It’s not uncommon to find mini-games hidden within interactive video games. Game developers often add a new layer of engagement by adding games that allow the in-game character to play within the game, which is enough to make even Xzibit’s head spin. Quite often, these mini-games take the form of gambling games, in which the character can play in order to earn in-game credits, unlock special missions and map locations, and sometimes to simply pass the time and interact with the game world’s many different characters. Let’s take a look at the best gambling mini-games in video games.
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Fallout: New Vegas
The obvious connection to gambling here comes by way of the game’s title being “New Vegas”. The world has ended and the survivors of the nuclear fallout have rebuilt, hence the name, “New Vegas”. Thankfully, it has all the trimmings of the original Vegas, brimming with casinos, strip joints, and people walking around the streets drunk and looking for trouble. If you can find a way out of the hustle and bustle – and into a gambling locale – you’re bound to find plenty of great mini-gambling games to wager on.
Pretty much everything is here: Blackjack, roulette, craps, even slots if those are of interest. You’ll play through the game and earn caps, which is New Vegas’s currency, and you can then wager those in the casino to either walk away with a surplus, or lose everything and be back at square one. It was a great way to test and challenge the player, because the way the system was designed was to tie into the world’s randomness and the sheer nature of survival.
Gambling seems to be the antithesis of what should exist in a post-apocalyptic world where people are trying to simply live, but I guess you need some sort of entertainment!
Dead Rising 2
I’m not quite sure why strip poker exists in Dead Rising 2, but I’m not complaining. You’ll also be able to play a number of slot machines and other random games. It costs a staggering $100 to spin (can you imagine the Australian bureaucrats), while other games such as Money-Grab and High-Rollers cost $100 and $1000 respectively, with the opportunity to walk away with 10x your wager.
Interesting, the game was designed to explicitly gift you gambling winnings: whenever you came across money in front of a slot machine, if you played that exact money in that exact slot machine, you would win the jackpot having 5 spins.
The action was really in the strip poker room, however, when you got to play up against both men and women, and address them as you please, relative to your success as a poker player, of course.
Grand Theft Auto
The Grand Theft Auto series needs no introductions, and it’s certainly no stranger to gambling. You’ve been able to wager money in GTA games dating back to 2002’s GTA: Vice City, where you could pay to enter a street race, and then bet on yourself. It was taken to new heights in San Andreas with actual casinos in Las Venturas. You could play blackjack, roulette, the slot, video poker, and wheel of fortune. Interestingly, you could borrow money from the casino if you were ever in the red, although failing to pay back the debt would result in debt collectors chasing you down with machine guns. Classic GTA.
GTA: Chinatown Wars had scratchies, The Lost And Damned had arm wrestling (seriously), while GTA V reintroduced street racing, both in the main game as well as in GTA Online, which houses a number of events in which players can gamble their in-game currency, which can also be purchased using real money.
Red Dead Redemption
There’s no doubt that gambling will return in Red Dead Redemption 2, as it was such an important and fun component of the of the original. You could enter into pretty much any saloon and engage in a number of different gambling games, while also downing alcohol and eyeing off the suspicious out-of-towner sitting in the corner.
You could play poker and blackjack, which were perhaps the most prominent games across the game world. There was also arm wrestling, horseshoes, five finger fillet and liar’s dice. You would need to gamble in order to unlock everything in the game and achieve 100% complete. Many of the outfits were locked behind gambling games, so you were forced to eventually gamble at some point if you ever wanted John’s more lucrative outfits.
It probably goes without saying that a game about the Japanese Mafia should have casinos and gambling, seeing as how prominent the Yakuza is in the underground gambling industry. Each game pretty much has a whole district dedicated to gambling and casinos.
You could easily lose your entire hard-earned wealth within the game, although I guess that’s the point: once you’re in debt, they have you under their thumb.
The Witcher 3
This isn’t technically gambling, but it’s hard to be good at the mini-game of Gwent in The Witcher 3 without actually spending money to purchase cards. The point of the game is to have a better hand on the table than your opponent. Simply enough, sure, but the game is hard to manage, as you never quite know when the good time is to buy another card or hands.