BLACKJACK / Odyssey / NES
 
 
I appreciate a game like Blackjack, just picking one thing and setting out to do it as well as the hardware will allow, without any superfluity. Thing is, I don't know who wants to play a game of blackjack on an NES anymore. Maybe on an emulator on a portable device ... but there's plenty of other blackjack games native to those devices that you can run faster, smoother, and with less rigamorale to get going. But OK, in the early 90s if you wanted to just play a simple game of electronic blackjack and didn't have a computer, this was probably your best choice.

Blackjack has no frills whatsoever other than choosing from 5 card designs - pick your game settings from a simple menu, then you're off playing hands immediately. Aside from speed and ease of navigation, Blackjack's main strength is in faithfully emulating pretty much all rules and options of the game. You start out by setting up the game, you can have from 1 to 3 decks (if you're feeling all Rain Man and wanna try to count), a starting bankroll from 100 to 500, and a table limit of 1000 to 10000k. In-game you've got pretty much the whole menu of options - split pairs, double down, insurance offered on dealer aces, and the surrender option. The game does seem to keep accurate count of the deck and will stop at appropriate points for a second to "shuffle", rather than just pulling cards out of its ass every hand like some lazier games do. The interface is pretty good, keeping the dragging around, clicking and pauses to a minimum. 2-player simultaneous play is also incorporated.

So, yeah. The 2/5 doesn't really reflect on the quality of the actual blackjack experience here, which pretty much handles the basics as well as possible. It's more the spartan production values and general lack of utility of an NES cart that does nothing but play blackjack. Still a better game than nearly any other casino game on the NES though, those usually jammed things up with too much superfluous crap and slow clunky interfaces.
 
 
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