Remember kids, gambling is good for you!
Optional gambling mini-game that has the player wagering in-game money
on a game of chance. This can range from games based entirely on random chance
(e.g. slots, roulette) to competitions involving some degree of skill (e.g. card battling), although an element of luck is invariably involved.
Gamers of questionable morals will often exploit these mini-games by saving, setting themselves up for a huge payoff (such as by betting their entire savings on a longshot), and reloading until they win
. Developers often attempt to discourage this behavior by limiting the amount of maximum bids to a reasonable level, but by then it's usually not worth bothering, as you could probably profit faster merely by going outside and slaughtering random monsters
. Alternatively, some games will save the outcome of the bet before revealing it to the player, rendering cheating in this fashion too complicated to bother with in most cases.
So, in summation, if you're playing an RPG
, odds are it has a betting mini-game somewhere. Often kept in one big area, for your convenience
. And note that this doesn't apply to actual
gambling and casino games, because, well, that's expected from them. Almost mandatory for a game with a Luck Stat
Also see Monster Arena
, Inevitable Tournament
, Luck-Based Mission
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- An NPC in The Legend of Zelda suggests to Link, "Let's play money making game." Said NPC leaves unspecified exactly who will be making the money, of course. To clarify on how the game works, there are 3 rupees on display and each one gives or takes a certain amount. One gives you the bonus, the other one takes a few rupees away, and the last one takes a lot of rupees away from you. Because of the game's Engrish, many people did not understand what was going on in the game at first.
- In Link to the Past, there's some similar places where you pay your money and then open one treasure chest, getting a certain amount of rupees. One of these places holds a Piece of Heart in one of the chests, and in general the odds are much more in your favor.
- Two Zeelichian casinos in Little Big Adventure II. Thankfully, if you do manage to run out of money, you can always get a few coins from a random flower pot or trash can and start again.
- Landstalker on the Genesis had a betting minigame where you attempted to throw an iron ball onto a set of moving platforms. The faster the platform moved, the better prize you got. However, if you won the max prize too many times in a row, the game's owner would stop you from playing from the rest of the game, because you're "too good".
- Gun had a Texas Hold'em mini-game, a form of Poker for those not familiar. Frankly, it was dismal but you could win literally 40 dollars (this was a lot in the game) and you would have to try really hard to lose but it was very tedious. Not knowing anything about Poker I managed to beat all 6 levels of the mini-game in order to get the 100% bonuses.
- In Alundra 2, you can bet your gold on bull fights.
- You could also gamble in a casino. One of the gilded falcons you could collect to get item upgrades could be won by winning a wheel spinning game a number of times in a row. Problem was, the odds of winning any given spin was about 1 in 3 - with the possibility of no winner (like a regular roulette wheel). You had to win 4 times in a row in order to get the falcon - literally odds of 1 in 81 assuming you never hit black. There seemed to no pattern you could follow to achieve victory, only odds and guesswork.
- The wheel would always stop amongst a certain set of 5 consecutive spaces dependent on the starting position. With this information in hand the odds of winning 4 times in a row goes up to a minimum of 1 in 39 (which admittedly is still pretty bad). What made this sidequest worse was the fact that even after acquiring the gilded falcon, you had to win 4 times in a row all over again to get one of the Life Vessels
- Indie game An Untitled Story features a blackjack game in birdtown where you can wager your crystals. However, saving and reloading isn't exploitable. The money loss is saved in the file even if you don't save.
- Cool World, for SNES, has a casino. You can bet your wood coins.
- In Penguin Adventure, the shops have slot machines on which you can bet fish. You can only play each one three times unless you possess a certain item.
- Legend of the Mystical Ninja has three: a simplified version of the dice game Taishō (a.k.a. Sic Bo); a lottery and horse racing.
