''Slingo'' swings online -- Following ''Tetris'' and solitaire, the new game from America Online hooks millions

By Robin Tolkan
Updated April 02, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

First Tetris, then solitaire, now… Slingo. America Online’s interactive fad has become the hottest new way to waste time at your computer. A fusion of bingo, slot machines, and chatting, Slingo (keyword: Slingo) burst onto AOL’s PC scene in 1996 after it occurred to land developer Sal Falciglia and TV producer Lou Del Prete to cover a bingo card with numbers generated from spins of a cyberslot, then throw in chat software.

Three years later, 2.4 million AOL subscribers are hooked. Not only have addicts deemed themselves Slunkies, they’ve developed a virtual shorthand, Slingo Lingo (”wtg” means ”way to go”). ”I know three couples [who] met and married as a result of this,” says Del Prete. Rumor has it they registered for the handheld version from Tiger Electronics to take on their honeymoons.