Worldwide slot manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) released its
Mayan Riches slot machine in 2007, adding yet another Mayan themed title to
Seemingly every major slot designer in the industry has crafted their own
take on the Mayan theme, relying on modern curiosity about the ancient Central
American civilization to create a generic slot template. Among the rivals to
IGT’s Mayan Riches game are Mayan Treasures by Bally Gaming, Sun and Moon and
Fire Light by Aristocrat Leisure, and Mayan Chief by Konami.
The Mayan people thrived throughout modern day Mexico and Guatemala during
the 16th century, becoming one of the most advanced civilizations in the
Americas before the arrival of Spanish explorers spelled their doom. Even before
that, however, the Mayans were building immense pyramids and other monuments,
developing agricultural practices, and studying astronomy – dating back for more
than 2,000 years.
Today, well preserved Mayan cities like Teotihuacan and Tikal provide
visitors with a glimpse into prehistory, with expertly carved statues and
temples offering a tangible connection to one of the Americas’ first cultures.
With the seemingly universal appeal of ancient civilizations in mind, slot
machine manufacturers like IGT and its collection of competitors have developed
games like Mayan Riches for one simple reason: recognition.
Everybody studied the ancient peoples as a school child, and even if you
didn’t grow up to be a historian, this basic connection provides an entry point
to the game. All of us don’t watch Sex and the City, or appreciate the musical
stylings of Elvis, so these specialized themed slots serve a niche segment of
the market. But games like Mayan Riches, with their broader focus and
recognizable theme, provide a perfect entry point for slot players who don’t yet
have a favorite title.
The title screen shown to passersby is pretty barebones in its design,
featuring the title written out in big blocky font, overlaid on an engraved
During the actual game, the background screen shifts to a lush green jungle
environment, reminiscent of the Mayan people’s ancient homeland. The game’s
title is displayed in gold font, with small accoutrements meant to signify a
pyramid like structure and other monuments.
The reel symbols used in Mayan Riches begin with the basic card rank symbols,
running from 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A. In terms of themed symbols, IGT went with
the gold faced idol, the golden cup, the Mayan priestess, the Mayan warrior, the
ancient pyramid, and the Bonus symbol.
Overall, the visual scheme of Mayan Riches isn’t anything to write home
about, offering a basic graphics that don’t require much in the way of detail.
In fact, without the word “Mayan” in the title, the onscreen images could easily
be used for an Aztec or Incan themed slot game. For the most part, IGT appears
to have taken the path of least resistance when designing Mayan Riches, slapping
a “native culture” template together and applying it over standard slot
The game does feature a catchy soundtrack which is meant to mimic tribal
chanting, and this provides a sense of balance to the bland graphics. In recent
years, IGT has adapted Mayan Riches online casino play through its IGT