Red Dead & Beyond: How Realistic Is Gambling In Video Games?

Developers over recent years have forged a poor reputation through the introduction of microtransactions and loot crates into their games. While random risk bolt-ons take away from the experience. Some titles have introduced gambling as part of the narrative structure. And when done right, it’s something to behold.

Classic gambling games can be a brilliant device to contextualize the game world. They set the tone and slow down the pace. Mini-games like poker and blackjack serve to provide a refreshing change to gun-toting and monster slaying.

When it comes to realism, gambling in videogames should tick every box, up until the first bet. Wagering should only affect the in-game economy, not your own bank account.

Read on to see how our casino favorites are used to improve the best videogames.

Fallout: New Vegas

Set in a post-apocalyptic Vegas wasteland, the fourth installment in the Fallout franchise boasts all the similar tropes to its predecessors: from irradiated monsters to the Pip-Boy. But what would the City of New Vegas be without treachery, maniacal AIs, and a whole bunch of casinos? You better hope you’ve saved up enough bottle caps because the house always wins.

Fallout: New Vegas sets out a brilliant vision of dystopia. Where the remnants of humanity cling onto the structure of games to reclaim normality. The backdrop provides a memorable way to play your casino favorites.  But don’t be fooled by aesthetic alone, the games are there to play — slots, roulette, blackjack — yet they come with a twist. The corrupt world will look to cheat you every chance it gets.

However, you can turn the tables by increasing in-game perks like ‘Luck’ which will give you an unfair advantage over the AI. And with so many ways to ways to rig the game, Fallout’s gambling system is a reflection of its corrupt context — not an accurate portrayal of the real thing.

In terms of realism, you are better off taking your chances at one of the top-rated online casinos, where external factors take a more bipartisan approach. So if New Vegas has piqued your interest, check out some of the best sign up bonuses and try the same games elsewhere.

Red Dead Redemption II

If you want realism from a videogame, venture no further than Red Dead Redemption II. The game is an example of accuracy and believable storytelling done to near perfection. And RDR2’s immersive nature spreads far beyond the campaign, and into a fluid incarnation of the wild west. With that in mind, you wouldn’t slide into a western bar without putting up a wager or two. 

Rockstar has gone to great lengths to enrich the gaming experience, and gambling has a larger role to play than you might expect. From shenanigans at high stakes boat parties to chance encounters and tabletop minigames, gambling in RDR2 is used to highlight hypocrisy in the upper classes and display camaraderie with your campmates.

While encompassing favorites like poker and blackjack, the game also caters for historical accuracy with the additions of dominoes and five finger fillet. Although I can’t recommend playing the latter in real life.

Aside from rigged story missions, the gambling events you’ll find dotted around towns and camps are portrayed with decent accuracy. It’s the little additions that make the world pop. There is nothing better than entering a bar in Saint-Denis, sipping on whiskey, and joining a game of Texas Hold’em. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

From historical realism, we move into the fantastical realm of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which boasts a card game all of its own — Gwent. Traveling across the sprawling landscape, you’ll encounter various strangers in taverns, villages, farms, and castles. They are all looking to wager you at Gwent: Are you willing to accept their challenge? 

Gwent is a tactical masterclass, increasing in difficulty as the game progresses. You take turns placing down characterized battle cards, not dissimilar to the likes of Hearthstone or Magic The Gathering. But the game sets itself apart through simplicity, there are no power cards or secret formula guaranteeing you the win.

And as your deck improves, you can compete in tournaments for a real challenge and earn some coin. However, be wary as the AI has a tendency to magically draw the perfects cards. But if you fancy a matchup against friends, Gwent is also a standalone online game for your desktop.

Where Gwent differs from traditional gambling, it does hit the right beats. Instead of gambling on luck like a slot machine, its about wagering on your own ability. And if you lose, you face consequences by relinquishing coins and cards. Gwent is about fun and knowing your capabilities, two factors that should go into every gamble you make.  

Recommended reading: Why Gambling Is Important In Videogames?

Gambling can be an effective tool for videogames to add context and flavor to the game world. These are three examples of how gambling systems have been implemented well. It’s about having fun, there is no real money being lost, but there are consequences that’s as realist as it needs to be.

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