- The classic MacVenture game Deja Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas has a Blackjack mini-game that Ace Harding can use to win money. Since cash is often needed for items and train fare, the mini-game is actually mandatory, and Ace has to wander around the desert to look for more money to bet if he loses all of it at the tables. Fortunately, there are two ways to circumvent this: either save and reload your game as needed, or loosen the odds by showing the dealer proof that you and he are old buddies.
- The Original Deja Vu title also had a slot machine mini-game, but it was more or less optional.
- The original Leisure Suit Larry had casino games that could easily drain all the money from the player, and of course running out of money was a Non-Standard Game Over. However, you need to play the games because to win the game Larry needs more money than he actually has; Save Scumming, away!
- Playing the slot machine was actually a requirement in the original Space Quest, as it was the only way to raise enough money for some needed equipment. The designers made it extra-clear that they fully expected you to save and reload often by including a possible spin that killed you.
- The VGA remake of the game had a fun subversion. You could play fair as in the original, or you could cheat in-game by rigging the machine to win every time using an item acquired in the beginning of the game. The slot machine exploded after you'd won a certain amount (which was more than what you needed to complete the game).
- Another Sierra adventure game, Police Quest, had a poker minigame with a bit of a twist; your money didn't really matter (as long as you didn't lose it playing), you just needed to win to progress in the game.
- Super Adventure Island II has a casino that offers a roulette-like game, a slot machine, and horse races (with enemy characters in place of horses, since said enemies are all animals). This is pretty much the only use for the gold you've collected, outside of buying mandatory special techniques which are extremely cheap. The casino offers unique equipment for exorbitant prices, and due to the betting cap it would still take an extraordinarily long amount of time to earn the gold to buy them all if you didn't save state your way into the jackpot a few times.
- The Spellcasting Series features a betting house in the third game, with various games of chance that are loosely based on real-world casino games. Barring complete knowledge of the game, most players will be forced to use it at some point or another if they wish to solve every puzzle. While the game forbids Save Scumming inside the casino, you can simply make one move outside and do it there instead, which allows a player to get all the money they'll need pretty easily.
- Frederik Pohl's Gateway (loosely based on the book) features several betting minigames. One is used as a plot element late in the game. The player spends time in a magnificent space casino and wins every game. Attentive players will recognize the Casino as a Virtual Reality, and to proceed they must break the directive of the simulation - that is, they must lose in a Casino where they're supposed to never be able to.
Beat Em Up
- God Hand has the Barely Regal casino and "chihuahua races" accessible between each stage.
- The slot machine in Super Smash Bros. Melee which is used to get trophies.
- Similarly, in Brawl there's a "Spectator" mode where players can bet coins on replays of wi-fi matches, earning more coins and sometimes power-up stickers in the process.
- The PC fighting game Bikini Karate Babes has an optional Betting Mini-Game that you can unlock after beating all the fighters in Arcade Mode. You can wager on each of the battles during a mini-tournament, but the computer controls both combatants in every fight.
- After Blizzard added a random number command to World of Warcraft, players would often run their own simple betting games in the major cities. This activity was ultimately banned, in part because of how many players were doing it and clogging up the chat window.
- Before World of Warcraft, EverQuest had similar random number commands that were used this way. The main difference, however, is that EQ's version of the "random" number roller originally had a bug in it that caused the numbers picked to not be truly random, and knowing how this bug worked allowed the players running the games to unfairly stack the odds in their favor. Many a new player were fleeced out of their coin before Sony fixed the bug.
- Kingdom of Loathing has a "Money Making Game" referencing the Zelda example above. Its current form has you making a bet for a certain amount, and another player (actual living person playing the online game) matches that amount. Then the Random Number God determines who wins a trifle less than double their original bet, and who loses the whole pot.
- Averted in City of Villains, while there is a section of city that looks like Las Vegas (complete with bright, neon lights and oddly shaped buildings, there is no where to gamble. Mostly, you get to help seedy casino folks in good ol' fashion Vegas-styled knee breaking.
