Friday, April 18, 2008

Gambling Minigames, Part 2

Right now, I am watching my brother play Dragon Quest 8, in his first trip to the Baccarat casino. He is currently on his seventh real attempt at the Roulette game, where he should have about a 1/3 chance of earning quite a lot of tokens. He hasn't succeeded yet, though he has restarted the game a lot.

And he just reset again, because he lost the bet again. Even with the ability to save and reset this Roulette minigame is beginning to get annoying. It is really beginning to look like the game doesn't play fair. So far, it is almost half an hour of gameplay with absolutely nothing to show for it.

Comparing the odds on the Dragon Quest 8 game table to the odds on a real roulette table, it seems that the odds are actually somewhat generous in the Dragon Quest 8 version. Overall, any individual bet gives a little bit more than it should, so playing continuously should benefit the player. That said, it is only a slight advantage in the players favor. In the Xenosaga Ep. 1 Poker/High-Low game that I praised in my last post, the odds are supposedly 5.5 to 1 in the player's favor, which means the average bet nets more than five times its value given enough time playing the game. The odds in dragon Quest 8 are nowhere near that good, even if they are much better than in real casinos.

That said, my brother finally did win (and made a killing), and the rewards for playing the casino minigames are worth it, so it seems that my brother will continue playing.

This is really convincing me that gambling minigames that are part of bigger games should be either be created from scratch in order to give high odds to the player or be games of skill rather than luck. Simply remaking real casino games doesn't work perfectly. Also, every videogame should have a way to soft reset or load data from a menu. Having to hard reset the console a dozen times in a half hour can get very tedious.

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