Mankind has enjoyed gambling in varying forms for centuries. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that developers have integrated gambling elements into their video games.
Note: I am not condoning gambling, and have previously written about the dangers of gambling in video games. However, when enjoyed by responsible adults who don’t take it too far, gambling can be a fun way to pass the time.
For those who enjoy the thrill of gambling, you could visit Las Vegas, or an online casino, or, y’know, you could gamble away pretend money in a virtual world from the comfort of your own couch.
If you chose option C, I hereby present you with the five best gambling games (hidden within other games).
Fallout: New Vegas
The fourth instalment of the ever-popular Fallout series took players to the post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland. New Vegas was loaded with impressive set-pieces and side quests, but the moment New Vegas appears on the horizon stands head and shoulders above other memories from the game.
The Strip itself doesn’t quite live up to the anticipation, primarily due to hardware limitations of consoles at the time of release, but the casinos were still full of opportunities for players to wager their hard earned caps, the in-game currency, in games of Blackjack, Caravan, Roulette and Slots.
The Sims 3
The Sims is a series which has a reputation for being an accessible, family-friendly game, WooHooing aside. As a result, it was a bit of a surprise when Gambling was added as a skill in The Sims 3.
Gambling was added with The Sims 3 Store venue Lucky Simoleon Casino. The skill helps Sims win games at the casino, which in turn helps them win money. Sims can increase the Gambling skill by using the Hit ’em Harder Blackjack Table and the Triple Riches Slots O’Jackpots Slot Machine.
Pokemon Red & Blue
The Game Corner was introduced in the debut Red and Blue releases in the Pokemon series and was a staple in each subsequent main game until Generation IV.
The Game Corner was basically a casino tucked away in a game for children. The only game in the casino was a slot machine-style game. Players could insert up to 3 coins; the number of coins bet determined the number of rows in the slot machine. Players would attempt to line up the same picture.
Players could use their hard-earned money to win TMs or Pokemon, including the rare Porygon or Dratini.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption put us in the shoes of John Marston in the Wild West. The title was and still is a must-play game, taking the Western to new heights.
Alongside the moving story and immersive world, games of poker and blackjack feature prominently, but Marston can also wager on arm wrestling, horseshoes, liar’s dice, and five finger fillet. In fact, various forms of gambling are actually required to earn scraps for many of the outfits in the game, such as the $1,000 of winnings required to unlock a scrap of the Savvy Merchant Outfit.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Six years before Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar had already nailed gambling in San Andreas. Widely regarded as one of the best titles in the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA: San Andreas cast players as CJ in the mean streets of, uh, San Andreas. The title won accolades for its strong story, well-written dialogue, impeccable voice cast, impressive graphics for the time, incredible in-game sound, and fun, varied gameplay.
While players could bet on horses in GTA: Vice City, San Andreas took it to the next level with a casino featuring slot machines, blackjack, video poker, roulette and the wheel of fortune. In a welcome twist, players can borrow money from the casino, with failure to settle your debts resulting in a visit from a gang of hitmen. Obviously.
So, there you have it – our top five best gambling games hidden within other games. Were there any we missed?