As updated versions of previous-generation classics like Skyrim and The Last of Us, plus Mega Drive/Genesis era Sega games getting repeated releases make plain – a great game can stand the test of time whether it be years or decades. Here are some of the earliest casino games made specifically for videogame consoles.

The Rise of the Best Online Casinos

The videogame industry today is big enough to swallow Hollywood, but it came from relatively humble beginnings. In much the same way, online betting sites were science fiction in living memory but today are increasingly popular. For instance, at big portals you’ll find new offers updated recently by the best online casinos offering curious people a chance to dip their toes into the betting pool. Players have a chance to try out the best slots as well as classic games like roulette and blackjack.

High Stakes Gambling for the Game Boy

Another way to play with casino games without worrying about losses is to visit a casino within a video game. These are still often offered today, with hit JRPG Dragon Quest XI featuring roulette, slots, and poker at the casino, all using purely in-game currency.

One of the oldest classic video games to offer a more dedicated casino experience, rather than having it as part of a broader game, was High Stakes Gambling. This Game Boy entry was released all the way back in 1992, and was set during the era of the Great Depression. The player stars as an FBI undercover agent tasked with impoverishing mafia big shots by giving them a beating in a variety of betting contests. Blackjack, poker, and slots machines are all included, and while the game looks a little dated, as retro games are wont to do, the likes of Papers, Please and Nidhogg, not to mention Shovel Knight, show that people are rather fond of the charming blocky style.

If you’re into betting and old school games, or you just want even more retro games to try, be sure to give these 16 bit classics a look and see if any of them tickle your fancy. There’s something to be said for the joyous simplicity of fun, old games that don’t require an internet connection and won’t make your PS4 fan scream like a jet engine.

Casino Kid for the NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was never short of great games, and one entry with a betting theme was the Casino Kid. Released all the way back in 1989, it was also known as $1,000,000 Kid: Maboroshi no Teiou Hen in Japan, having been based on Yuki Ishigaki’s $1,000,000 Kid manga series.

The setting is Las Vegas in the Japanese version, and Lost Wages (a make believe city) in the West. The player has to win as much money as possible to defeat the wicked King of the Casino. Another continental difference is that the Japanese version permits the player to fly to other cities, such as New York. Blackjack and poker are available in both versions, whereas roulette and slots were omitted from the North American release.

Ironically, given Japan got so much more with the first game, the sequel, Casino Kid II was not released in Japan.

On a more modern note, videogames have played their part in maintaining morale among populations subject to lockdowns during the global pandemic. Isolation, coupled with fewer pleasant distractions and a lot more time on one’s hands, has made things psychologically challenging for many people. Social gaming online (albeit using modern rather than retro technology) has helped a lot of people maintain a sense of normalcy and connection with other people, in a way that different types of media haven’t been able to match.

Golden Nugget 64 for the Nintendo 64

Whether it’s playing pranks in Bully or playing at the casino in Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar is just one of the many major studios that’s been making games for a long time. Another name that’s been around a long time is Electronic Arts, the publisher of our next entry on the list.

Released in 1998, Golden Nugget 64 offers a virtual casino experience and, unlike previous games mentioned above, it was multiplayer. Player accounts are created with $1,000 of pretend money to play with, and ten different casino games to try.

The betting bases are covered pretty well with this competitive game, as the most popular table classics are all included, with some slot machines on top. There’s baccarat, craps, roulette, blackjack, poker, and a few differing variations to spice things up.

Golden Nugget 64 was not the first in what might loosely be termed a series, with Golden Nugget coming out for both Windows and the original Playstation (in 1996 and 1997 respectively). In 2006, Golden Nugget Casino DS came out.

Playing retro games and socializing via more modern online games are both ways that have helped people stay sane during the pandemic lockdown, and are lots of fun even in more normal times. We hope you enjoyed this little run down memory lane of some early videogame casino entries.

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