Sunday, September 2, 2018

Unsealed: Ante Up

After a brief break, Unsealed returns with a brand new episode!

It's a look at Vegas Stakes for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, released in April of 1993. That makes the game more than 25 years old now, and it was nice to be able to open a new game from that long ago. There aren't too many sealed SNES games now that are fairly inexpensive and yet have some kind of personal connection... but this title checks both of those boxes. I bought it from an eBay seller for less than $20, and was happy to see that it arrived in amazing shape.

As I mention in the video, Vegas Stakes was really my first casino video game. Aside from playing some bridge with my great-grandmother in 3rd grade and some very basic blackjack with my paternal grandmother later in my elementary school years, I really didn't have much exposure to card games, casino games, or gambling in general. The only real exceptions were when my paternal grandmother bought scratch tickets from the state lottery and let me keep whatever I won... but that was rarely more than $5. (But that $5 was good for 20 tokens at my local mall arcade, so I jumped for joy when I did win.)

I still don't do much gambling, but I do have a soft spot for slot machines. They're wastes of money, to be sure, but I guess I'm a sucker for the flashing lights and sounds. This is especially true of slots based on things that I really enjoy, like movies and TV shows. I just recently spotted a slot machine based on Seinfeld, which is my all-time favorite TV show. I watched people play that for at least 30 minutes. There are now a few slots with 3D visuals, similar to 3DS effects. Ghostbusters and Jurassic World are both begging for a $20 bill. I've resisted so far, but who knows how long I can hold out. The slots in Vegas Stakes are nothing like the fancy slots we see in casinos today; in fact, I play more Blackjack and Poker than slots in this game. That said, I do play them from time to time as they're easy and don't require a lot of thought except for betting amounts.

Vegas Stakes does a nice job-- especially for the time-- of emulating a casino experience. There are five different casinos to play in, each with its own range of bets and possible winnings. The random meetings with strangers aren't really that realistic, as most casino-goers wouldn't engage in such interactions, but it adds a cool element of surprise to the experience. Little details like checking into the hotel at the start of the game and "tells" from players at the poker table are nice touches.

It's really a fun game to play, and if you have a SNES, it's not that expensive to own. It does have battery backup, which is important because it's a tall order to parlay $1,000 into $10,000,000 in one sitting. That said, the journey to $10 million is one that I think is worth taking, and taking your time to get there.

Thanks for checking out the video. The full Unsealed playlist can be found here, if you want to catch up on all of the episodes.

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