Mexico edition part 1
Okay, so a different approach this time. There are a lot of Mesoamerican/Mexican inspired RTG games, plus they have a lot of elements in common. We’ll be doing a back and forth between the past and present whilst hitting your favorite titles. Also, we will be splitting these entries in two parts, to better cover myths and culture in all the games. So, hold off on your tacos and tequila, because we’ll be stepping into the jungle to face the mighty jaguars! It’s slot myth time! Let’s go!
The game with the biggest jackpot is themed after the empire of golden cities. Right? Right!? Well, El Dorado (literally the Gold) never really existed. But you know what did exist? Tenochtitlan, one of the last marvels of ancient engineering. The capital of the burgeoning Aztec empire was built in the middle of Lake Texcoco, present-day Mexico City. But why build a city in the middle of a lake? Well because your head deity and God of war, appeared in the form of an eagle and told you to. And whatever Huitzilopochtli says goes, he is The Sun after all.
Okay, the Aztecs had a pretty sweet time ruling their empire and sacrificing people so the Sun would keep moving. Standard stuff, I know. But every party has to end sometime, and the name of the end was Cortez. And smallpox (which did all the heavy lifting if you ask me). Plus, an indigenous translator woman, known as La Malinche aka Cortez’s indigenes’ wife. She is also the lady in the symbol so, cross that one of the list.
The next symbol is of course, the King Symbol which could be standing in for Moctezuma himself. Yap, the last Aztec ruler who graciously accepted Cortez into his kingdom only to get it sacked and pillaged. But let’s escape this sad historical scene and jump into some more of slot myths. What’s that weird eagle-chicken costume thing? Glad you asked.
The costume was worn by the elite shock tropes called imaginatively the eagle warriors. They and jaguar warriors wore their uniforms to honour two deities who jumped into the fire as sacrifices for humanity. The first to jump was Nanahuatzin. With that jump, he came out of the other side of the fire either as an eagle or the Sun. Then Tēcciztēcatl, embarrassed that the handicapped god showed more bravery, jumped right behind him and turned into a Jaguar. Or the Moon depends on the myth.
But you know who else turned into the Sun? Well, like 6 or 7 other gods, it was a bit of a side gig for the gods. But the coolest one was Quetzalcoatl, the flying snake serpent or the beautiful serpent depending on who you ask. It is for him that the final weird wave/wind pattern (Xicalcoliuhqui) on the golden shield stands for. Now let’s move on to the much nearer past of the 20th century for our next slot myth…
Lucha Libre 1 and 2
So, knowing what we know about the eagle warriors it would be safe to assume that the luchador evolved as an homage. Well, you’d be wrong because the Lucha mask was exported from the US at the beginning of the 20th century. At the 1915 New York international Wrestling Tournament, attendance was at an all-time low. Then an ingenious marketing moment changed everything. A retired wrestler called Mort Henderson, calling himself the Masked Marvel, came in and challenged anyone willing to fight him.
Soon after, the fad jumped the border, adopted the name Lucha Libre (literally free hands) and added the Aztec esthetic retroactively! Slot myth busted! I’m on a roll, let’s bust another slot myth or two.
Piñatas and More
You know pinatas (Pinnata and Popinata), well they don’t come from Mexico either, they originate from China. Marco Polo brought it over to Italy and from there it went to Spain until it finally settled in Mexico. And now it’s a global phenomenon and the sworn enemy of every drunk uncle at your 7th birthday party. Slot myth busted again! What’s next?
A yes, the jumping bean (Jumping Beans), or should I say the jumping fraud! They are not even beans, but instead, they are seeds of the plant Sebastiania pavoniana. More specifically they are seeds infected with a moth larva who snacks on the insides of the seeds, leaving just a husk. But the moth larva didn’t count on bored humans, who find it quite amusing that the husk jumps when heated. No free lunches, I guess.
One last slot the and we go back to the past. You know the dancing cactus that are in the Jumping Beans slot, well they are not Mexican either. They are drum roll, please… Japanese. Dam dam!
Haniwa are clay dolls with signature open mouth/blank stare combo who were placed with the deceased in 3-century Japan. Fast forward to the Final Fantasy video game series and the Cactuar enemy, which combined the Haniwa-face with a cactus. That’s all the time we got in this episode, join us next time and see where we end up next. Slot myth out (for now) …
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