Our definition of “retro” casino games might be different. Still, most people think that old school casino games are the iconic Las Vegas fruit machines or penny slots. These games were the staple of arcades and pubs, while the gambling culture was quickly emerging into video games on old consoles like Atari Lynx or SNES.
Nowadays, the casino game development industry has evolved to another level. Game designers are continually coming up with next-gen features, often inspired by video games. For instance, some of the most influential poker players have earned their seat at the table by exclusively playing online. That’s a clear sign that the industry is constantly expanding, and new opportunities for casino enthusiasts are released every year.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the list with the top retro casino games and find out how they stand against next-gen titles released recently:
High Stakes Gambling
People that grew up having a Nintendo Game Boy in the early 90s might remember the legendary High Stakes Gambling. For those that aren’t sure what we’re talking about, this black and white video game is one of the first digital casino titles that takes place during the Great Depression. Your goal is to beat the house and drain as much money from the mob.
For a game released nearly 30 years ago, High Stakes Gambling had many features, including slots, blackjack, and poker. On top of that, players would encounter cheating mobsters like Al Cologne(a reference to Al Capone). Despite the grainy graphics, the game was delightful, and it was influential for all the high-quality games released today.
Hot Slots and Peek-A-Boo Poker
At the beginning of the digital casino game era, Nintendo thought it would be a great idea to release a series of adult-only games that combined underdressed sexy women with casinos. Due to the negative spin, it had on gambling, Peek-a-Boo Poker and Hot Slots only sold a limited number of copies. However, at the time, they had impressive graphics and immersive gameplay.
While some of you might not expect such games to become famous since you would compare it to the advanced graphics and technological capabilities we have today, these titles were highly requested back in the day. Many people were reselling them shortly after the stocks went out.
Released in 1989 on the NES console, Casino Kid is the oldest game on the list. Many old-school gamers remember that the Casino Kid series was one of the rare gambling-themed titles that also had a storyline. The first game from the series takes you on a trip to become the greatest gambler in the city of Lost Wages (inspired by Las Vegas).
Despite only having poker and blackjack games, Casino Kid 1 was a very detailed game at the time, with features like battles against casino pros and chatting with waitresses to get some tips. The sequel was even more critically-acclaimed because it added the roulette feature, and your new goal is becoming the ultimate gambler in the world.
After browsing around the web looking for some Casino Kid gameplay, we’ve come across the Japanese version(which was called $1,000,000 Kid: Maboroshi no Teiou Hen), which had richer content compared to the global version. Players from Japan were able to pay the airfare and travel to different places like New York, included slot machines and a demo mode, which allowed them to experiment with the casino games and improve their strategies.
Nintendo’s 1993 Vegas Stakes is a staple title in the gambling video game industry. Your task was straightforward – you start in Las Vegas with $1000. Your goal is to turn it into $10 million by wagering on the casino games available in-game. Vegas Stakes did an excellent job in re-creating a real casino experience into video game format. Its mechanics represent a fundamental inspiration for today’s online casinos.
This retro title featured five casino games, like blackjack, roulette, slots, poker, and craps, available at different casinos that you had to unlock. Nintendo added a progressive system that would unlock the casinos as your balance increased to keep users engaged. For instance, the fifth and last casino could be visited after you won $100.000, and your wagers had to be adjusted according to the requirements in the casino. The SNES version of Vegas Stakes included a multiplayer mode, which got players hyped because there weren’t many collaborative casino games at the time.
Golden Nugget 64
Created by Westwood Studios in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 console, Golden Nugget 64 is the first casino titles with realistic graphics that allowed players to enjoy their favorite games, including Craps, Baccarat, Texas Hold’em, Big Six Wheel, and a vast collection of slots. Like Vegas Strike, players would start with $1000 in their account, and their goal was to progressively increase the stakes as they progressed through the game.
Despite being released over 20 years ago, Golden Nugget 64 was used to hone your casino skills long before the iGaming industry exploded. The only downside of this retro masterpiece is the audio, a combination of people in the background, dice rolling, tokens inserted into slots and card flipping, and the dealer who was continually talking to the players. Many gamers reported that this mix of background noises, combined with the piano soundtrack, simply didn’t match, and they would rather play the game on mute.
Casino Games in the 21st Century
Nowadays, the casino games industry has taken things to a different level. Gamers can jump into a blackjack game against a live dealer or have fun with VR slots, which are expected to be the next big thing. However, if you take a moment to analyze the algorithms used in modern-day casino games, you will soon realize that they haven’t changed that much. The game development world’s main achievements are enhanced graphics and special features like mini 3D games, which improve the gameplay.
In addition to the refined quality of new games, specialized institutions responsible for testing the casino game’s randomness were established by the government to ensure that they’re not rigged and gamers are playing in a safe environment. If you’re looking for a collection of casino games that you can play right away, take a look at kingcasinobonus.co.uk/new-casino-bonuses, where you will find a list of high-quality titles from regulated gambling platforms.
The bottom line? Gaming is fun no matter your age, as long as you do it responsibly. From retro to next-gen games, the internet is full of memorable titles that will keep you entertained for a long while.