Konami is a widely recognized brand among video game enthusiasts and gamblers alike. Established in 1969, the company started manufacturing gambling devices in the 1980s and began making slots for the U.S. market in the 2000s.
Konami slots aren’t very innovative, and their online versions won’t impress you with their special effects; however, there’s no denying that over the years, the Japanese developers became the masters of fast-paced games revolving around symbol stacks and free spins.
The best Konami slot games
|China Mystery||96.1%||30||5||Cultural, Chinese|
|Chili Chili Fire||96.09%||30||5||Cultural, Mexican|
|Lion Festival Boosted Celebration||96.08%||30||5||Cultural, Chinese|
|Solstice Celebration||96.03%||30||5||Spiritual, Seasonal|
|Great Moai||96.01%||30||5||Pacific, Polynesian|
|Dragon's Law||96%||30||5||Asian, Oriental|
|Sparkling Roses||95.92%||30||5||Beauty, Luxury|
|China Shores||94.09%||30||5||Cultural, Chinese|
|African Diamond||94.01%||30||5||Cultural, African|
Konami slots are formulaic because the company tends to build them around stacked symbols and re-triggerable free spins. However, these mechanics work really well together, especially with a high return-to-player (RTP) percentage, so many players consider this to be an advantage rather than a flaw.
Konami prioritizes smooth, fast-paced gameplay over eye candy, so their games don’t include many disruptive animations. Their visual appeal relies mostly on the symbol and reel designs, which are aesthetically pleasing. This style of slots won’t appeal to everyone. If you aren’t a graphics hound, you should definitely give Konami games a try.
Konami slots: game spotlights
Konami games may be similar to one another, but fans tend to have their favorites. Below you’ll find a short overview of three modern Konami slots that are hot in internet casinos in 2019:
- China Shores – five reels, 30 paylines. The game is based around the action-stacked symbols mechanic, which can fill any reel with stacks of any symbol aside from the wild. The game has a mini-jackpot of sorts, since landing five yin-yang symbols on an active payline results in a 100x payout. In addition, hitting three or more yin-yang symbols will trigger up to 15 free spins with a 2x payout multiplier. If you retrigger this bonus and get to 20 free spins, you’ll get an option to activate the “Balance of Fortune” feature and trade your free games for a random cash reward.
- Chili Chili Fire – five reels, 30 paylines. Chili Chili Fire also utilizes action-stacked symbols. It also has a fade away feature, which replaces low-paying card symbols with random high-paying picture symbols upon counting all the line wins. This makes the smiling wild symbol all the more useful, even though it doesn’t ever appear on the first reel. If three or more chili scatter symbols appear on the screen, you’ll be awarded with an additional payout and up to 25 free spins. During the bonus, the frequency of the fade away feature is greatly increased.
- China Mystery – five reels, 30 paylines. From a mechanical standpoint, this game is very similar to China Shores. It includes action-stacked symbols and a mysterious woman scatter symbol that can award you with eight, ten, or 15 free spins. Just like in China Shores, you can trade your free games for a random payout by using the “Balance of Fortune” option, which becomes available once you retrigger the bonus enough times to get to 20 free spins.
Special slots features
Konami slots’ action-stacked symbols mechanic makes them very popular among all kinds of gamblers. This mechanic can fill the reels with multiple copies of the same symbol, although this usually doesn’t apply to all symbols.
Konami also offers an easily recognizable take on free spins bonuses. The number of scatter symbols typically determines the number of awarded spins, the bonus can be retriggered for more free games, and all payouts are doubled. This formula is very satisfying and is sometimes copied by other slot manufacturers.
Online slots and land-based machines
Konami slots may be more about gameplay than graphics, but that doesn’t mean they don’t include any special effects. The land-based games tend to play a satisfying animation if you line up several high-paying symbol stacks to score a big payout.
Unfortunately, these animations are either toned down or missing in their online counterparts. Symbol animations in the online games are simplified, too. For example, the mysterious woman symbol in the land-based version of China Mystery is fully animated, but in the online slot, it is completely static.
Obviously, this isn’t done out of laziness. After all, modern computers and mobile devices are more than capable of handling even the most sophisticated 2D animations. The problem lies in the bandwidth, as browser-based slot games are expected to work well even on slow internet connections. Simply put, Konami is still forced to cram games with 100+ megabytes (MB) into a three- to five-MB package.
