Way back in 1972, the first commercially available home video games console, known as the Odyssey, was launched by American company Magnavox. The machine also came packed with board game items such as dice and paper money making it a kind of crossover console – a bridge between the old and the new. It paved the way for ground-breaking consoles such as the Atari 2600.
In the 48 years since, consoles have evolved dramatically. The 1980s saw a new generation of consoles which took gaming to a new level, while the internet pushed things even further forward in the 1990s. Today, games are unrecognisable from the black and white dots that formed the basis of the original releases.
The rise of video casino games
While video games began to evolve rapidly in the 1980s, it was not until the internet arrived that the world of casino gaming was given a real shake-up. Casino games were not directly linked with traditional video games. Although, there was always a link between the two as slot machines were located in land-based casinos and video game arcades.
As video games became more popular, developers sought to bring casino-style games to home consoles. Later, casino games eventually moved online and websites packed with casino and slot machine favourites, such as the Slots Of Vegas online casino, became available to anyone with an internet-connected device. But, before that, many attempts were made to bring authentic casino action to the home console.
The biggest difference was the lack of real money gambling. Developers had to find a way to make casino games entertaining without any wagering attached. The results were hit and miss. But there have been some decent games console casino games over the years. So, let’s look at a few of the best.
Atari was one of the biggest names in video gaming during the 1970s and 1980s but, by the 1990s, they had been restructured and were hanging on for dear life in a competitive marketplace. Their Lynx handheld device was the first of its type to boast a color LCD display. It was released shortly after Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1992 and was available until 1995.
Lynx Casino was a gambling simulator featuring blackjack, craps, roulette, slot machines, and video poker. It was heralded as one of the best gambling simulators at the time, and it gave players the chance to learn and practice new games, using traditional casino rules and odds. Players could also track their performance without using real money. What’s more, it gave a glimpse of what future online casinos might look like.
In 1993, Nintendo sought to bring casino gaming to the masses with a game called Vegas Stakes. Online casinos were still a few years away, so this became the go-to gambling video game of the time. The game featured a video game-style storyline that follows players as they head to Las Vegas with $1,000 in their pockets. The aim was to turn that cash into $10 million by playing a range of casino games available within the game. Vegas Stakes did a good job of bringing the casino atmosphere into the home and became a bit of a cult hit with video gamers.
Blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and slots were all featured and there were five different casinos to visit. The video game element meant that certain activities could only be performed after certain criteria had been met such as a cash target. The Super Nintendo version, Vegas Dream, also added multiplayer action into the equation.
Slot machines and casino games also featured in individual levels of classic titles including Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (SEGA Mega Drive), Super Mario Bros 2 (NES), and Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64).
More recently, Prominence Poker, available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. Aimed to bring the casino poker room experience to the home video format. It was not the first game to do this by any means but it was, undoubtedly, one of the most successful. There is an interesting backstory that develops as the game goes on. And players have to tackle gangsters and mafia bosses should they stray into certain territory along the way.
The main aim is, obviously, to win poker games and there is also an online option that allows you to play against other players. This helps you to improve your game as you can take on the best out there. It is a great game for anyone keen on Texas Hold’Em and has enough twists to keep non-poker fans playing as well.
Red Dead Redemption
Poker also features as a mini-game in the smash hit Red Dead Redemption. Players can participate in games in order to raise funds but, of course, they can also lose cash along the way. The game uses no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em and players need to have a good understanding of the rules and how to form winning hands. There are nine locations where poker can be played in the original version of the game, and each table has its own buy-in amount and participation rules. This mini-game is arguably more tense and detailed than the majority of dedicated casino console games that have been made.
Overall, there has been a good choice of casino games for console players over the years. And the use of poker in titles like the Red Dead Redemption franchise has given us a glimpse of how they might be integrated in the future.