The racy and risque Western Belles online slot machine was released in early
2014 by renowned slot manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT), under
the company’s IGT Interactive division.
As an online only slot, Western Belles can only be played through an online
casino platform which utilizes IGT Interactive software. Fortunately for fans of
this unique Old West meets the Playboy Mansion style slot, IGT Interactive
products like Western Belle can be found on more than a 100 online casino
networks – including global leaders like Bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Party
Casino, and William Hill.
The game’s theme is inspired directly by the cowgirl pin up artwork of Gil
Elvgren 1914 – 1980, an American artist who specialized in painting whimsical
depictions of gorgeous women posing and showing off scantily clad themed
costumes. One of Elvgren’s most popular genres of pin up art involved his
beloved “Western Belles,” a group of women who have no trouble riding horses or
heading out on the range.
Of course, Elvgren’s belles are typically outfitted in revealing skirts and
low-cut blouses, but within the obvious focus on beauty is the artists’ clear
love of the Wild West dynamic. Among the well known models of the 1940s and
1950s that sat for Elvgren’s pin up treatment were Arlene Dahl, Barbara Hale,
Myrna Hansen, Kim Novak, and Donna Reed. During World War II, Elvgren’s images
of buxom American beauties were so appreciated by U.S. airman that the pin ups
were even plastered over the nose tips of fighters and bombers.
Between 1945 and 1972 Elvgren worked for Brown & Bigelow, a publishing
company based in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Through an exclusive
licensing agreement with Brown & Bigelow, IGT Interactive was able to obtain
genuine Elvgren pin up paintings for use in its Western Belles online slot.
The game’s title screen immediately sets the adult appropriate tone for
Western Belles, featuring the title written out to appear on an old fashioned
wooden sign. Below that, a rickety fence occupies the foreground, with a smiling
pin up cowgirl straddling the top. Her red boots and scarf combine with a blue
skirt and white blouse to accentuate the Americana angle, but men will likely
never notice that homage, focusing instead on the woman’s long blonde hair and
even longer legs.
The reel array dominates the main game screen, but in the background you’ll
find a basic desert landscape, with brushy bushes, red rock spires, and a clear
blue sky overhead.
As for the reel symbols, Western Belles follows through with its theme in
fine fashion, as even the basic card rank symbols 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A are
styled to evoke Old West style printing. Moving on to the themed symbols, you’ll
be spinning the cowgirl boot, the cowgirl hat, the woman in the white blouse,
the woman in the blue vest, the lipstick kiss, and the Bonus symbol.
Additionally, Western Belles includes an interesting feature known as Wild
Reels, and when activated, this will cause entire reels to be filled with full
fledged pin up paintings that serve as wild symbols. The Wild Reels come in two
varieties, one for the base game which includes a Christmas cowgirl, and another
showing a gunslinger cowgirl which appears only on free spins. A Wild Reel
occupies all four spaces on a given reel, turning each space wild and replacing
any symbol needed to create winning combinations across the screen.
For the most part, Western Belles integrates Elvgren’s artwork perfectly,
giving players a portrait shot on the main reels while they anticipate the full
body reveal on Wild Reels. The game’s overall design scheme succeeds in
capturing the essence of the Old West vibe, as well as Elvgren’s clear
appreciation for the female form. Western Belles may not be a favorite for
ladies out there, but their husbands will surely sneak in a few spins on a game
that is clearly designed with men in mind.
And even if the visual motif doesn’t appeal to you, fans of classic Western
films will also appreciate Western Belles because of the game’s intrepid
soundtrack selection. Complete with the sounds of cracking whips, horses
neighing and galloping, and even original songs by famed Spaghetti Western
composer Ennio Morricone.