Select games and payback percentages
The RTP for Konami games can range from 92% to 96.1%. In general, the 30+ payline slots with the action-stacked symbols mechanic tend to offer better returns and higher volatility. Examples:
Konami slots history
|Name||Konami Holdings Corporation|
|Top slot||China Shores|
|Special slot feature||Action Stacked Symbols|
Kagemasa Kozuki, Konami’s current chairman, founded the company in 1969 as a jukebox repair business. In the second half of the 1970s, Kozuki noticed the potential in the fledgling video game industry and transformed his company into a manufacturer of video arcade machines.
The first Konami coin-operated video game was ready in 1978. The company’s first breakthrough hit came in 1981 with the release of Frogger, which was followed by Scramble and Super Cobra.
Throughout the 1980s, the company established many of its franchises, including Metal Gear, Contra, Castlevania, Gradius, and Twin Bee. It also expanded to the United States and Europe and was listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange. By the end of the decade, Konami’s capital increased to 8.095 billion yen.
In 1992, Konami expanded into the pachislot and pachinko industry and began creating liquid-crystal display (LCD) games for the Japanese pachinko market. In 1997, it began developing Western-style gambling machines for the Australian slot market. On the video games front, the company released many smash hits for Sony PlayStation, including Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill.
In 2000, Konami became the first Japanese company to enter the slot machines market in the United States. By 2002, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Konami continued developing games for next-generation consoles but also expanded to the sports industry, which was facilitated by the purchase of People Co., Ltd. (currently Konami Sports Club).
Konami’s capital has almost quadrupled since the 1990s. In 2005, the company opened a new office and production facility for gaming machines in Las Vegas, Nevada. Konami also signed a licensing agreement with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to produce soccer video games.
From 2010 to the present
In 2012, Takuya Kozuki replaced Kagemasa as the head of the company. As a result, Konami began to move away from developing high-quality games for home computers and consoles. Instead, they focused on mobile gaming, pachinko, and slot machines.
This led to a conflict between Hideo Kojima, the man behind the Metal Gear series, and Konami’s corporate leadership, which ultimately resulted in Kojima Productions being closed in 2015. When Kojima left the company, Konami delisted itself from New York Stock Exchange and stopped producing AAA games, focusing on mobile gaming and low-budget console titles instead.
On the casino side, Konami developers came up with a very engaging slot formula involving stacked symbols and re-triggerable free spins, which is used to this day. The success of this formula allowed the company to open a new slot machine manufacturing facility in Nevada. This second facility became operational in 2015.
Konami Holdings Corporation is a publicly traded company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO: 9766).
As of September 2018, the principal shareholders in Konami included The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Ltd. (17.30% stake), Kozuki Foundation (12.50%), Kozuki Holding (11.61%), Japan Trustee Services Bank Ltd. (Trust Account, 7.39%), Kozuki Capital Corporation (5.21%), Trust & Custody Services Bank Ltd. (2.01%), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (1.49%), and Japan Trustee Services Bank, Ltd. (Trust Account 5, 1.16%).
Konami management and corporate structure
Konami is headed by its board of directors, which are elected by the shareholders. The current president of the company is Takuya Kozuki. He is the son of Kagemasa Kozuki, who is now the chairman of the company. Both the president and the chairman are also acting as representative directors.
The remaining members of the board of directors are Osamu Nakano, Kimihiko Higashio, Satoshi Sakamoto, Yoshihiro Matsuura, Akira Gemma, Kaori Yamaguchi, and Kimito Kubo. The shareholders also elect the audit and supervisory board, which currently consists of Shinichi Furukawa, Minoru Maruoka, Nobuaki Usui, Setsuo Tanaka, and Hisamitsu Arai.
Operating divisions are headed by corporate officers:
- Osamu Nakano (Executive Vice President, Corporate Management)
- Kimihiko Higashio (Executive Vice President, Administration)
- Satoshi Sakamoto (Senior Executive, Gaming & Systems Business)
- Hideki Hayakawa (Corporate Officer, Digital Entertainment Business)
- Katsunori Okita (Corporate Officer, Amusement Business)
- Akira Ochiai (Corporate Officer, Sports Business)
- Kazuhiko Uehara (Corporate Officer, General Manager, Public Relations & Advertising)
- Junichi Motobayashi (Corporate Officer, Finance)
- Shinichiro Yoneyama (Corporate Officer, General Manager, General Affairs Department)