Developers recognise the entertainment value of incorporating casino games into their own titles.
Some games get it wrong by bombarding players with loot crates — tedious tack-ons, which ruin immersion and squeeze every penny from your pockets.
Others create masterpieces, expertly weaving the casino aesthetic into its game world.
In such cases, the casino-esque experience adds a refreshing turn of pace, deviating from the gun toting and monster slaying we gamers grow accustomed to.
Gambling can be a fantastic tool to contextualize events, build story and cultivate a little added tension. Although not all games get the balance right, when you find a good one, you’ll know about it.
Read on to discover how developers have feature casino games within the very biggest titles throughout gaming history.
Casino games make for excellent mini games
Mini games are the unsung heroes of big open world blockbusters.
Often lost in the fold, they serve to build believable and vibrant environments in which the user can immerse themselves in. Without these features the world would feel empty, devoid of character and life.
Popular casino games make for perfect side activities and make the game world more believable. For instance, Red Dead Redemption II uses poker to showcase greed and corruption, while also building camaraderie amongst a family of outlaws.
Ironically, the overall feel lacks a genuine sense of tension. Ultimately, these game modes are fictional. Thereby, they carry zero risk other than losing a little in-game currency.
To appreciate the true highs and lows of gambling you should look elsewhere. The game lacks the high stakes of real online casinos and meaningful consequences of reckless betting.
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Developers use casino games for aesthetic and tone
Where casino games clearly lack realism, the allure of a casino often provides an ideal setting to display a story’s overarching themes and structure.
Whether you’re exploring an upper class metropolis or surviving the apocalyptic wasteland, casinos present players with a unique and subtle insight into the tone developers are trying to set with their game.
To explore the idea of wasteland settings a little more, try Bethesda’s Fallout: New Vegas. It expertly leans on an eerie Las Vegas backdrop to draw the player into a world of lies and deceit.
While the games are fun, they’re often rigged so the house always wins. The casinos have it all — poker, blackjack, slots and many more — but the games will cheat you out of a win. Such futility resonates with the overall dystopia and adds to create an even bleaker environment.
On a smaller scale Borderlands 2 uses slot machines to add even more randomness to Gearbox’s zainy creation. With epics, ammo and cash all in the prize pool, it’s worth a shot. But don’t be surprised when the machines fire a live grande and place you in a fight for your life.
Loot boxes undermine the value of casino games
An undesirable trope of modern gaming which leaves a bad taste in players mouths whenever they log on. Loot boxes serve little purpose other than to relieve players of real cash with little reward.
They are essentially lucky dip grab bags which come with seemingly small prices attached. But it’s often not as simple as a one and done purchase. Loot boxes are random, so to obtain the items you need, you’ll likely spend much more than originally thought.
Many people find loot boxes predatory, by placing them under gambling laws there could be more accountability and honesty involved with the process.
Do the idea of loot boxes concern you? Learn more here: https://www.bloomberg.com. Information sources like Bloomberg can keep you informed on incremental changes in and around the gaming industry.
Recommended reading: The Mutual Influence of the Casino and Gaming Industries
Ultimately, real gambling — though it can be fun — should be kept separate from video games. However, fun casino games without real risk can ramp up the entertainment value tenfold.