylines, wilds and a bonus game in which you’re required to take aim with a tank and strike the targets to win money.
As an example of the sort of classic fruit machine games from which Gaz Gaming derives its logo, try Mega Hot. Like the company’s other releases, it’s not much to look at, but at least it’s the sort of game you can play without the shades drawn down, unlike Adults Only.
While Russian slots will appeal to Russian players due to the language and currency commonality, for non-Russians the only possible reason for giving these slots a spin is to marvel at their sheer wackiness. Take Funky Dexter, for example, which is set in a forest and features a lion, an Incan mask, an acorn, a hunter’s trap and a butterfly, among other things. How do they dream up this stuff; do they just write down words, mix them up in a bowl and draw them at random to be used as game symbols?
Gaz Gaming’s slots are designed to work in Flash only. When it comes to tech, the company’s approach is about as forward-thinking as its attitudes to sex. If you want to play Gaz Gaming’s 16 slots, or a handful of them at least, you’ll need to be a desktop user; they’re not designed for mobile.
Gaz Gaming is destined to remain a niche software development company – assuming they’re still a going concern that is. If they have called it a day, or been sued out of existence by one of the many companies they’ve plagiarised, their legacy lives on through the likes of Adults Only, a game that proves that there truly is a slot for every possible concept the imagination can conjure.
Gaz Gaming is a crazy bunch, but the internet is arguably a better place for their contribution to society.