Newest Gaming Hall of Fame member and game designer Joe Kaminkow not finished creatingBy Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming ReportsSeptember 30, 2017 at 12:25 pm By the time Joe Kaminkow is done creating, the legendary slot machine designer might wind up a member of several Halls of Fame.Kaminkow is a part of the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2017, although he easily could have landed a spot among the industry’s elite in the late 1990s, when International Game Technology rolled out Kaminkow’s groundbreaking Wheel of Fortune slot machine. The gambling device, themed after the popular television game show of the same name, spawned numerous titles that used IGT’s patented spinning wheel bonus system.Those machines revitalized casino floors and made Kaminkow famous in the slot design community.He pioneered the licensed brand concept. In subsequent years, he created countless slot machines based on pop culture themes and titles that reside in casinos worldwide. Some of the names include Sex and the City, Game of Thrones, Britney Spears, Flashdance, Tarzan, The Rolling Stones, Superman, and Batman.Those weren’t his first game design triumphs. Since the 1980s, Kaminkow has designed more than 100 pinball machines and amusement games, some of which are on display in Las Vegas’ Pinball Hall of Fame.Kaminkow, who has been plying his creative trade for Aristocrat Technologies since 2013, is always thinking about his next game. I visited with him at Aristocrat’s Las Vegas studios that year to write a Nevadan at Work feature for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Global Gaming Expo had just ended, but Kaminkow was already well into the planning and development stages for the 2014 G2E.He showed me – on deep background – a mock-up for the Big Bang Theory slot machine Aristocrat would unveil 12 months later. The company was working on the licensing agreement.“I still get a great thrill out of people loving something that I create, and seeing the magic and delight of the players,” Kaminkow said during the interview.He also credits his design team.When he joined Aristocrat, Kaminkow was operating Spooky Cool Labs, a Chicago-based design studio he co-founded. The studio created social games for the Internet, including a city builder based on the Wizard of Oz.He sold the studio to social gaming giant Zynga when he joined Aristocrat, but still consults with the company. He brought six of his best designers with him to the slot machine maker.His first G2E for Aristocrat included five slot machine games tied with licensed brands.“(G2E) was a thrill for the whole team because we connected with the operators, the players and the gaming community as well as we did,” Kaminkow said.He was especially proud of the Batman slot machine, which was themed on the 1960s television series. The late actor Adam West, who portrayed the title character, appeared in the Aristocrat booth, along with a vintage Batmobile from the television series.The Batmobile was Kaminkow’s. It was emblematic of his eclectic and creative nature. Kaminkow is always creating.After leaving IGT in the early 2000s, he developed and sold concepts for reality-based television shows and worked on several Broadway shows. He also bought a minority interest in a minor league baseball team, the Harrisburg Senators, the double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.“Time away allowed me to catch my breath and gain a better perspective,” Kaminkow said in 2013. “Sometimes you grind yourself into the trees and you can’t see the forest.”I asked Kaminkow if he had a favorite slot or pinball machine that he created.“That’s like asking who your favorite child is. Different games, created at different points of my career, have different meanings to me,” he said.Kaminkow will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday with casino operator Diana Bennett, gaming equipment pioneer John Breeding, and community leader Melvin B. Wolzinger.Who knows? Maybe he’ll create a game based on the Hall of Fame class.Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.