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Video Poker

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Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

If you’ve got kids, you’ll know that they can be a handful – particularly during the holidays, when it can be tough to keep them occupied. I was often sent to a local kids club myself, and as I knew most of the kids there already, my memories are predominantly centred on the facilities in the clubhouse. The potter’s wheel and pool table were fine things, but as you might have guessed I was most interested in the gaming items. Apart from the Pac-Man board game, the clubhouse possessed an Amiga 500 and a ZX Spectrum +2, along with a range of family-friendly games. It was here that I discovered Video Poker.

Video Poker is a game which simulates the gambling machines often found in Las Vegas casinos, but without the excitement of money at stake it all feels a bit hollow. That’s no slight against the game itself – the presentation is as pretty as can reasonably be expected from a Spectrum card game. But none of this really mattered to me because as long as the game was there, there was electronic entertainment to be had. In fact, I played it a lot, to the point that the staff at the club recognised this and started to load up other games in the hope that I might do something else.

I don’t really play gambling games today and returning to Video Poker makes me wonder what I saw in it, but the game will always stands out in my memories. It doesn’t stand out as a good or bad game, though, just as a slightly strange obsession I once had.