Archive for April, 2012

Golden Nugget (Starring TV’s Batman)

Monday, April 16th, 2012

How do you make a gambling sim interesting?

The rules for traditional gambling games are firmly established, and there isn’t much you can do to make them more exciting. Nowadays, you can appeal to a broad audience with mobile apps, online multiplayer modes, and social networking features, but I’d imagine that it was quite a challenge back in the ’80s and ’90s.

This was the problem developer Point of View faced when creating Golden Nugget for the original PlayStation. Their solution? The game shipped with an interactive full-motion video thriller starring Adam West.

Strangely, this feature is only mentioned briefly on the back of the game’s jewel case, and you could easily overlook the fact that it exists at all. The game dumps you into a standard gambling simulation mode at startup, and the “start adventure” option is buried in an obscure menu in a part of the casino you might never visit.

Golden Nugget’s adventure mode isn’t a last-minute throwaway addition, though; it features more than half an hour’s worth of live-action video, forcing the game to be released as a two-disc set. It was filmed entirely at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas casino, too. Its existence is both puzzling and fascinating.

Golden Nugget’s gameplay is nothing special, but the video segments are really something else. In the game, you play as a professional gambler, and Adam West is “Hugh Swain,” who is basically Batman. There’s some story about a stolen computer chip and chaos theory and…look, you really need to see this. I stitched together all of Golden Nugget’s FMV sequences below. Watch it all. It’s worth it.