Five Great 8-Bit Card Games

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More people have turned to video games in the last few years to escape the stresses of an ever-changing world, than ever before.

More than 227m people across the US play video games, and that’s not just the latest big releases. Indeed, there’s been a thirst for retro games. Why is that? Perhaps it is because many of us find comfort in nostalgia. It’s great to sit back and think of how things were and what games we used to play. As a result, gaming emulators and ROMs have grown in popularity, as they allow gamers to return to an 8-bit graphical wonderland where licensing and scrutiny were pretty loose, allowing almost anyone to create whatever game they desired.

Card games were perfect for the budding developer; they had a simple premise, were easy to code, and the rules of the games were pretty much already in the mind of everyone. There were many fantastic games made; some stayed under the proverbial table away from the public’s gaze, while others were front and center, face up for all to see. So, let’s cut the pack and deal you five of those great 8-bit card games in our list below.

Card Sharks – C64

This card game allows players to choose from three options: poker, hearts, and blackjack, and there are multiple choices in terms of playable characters too. You get random characters like Luigi (no, not the famous plumber’s brother), the Lady, and a geeky-looking guy called Milton; there are also famous parodies of leaders. Michael Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, and Maggie Thatcher were three of the world’s most powerful people, but we recommend you don’t sit on their side; go against those three. There’s something satisfying about taking their money!

Samantha Fox Poker – C64

Despite being a time when people certainly appreciated the chance to play poker on the modern tech, this game was released to whet the appetite of those who liked all things ‘glamor’. In this adaptation of five-card draw, you didn’t even need to know the poker hand rankings, because the system did it for you. Samantha Fox Poker seemed to want to be salacious rather than depicting a serious poker game, and it highlighted how some developers wanted to push the boundaries. However, its success opened for more celebrities to put their names to poker titles in the future, making it even more important than people realized.

Blackjack – Atari 2600

This game available on the Atari 2600 pretty much does what you expect it to do. It is a really solid interpretation of blackjack even though it’s very simple by design. What was remarkable was the option to play multiplayer with two other players and against the dealer, rather than just against the dealer. Each player starts with 200 chips, and the winner is the one that gets to 1000 first, or of course, you’re out of your seat if you take a bad beat and lose the lot!

Casino Games – Master System

Brought to the Sega Master System in 1989 this game was aimed at the older players amidst a generation of younger gamers. It was the first real virtual Vegas with a wealth of options for players to enjoy, complete with a dealer with the best poker face in any game, EVER. The three-card games on offer here are excellent, there’s blackjack, baccarat, and poker, and the music is so good that closing your eyes and taking it in sends you right back into the 80s like nothing else!

Poker III – NES

This game was dealt onto the NES back in 1991 and was an instant hit on the massively popular console. It’s a feast of 8-bit goodness and was one of the best adaptations of poker on any gaming system of the time; it was even held above titles available on more modern systems, which tells you how revered it was. Poker III was arguably at the top of the pile when it came to poker games and certainly inspired some other notable titles, such as Las Vegas Video poker, which was later available on home computers.

If you want to pick up some of these titles and get the latest info from the halcyon days of the 8-bit generation, make sure you check out our ROMs by adding a bookmark to stick around with us here at Romslovers.


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