Warning: Oh Crave Entertainment … I’m so sorry. This a complete rant. I’m glad you put Pinochle into your game, but you failed to account for house rules. And Pinochle players take their game very seriously.

Crave Entertainment
May, 2008

Normally, the chance to play Pinochle on my PlayStation would make me jump up and down and recommend the game no matter what the shortcomings.

But no. They messed up the rules.

Well clearly the integration with the PlayStation 2 Eye Toy and challenging others over broadband would just be awesome.

But no. I don’t think anyone actually owns the game.

Then, surely a challenging computer opponent and feisty computer teammate would result in hours of addictive entertainment in your game package, which includes Spades, Hearts, Rummy, bridge, Crazy 8’s and 10 kinds of Solitaire, right? No, no, NO, god dammit, NO.

How on Earth do you muck up CARDS? CARDS? It’s one of the most basic principles of video games. People have been doing it in computer games forever, and I have been reviewing card games since I was 13 years old. (The awful, awful writing is evident.)

Pinochle meldPinochle. It is my family game. I’ve been playing it since I was 4 years old, and I’m escatic to see it in a PlayStation 2 video game, but there are just two problems. The first problem is that the artificial intelligence is not intelligent, usually just throwing out cards without much strategy. And forget about online play.

Second of all, the rules are different and can’t be changed. Yes, I know there are more house rules and family rules in Pinochle than Monopoly, but I play a pretty standard (I think) game. Min. bid is 150, single deck, no passing cards, no auction bidding. In some games, I’ve seen players use two decks and teams pass cards around, but I’ve only seen card passing with double deck.

In World Championship Cards, bidding starts at 15 instead of 150, (manageable) and four cards get passed between the teammates who take the bid (stupid). Still, it’s Pinochle getting some sort of commercial recognition. I think it should be an Olympic sport, personally, or at least on ESPN with million-dollar tournaments.

Here’s the bottom line before I shut myself up finally. The AI isn’t smart, some of the rules are different, like no jokers in the game spades, but there’s enough of a variety to potentially justify spending the $7 that Amazon’s sellers are asking for the game. That is, of course, if you need another video card game product. Of course you do.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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