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Basic Math and Blackjack

Posted by , 02 October 2005 · 867 views

1977
Basic Math
 
Okay, don't talk to me about basic math, see? It ain't a game, see? It ain't fun, see?
It's math, man! It's not even "fun" math, like differential equations and shit. It's plussin' and minusin' and multiplyin' and dividin'. Phooey!
 
Blackjack
 
Oh, please, dear god, why? Why is it always Blackjack?
 
While the graphics for the Fairchild version of Blackjack are slightly more ambitious (remember the rounded, green dealer's table graphic?), Atari's Blackjack is superior in many ways. The sound is better and it allows for up to three players, who can come and go during the game as they please without disrupting the other player's games. It has a difficulty option which determines if the dealer shuffles after evey hand (difficulty "A") or if it shuffles when 34 or more cards have been dealt (difficulty "B").
 
The other difficulty switch lets you choose between Casino rules and Private rules. Private rules is what I noticed was missing from the RCA and Fairchild Blackjacks. One rule in particular was the rule I kept looking for: if you take a hit four times without "busting", you win the hand. It's Atari's version that lets you have that, which is why I remembered it, because it was Atari's version that I actually played as a kid.
 
You "break the bank" at "1000". Atari's edition of Blackjack also neglects to use the dollar sign to denote currency. The advantage of this is that you can pretend that you are gambling with gold pieces, kitty cats or radioactive rods -- whatever your avarice requires! It also allows them to sell it in other countries without having to make up versions of the same game with different currency symbols.
 
This is a "competant" version of Blackjack. However, once again, I'd like to point out: IT'S JUST BLACKJACK! Why'd they even bother? Did they do a focus group in Vegas? Do they really think that the type of people who enjoy gambling would enjoy doing it with pretend money? Hell, it's not even money, it's just "points" that you can call "money" (or dubloons, or yen, whatever.)
 
In keeping with my new "house" rules (established after the RCA Blackjack): After I lost one round of Blackjack, (and lost 200, um, pesos), before I could play again, I had to pawn an old multi-colored glass desk lamp which belonged to my wife since high school for $20. (It said "tiffany" on it. Wasn't she an early 90s pop star?). I did it just to get that "I'm-a-pathetic-gamblin'-kind-of-guy" feeling. It made me feel "dirty" which was actually pretty cool. My wife sure will be surprised, because she was going to get it "re-stored" anyway so I re-stored it for her. See? If it's in a Pawn Shop, it's in a store again. That's what it means, right? Re-Stored! Haw-haw-haw! HAAAW-haw-haw! Haaaaw-haaaw-HAAAAAW!
 
Next Entry: Star Ship. (It's odd to see the word "starship" it written as two words, but then again, people still rip apart the words "video" and "game" to talk about videogames.)
 

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Okay, don't talk to me about basic math, see? It ain't a game, see? It ain't fun, see?


It's not fun? I thought when Sears released the cart they called it "Fun with numbers" [gee, where have I heard that name before?]
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Okay, don't talk to me about basic math, see? It ain't a game, see? It ain't fun, see?


It's not fun? I thought when Sears released the cart they called it "Fun with numbers" [gee, where have I heard that name before?]


:sad:

That's right! Could no body come up with something different from "Fun with Numbers"? Grant it, as someone who could've been considered "into math" (730 on my math SAT, um *cough*25yearsago*cough*) I can find numbers to be fun. I totally geeked-out on NIM. But couldn't they come up with something better than "Fun with Numbers"? Couldn't THREE different companies come up with something different than "Fun with Numbers". How about "Digital Challenge!" or "Murder by Numbers!" or "Numbers Ate My Brain!"

Ironically, this makes Analogic (Odyssey by Magnavox, 1972) look a heck of a lot better in comparison, at least they gave that game some flavor. A somewhat interesting sci-fi premise, something on the screen that was actually moving . . . geez.

I wonder if there was anyone in 1977 saying:

"gosh, remember back in the old days when the Odyssey was enough to entertain us? Man, I miss old school videogames, when one overlay, a deck of cards, roulette tokens, a gameboard, a pair of dice and controllers with which you could bludgeon someone to death, (pause to breath) were enough to keep us entertained on a rainy day . . . (wistful sigh)"
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Educational and gambling games were a must back then, and today are still of great importance. You can't afford to ignore niche markets, particularly when videogames were still finding their place in the universe.

I had to pawn an old multi-colored glass desk lamp which belonged to my wife since high school for $20.


I'm not sure if you were being serious. If you were, that was awesome! lol
If not, well, at least it was funny!

Oh, and LOL at your Odyssey comment!
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One thing I don't think anyone brought up in all these blackjack reviews, but which I think is a fairly important one: Blackjack is a "sophisticated game for adults", and having a "sophisticated game for adults" in your game library is a pretty big plus if you're trying to market these rather expensive devices to families. The market for these systems were families that included kids in grade/middle school and adults in their 40s, and back in the 70s, tank games and spaceship games weren't really something that 40-somethings were going to be particularly drawn to. Blackjack, however, is right up their alley (another obvious subject is chess, but that's considerably more complex to program and has somewhat less broad appeal, which is probably why everyone went for blackjack first), and advertising that "not only can the kids play cowboy, spaceman and soldier on this new entertainment system, the adults can also use it to play blackjack against an electronic dealer" is the kind of pitch that can net you a good couple sales.

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Same goes for Basic Math and the other generic math drill "games" that every system had, for that matter. "And it's not just fun and games, this system also has educational software in its library that can help the kids practice math and more" is absolutely going to get parents more interested in shelling out money for a system.

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In a nutshell, here's what's happening.

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Another chronogamer!
 
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