Video games are great for so several reasons, but it’s their ability to transport us to another realm that makes them truly amazing. And many Sega games are great at drawing us into the world of casinos all through the push of a few buttons. Programmed to evoke real-world experiences through a technicolour landscape, one minute you can be sat at home and the next you are in a graphic Monte Carlo.
Casinos, roulettes and betting in retro Sega games aren’t a rarity by far (anyone remember 1983’s Pachinko?). And yet, they are a great way to experience casinos, all from the comfort of your own home. Here are just a few games that bring these places to the player.
Released in the early-90s, Caesar’s Palace replicates the world-famous hotel and casino of the same name. Giving the player a chance to experience Blackjack, Red Dog and Roulette via their avatar, it’s the old-school equivalent of new methods such as live roulette at Paddy Power because it tried to provide an authentic experience. Naturally, there are radical differences between both, but without trailblazers such as Caesar’s Palace, it would have been hard to get to the level of immersity we have today. Caesar’s Palace even allows you to get tips from non-player characters who ‘work’ at the establishment.
Although not published by Sega, it is playable on Sega Genesis and gives an all-round feel of what it’s like to visit Caesar’s Palace. The graphics are a mixture of surprisingly realistic and, well, unsurprisingly not – but that’s why we love it!
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog is easily one of the most iconic games in history. Which makes it a hard act to follow. Fortunately, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 lives up to the hype of its predecessor and brings with it a unique split-screen concept. And, of course, introduces one of the best side-kicks of all time, Tails.
But it was the truer to life levels that really makes the second Sonic stand out. In particular, The Casino Night Zone is one stage that certainly brings a clubhouse atmosphere. In true Sonic style, jumping on the right springs will find you gaining extra rings inside a giant fruit machine. Whilst still being able to encounter the bright lights and cityscape of a real gambling saloon, just be careful not to get that catchy Sonic music in your head.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
Street Fighter is probably one of the biggest causes of “joking-not-joking” friend arguments, ever. Yet, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most-loved game franchises. The Las Vegas level, which was Balrog’s home stage, comes with all the typical big cars, neon lights, and women in top hats and leotards – you know, all the usual Vegas signifiers!
Just to really bring the environment to you, the word ‘casino’ frequently appears in flashing lights behind the contenders. Street fighting may seem unusual for a casino but keep in mind that whilst roulettes, poker and one-armed bandits are the main draws, the Vegas level really hones in on the entertainment factor these places bring.
Whether it’s a gambling simulation of Caesar’s Palace, speeding through The Casino Night Zone as Sonic, or fighting Balrog on his Vegas home turf, Sega has many ways to bring the roulettes and Blackjack to you. Although the games may not be hyper-realistic, they still give that all-round casino feel.