Okay, I'm back with all my chronogaming equipment and ready to do this whole chronogaming thing again. Yes, time in general has moved forward in my absence, but I'm still stuck in good 'ol 1979, looking at the APF games from 1978 that I missed the first time through. (Or was it my second time, since technically I lived through 1978 before)
Today, we're looking at the one I thought I might never see and regret for the rest of my life. I'm fairly prone to "stress" and "regret" dreams. Though definitely more the former than the latter. Lately, I've been doing a lot of studying for a class I'm taking (Federal Tax Accounting, whee.) and last night I had those horrific school related-acheivment dreams where you find out about a class you've never attended or you're naked in a class you've never attended or you're naked taking the final exam in a class you've never attended, etc.
So, my worry was that after doing this chronogaming for 30 years or so I'd be waking up screaming: "Slots!! I never played Slots on the APF M1000!!"
Not that I'm a big slots fan, but the slogan is "every game. chronologically" and, well, you know, if I didn't do slots, then I wouldn't have done every game. (Yeah, I know, I'll probably never do Bingo for the RCA Studio II. Boo-fucking-hoo. I'm over it.)
Casino I: Roulette / Keno / Slots (APF M1000, 1978)
EDIT: I came up with a pithy way to sum up this cart.
These games all rely on luck, however if you happen to be playing them, you don't have any. /EDIT
Roulette was attempted for the Magnavox Odyssey waaaay back in 1972, six years ago on the chronology. I hated it. Really.
On the APF, I also hate it, but it is a kinder, gentler, less italicized hate.
First let's look at presentation, which you will be able to do when I post a screenshot. I'll just talk about it, for now. The presentation is good. You've got your little bank at the bottom from which you place bets, you've got the mainboard on which you may place bets from 1 to 9 and the side boards which take bets up to 99.
Placing bets is strange. You move your marker around, left to right only, until you're at your bet and you input your amount. The amount doesn't show up on screen while you input, nor are there any audio cues to indicate you're inputting anything. You just hit "5", hit "enter" (or "fire") and a "5" will show up under the position you're betting on.
There may be a limit to how many bets you may place, but I didn't find it. I placed 12 before I felt I was just pissing my life away and had to stop.
Payouts are simple, 2 to 1, 3 to 1 or 36 to 1. This is a two player game, by the way, and both players may place their bets simultaneously! That's a nice feature, as proceedings would seem to strech interminably if it weren't there.
When you "spin" the wheel the number indicator goes through a bunch of numbers randomly for about 12 seconds and when the number comes up, all the winning points on the main board are marked. It's actually pretty spiffy.
The problem is: it's still Roulette! I just can't get excited gambling in such an abstract manner for merely a score! I can't see that there is any skill involved; I can't see any "clever" bets that will improve one's odds! It's neither a puzzle, nor a game and it is as fun as flipping a coin except there's even less money involved.
Keno is a new game (EDIT: by new, I mean, new to videogame-land), in fact, I'm tempted to say that it's an APF exclusive! You've got a Keno board with 80 numbers. You pick 2 to 15 numbers (out of 80), (your co-player may also choose numbers). When ready, you pull down your stick, the computer clears the Keno board and picks 20 numbers of its own (out of 80). If your numbers come up ... you win! You start with $100.00. Each time you play a group of numbers it costs $.70. The amount you win varies depending on how many numbers you've chosen vs. how many numbers you've chosen that the computer pulls up. With one number chosen and chosen correctly the payout was $2.10. (though I thought you had to pick between 2 and 15, mistake in the manual?) When I picked 5 out of 8 correctly I won $1.40. Kids, you can do the math for this at home, if you want, I'm mathmatically paralyzed by not caring.
The presentation is good enough, as you see in the screen shot; the Keno "board" is shaped like one. There's an area for your picks below it. Everything moves quickly enough, for Keno, I just see no draw for this game. I just can't imagine people designing this game, based on a real Vegas game, I'm told, and thinking there would be people who would enjoy it. Buy it? Maybe. Enjoy it? No way.
Slots. Slots is awful. You can't choose the amount of your bet. You just pull back on your stick and the machine goes. The noise produced by the slots, um, slotting, is unpleasant. The graphics are fairly colorful, but as representations of icons found in a slot machine, they're a little hard to identify, though not impossible. The horror is that you just pull back on your stick, you lose a coin from your bank, the slots "whir" and you either get a payout, or you don't. I just don't get it. Two players get separate banks but have to take turns pulling their respective stick. What the heck is up with that?
You can only win 2 coins (one cherry) or 5 coins (two cherries). If you're very lucky, you can get three gold rings (or lemons, not certain) and win 10 coins. If you're even luckier, you'll lose power before you lose 40 minutes of your life trying to find out if there's a "jackpot" or something. If there is, 40 minutes is too long to wait to find out, but I'm certain that, eventually, you can win more "money" for other sets of three; I just never saw them.
Now I can lay this little obsession to rest and I am happy about it, despite how unenjoyable Casino I is. See, "enjoyable" isn't really the point of this whole exercise, is it? No, it's merely indulging an obsessive compulsion.
Of course, 20 years from now, I'll wake up screaming: "Slots!! Oh, god, I played APF SLOTS!!! *sob*"
Next entry we'll do another APF gem, I think we'll try Backgammon. I have the instruction booklet for this one, too, so I'm a little excited.