Entry 339 posted in: 3. Gamebits
There is a lot of suffering in this world and that is perhaps why we play a lot or, better said, I play a lot of computer games. It is a matter of turning the wolf (homo homini lupus est) into a softer me, a homo ludens. Unless you prefer first person shooters of course (which I don’t).
A few posts ago I wrote how I liked Samantha Fox's strip poker on the Amstrad CPC. But the poker simulation that I liked most was a DOS program called Alien Poker. I tried to Google it but apparently the game has been completely forgotten since. Even Abandonware and DOS sites don't mention this game, which is a pity.
Alien Poker 1993
Alien Poker 1.1 was made by JD Software in 1993 and was distributed under the shareware flag. You could play five-card draw poker (aka closed poker) against a bunch of extra-terrestrials, each with their own skills, strategies and GPP (Genuine People Personalities).
Alien Poker is a game in which you are pitted against the most skilled poker players that the galaxy has to offer. You are one of the select few Earthling to know about a casino located on the dark side of our Moon. And every Saturday there is a game where you can invite up to five alien opponents to test their luck and skill against you.
Five computer players were included in the free version of the game, but if you paid 20 $ to Jeff Bogan in Nova Scotia, Canada he would send you the full game with extra characters included. As the game used full 256 color VGA graphics there was also a warning saying:
If the processor you use is fairly slow you may have irritating long waits while images are decompressed in the program.
I feared that I had to take my 80286 of the attic to grab a screenshot of the game, but the local black hole that is also known as my software cabinet made me find the disk within 3 minutes. This could be a sign, if only I knew what for...
The next positive point was that XP still allowed the program to be installed but alas, trying to play it resulted in the dreaded divison by zero error. Good there is such a thing as Dosbox that did the trick, the game behaves reasonably well under that emulator and that is how I could take the screenshot.
As the game can't be found anywhere on the web I have given it a safe place on my site. Vintage game addicts will not be disappointed. I still hope that one day someone will come up with the complete version, but as I said before, a Google newsgroup search only lead to some very snotty people who were looking for that as well.
Smoke'em Poker 1996
When my DOS days were over and I finally went into Windows 3.11 I found this magnificent poker game that was presented as follows:
Smoke'em Poker is a BeerWare program that I wrote to simulate a weekend game of five-card draw poker. You play against five opponents simulated by the computer. The simple interface includes lots of options, statistics (including a graph of winnings), auto-play mode, saveable games, and online help.
This application was written in 1996 by David O' Brien whose archived website still is around somewhere. As I am in a very good mood today I offer you this link that contains a favourable review of the game and the obvious download as well. Ay caramba!
I am not a trendsetter, on the contrary, so when the tidal wave called XP hit the software shores I did everything that was in my ability to ignore that piece of sh......oftware. Windows 98 was my thing and it would stay that way until computer dealers started to laugh at me in public.
But my first XP computer finally made it possible to have a go at Hoyle Poker, a commercial game from Sierra, which I had found in the sales bins of my local computer shop. The game contained 24 poker variations such as the classic 5 card draw, but also Baseball, Chicago, Cincinnati, Criss cross and an unattractive poker deviation called: Texas Hold'em.
But like I mentioned before, you can't stop a tidal wave and before one could say floccinaucinihilipilification Texas Hold'em was conquering the world. And just like I learned to appreciate XP I learned to enjoy Texas Hold'em.
PokerTH 0.5 is a Texas Hold'em application, allowing people to play the game against AI players or over the net against real people. The only thing that is not real is the money. Finally there is an online computer game that doesn't try to rob your Visa or American Express account.
For the moment there isn't a dedicated server yet and people are asked to host their own games. But as more and more people (who don't want to lose money) will discover this software more and more rounds will be available to join.
If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: The Sandbox Of God