SEGA’s forgotten casino gaming attempts

Whilst every avid SEGA gamer knows about iconic titles like Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe and Altered Beast, there are plenty lesser known corners of the SEGA universe.

Alongside much-missed icons like Earthworm Jim and Toejam and Earl, the company have also given us the pleasure of hitting up some pretty decent casino simulations.

Although it’s pretty easy nowadays for anyone to head to an online casino site, back in the dark ages of the 20th century, gamers had a harder time in playing digital versions of their favourite casino games.

This is why SEGA made a few efforts to try and appease the world’s casino fans with some fairly half-hearted attempts at console-based casino games. Perhaps the most pitiful of these was the universally-mocked Poker Face Paul.

This gaming travesty from 1994 was created for the Game Gear, and whilst there will be those who will state that the 8-bit handheld device lacked the firepower necessary to deliver anything better, a quick look at the garish graphics and nightmarish soundtrack shows that not even the most ardent casino fan would be able to bear more than one round of blackjack here!

Such a poor effort would have been a big disappointment for many people, as SEGA had already had some experience in the casino gaming realm. In particular, the company’s SEGA Bingo Party game in 1992 had done a pretty good job of recreating the classic game in a digital format.

And whilst the SEGA Bingo Party game might not have had much success outside of Japan, it cleverly predicted how the digital environment would provide a glittering future for casino fans. And whilst we can all enjoy this trend with brands like classicasinos.com giving a comprehensive guide to all of the latest slots and promotions, the best that old-school SEGA fans could enjoy was Caesar’s Palace.

This was released for SEGA Genesis and Game Gear in 1993 and was a touch more inventive than Poker Face Paul by introducing narrative themes that saw you leaving the casino in a limo, taxi or bus depending upon your success at blackjack, slots, roulette, video poker or even keno!

Interestingly, Caesar’s Palace also introduced the concept of talking to the non-player characters in the game. So whilst it might not have been as advanced as the likes of ClassiCasinos, it was a pretty good attempt for the visionary gaming brand.

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