Las Vegas Blackjack! Odyssey^2, 1978
Another system, another inevitable release of the game the crowds must've been howling for back in the 70s. Blackjack.
This time its official title is: Las Vegas Blackjack! (Hmm, what's up with the exclamation point? Seems the last cartridge had one for each title, too. Maybe part of a marketing decision? We'll see if they keep it up.)
I dragged my feet to play this title. I really didn't want to. I've never been able to enjoy a videogame of Blackjack before, why should this be any different?Well, maybe my attitude had just sucked, because today I actually played the game rather than just looked at the graphics and read the instructions.
Okay, as graphics/presentation go . . . An odd addition to this version is the fact that it takes place over TWO screens. A blue screen (see below), for betting, and a green screen (see above) for the dealing of cards. Numbers, letters and either red or black colors for the suits are all we get for graphics (with the exception of the white rectangles for the cards.) Firmly placing this version behind the APF deck (1st place) and behind the Fairchild's (2nd place) for its curvy presentation of the table's edge. That would make it tied for third with the Atari. The RCA Studio II's Blackjack is currently ranked 7th, out of five. Okay, I'm not saying I've been struck down by the gods of gambling and now actually look forward to the next videogame of Blackjack that I force myself to play, but I did enjoy playing it today. I think that I liked it because I found a bug!
Features in this Blackjack: You can buy insurance, if the dealer has an Ace showing. You can double your bet if you have a starting hand totaling 9 or 10. (which I found odd, shouldn't it be 10 or 11?). You play with a straight 52 card deck. I didn't notice at what point in the deck did the dealer reshuffle. Oh, I also noticed that if the dealer gets 5 cards without going over 21, it wins, regardless of your hand. If I remember correctly, I had 21 and the dealer only had 20, but had 5 cards. I hope I'm remembering that right.
The bug, though, is when you bet everything you have, take the opportunity to double your bet should it arise, and then lose. You're losing twice as much as you have, right? Well, here's what happened to me:
Check out that score! This has something to do with allocated memory and what happens when you go below zero in a memory slot reserved for an unsigned integer. When you go below zero it wraps around to the highest possible number (or thereabouts) for that slot. But look at the size of that thing. I would never have guessed it to allow for numbers that high! I continued playing from there and, of course, warped it right back around to the other side of zero again after winning another hand. From there I managed to reach a high score of 72,000 and hit "reset" instead of "enter" on my next bet.
I must admit, I actually felt regret and disappointment when I accidentally hit reset, meaning, I must've been enjoying myself while I played the game. I'm just saying, so you know that I'm not afraid to admit I had a good time, even when I didn't think I would.
Okay, that's it for yet another Blackjack. Next time is Cosmic Conflict!
EDIT: Wait that's not IT! I forgot to mention. This Blackjack doesn't use either of the joystick controllers! It only uses the keyboard. This is the second game (Crypto-Logic was also keyboard exclusive) to do that. In Blackjack's case, it asks for your bet, which you input using the numbers on the keyboard. During the hand, it asks if you want a hit or if you want to double down to which you respond by hitting either the Yes or No button. I would have done it a little differently. To enter the bet, you have to hit the numbers and then hit enter. Enter is too close to the reset key as my mistake clearly indicates. I would have put an enter key (which would presumably get used a lot) a little further away from a button which reboots the whole frackin' machine.Okay, now I'm done. END EDIT