Shark Week Slingo – An Unlikely Tribute

By  //  July 4, 2022

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Shark Week, an increasingly global event that takes place towards the end of each July, has been a mixed bag of reality and silliness since it was first broadcast way back in 1988.

In fact, during the last decade, the show managed to jump its own shark with a number of shows about the long-extinct megalodon and a “monster” hammerhead. Let’s not forget about that CGI race between a great white and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Mad Science

Oddly enough, unlike many other franchises, Shark Week hasn’t expanded far beyond TV as far as tie-ins are concerned, with Slingo Shark Week standing as a lone exception. The game can be played on the Paddy Power website alongside the company’s online bingo for real money, where it serves as a companion for the classic numbers game. Slingo itself is a combination of slots and bingo, which is often branded with pop culture themes.

Discovery Channel did produce a pair of apps that complement its piscine bonanza – Shark Week Live and Ultimate Sharks – that go into depth about the show’s content, the science involved in shark conservation, and the mad science involved in Discovery’s choice of features. They do lack the interactivity of gaming apps, though, which helps Slingo Shark Week stand out among other associated media. 

Slingo Shark Week is an official collaboration between Discovery Channel and the owner of Slingo, Gaming Realms. The game is based around a 5×5 numbered grid but with a 5×1 slot machine in place of the traditional bingo caller. Any numbers that appear on the slot are crossed off the bingo card. Providing a twist on the classic bingo formula are the wild symbols, which let the player pick any number in the column above it. 

Pseudo-Science

Florida is well known for its shark-filled waters, making Shark Week a bit of a special occasion. There are more than ten known species that frequent this corner of the United States, including the reef, black tip, and mako sharks, and the Tiger and Bull sharks, two of the most aggressive shark species in the world. The mostly deep-sea Silky shark can also be found off Florida’s coasts, albeit at some distance from the shore.

Ahead of Shark Week 2021, the Cox Science Center held events for Shark Preservation Week, which included aquarium feedings and a “touch tank” with sea stars and sea urchins. The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida also got in on the action by providing education about local species. Many such occasions hope to dispel some of the pseudo-science and disinformation that inevitably works its way into Shark Week. Still, as far as ratings go, a little ire from shark scientists hasn’t eroded public interest in the event.

Shark Week Slingo keeps up with the entertainment factor of the TV show by including a trio of bonus games. These are Break the Cage, Fish Grab, and What Did the Shark Eat? In Fish Grab, you’ll be able to touch fish to earn credits, while What Did the Shark Eat? tasks the player with identifying what’s in the shark’s stomach. 

Shark Week only comes around once a year but it provides plenty of opportunities to learn about these iconic creatures.