- Star Trek Online has added in the Dabo gambling game, occasionally mentioned on Deep Space Nine. Players can either wager energy credits or latinum, but winnings are always in the form of latinum, which makes it rather difficult to tell if you're breaking even. Latinum has a few special uses (hologram emitters that can superficially change the appearance of your ship were the original purpose) so it's always handy to have some. With the advent of the diplomacy system, it's actually possible to bribe certain enemies or NPCs with it.
- This is the main appeal of Capcom's High Roller Casino, which allows players to play six gambling mini-games to score points: Blackjack/21, Craps, Hi-Lo, Poker, Roulette and Slots. Each game is accompanied by a playfield toy or obstacle for its corresponding game, and players can even cheat to turn losses into wins.
- In The Champion Pub, after you play through the Ultimate Challenge, each subsequent fight has you wager your score against an opponent of choice, up to a maximum of 240 million points. It is possible to zero out your score this way.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 makes you play slots between levels with the coins you've collected, but that's okay, because that's all they're good for. A player who's reasonably good at timing his button presses can gain an extra life for nearly every coin he puts in once he's gotten one.
- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins has a hill conveniently located near the castle where a player may play a wheel of fortune game for items and extra lives... or he may get some coins in return. Naturally, the more coins that are put in, the better the prize selection. Again, that's all these coins are good for and unlike in all other Mario games, collecting 100 of them doesn't automatically get you an extra life.
- In Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, at the end of each level, you can play a game in which you pick one of two buckets. One has a moneybag, which doubles the coins you collected in the level, and the other has a 10 ton weight which cuts your coins in half. You can pick up to three times. In this game, the ending is based on how many coins and treasures you get.
- Casino Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with its slot machines (including one which, if you weren't quick enough, you were doomed to be bounced back into as soon as you were done) and then the Bonus Stage of Sonic and Knuckles which was basically the same thing stuck into the perpetual-rotating dimension of the first Special Stages.
- Super Mario 64 DS has 8 betting mini-games (all which are from Luigi, and the Pair-and-Gone and On mini-game does not have coins, so it doesn't count), and some of the mini-games must be unlocked by capturing Green Bunnies/Rabbits (they will only appear when playing as Luigi, as far as I know). The money used in the mini-games are coins (obviously). However, the coins in the mini-games are not used in-game.
- Three of these mini-games (Pair-a-Gone, Picture Poker and Memory Match) are also in New Super Mario Bros. DS. Again, the mini-game coins are seperate from the coins in the main game.
- Spelunky features dice shops. They don't sell the dice.
- It's interesting to note that because of the way it's set up (You roll two die. 1-6 is a loss for you, 7 gets you an item, and 8-12 gets you your money back doubled) if you play forever, you'll roughly break even, and get all the items you need.
Role Playing Game
- The Pazaak card game in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It was basically blackjack with the rules altered slightly.
- Need money? Let's travel in hyperspace to Yavin. Want that expensive armour he's selling? How about a few hands of Pazaak? It was quite a disappointment when he suddenly caught on.
- Unfortunately, it seems every player in that game are sore losers. They refuse to play with you after you win about five hands, and there usually wasn't more than one or two players on any given planet.
- There are at least two Pazaak players that don't mind playing to infinity. Gelrood in lower Taris and the Rodian in Fazza's lodge. One of the most popular mods is "extreme" Pazaak which spawns "no limit" Pazaak dealers on Taris and Korriban.
- The casinos in most Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior games.
- Dragon Quest VIII had either a bug or a deliberate flaw in its casino games. There was one particular bet setup for roulette you could use that would always make a profit.
- The casinos (Game Corners) located throughout the various Pokémon games. In this case, however, it's not very efficient for making money, since the games have to be played using tokens rather than the usual money, and you can't turn them back into money. 100% Completion requires either long hours gambling or a lot of token-buying, however, as inevitably one Pokemon can only be obtained as a prize in the Game Corner (the original being Porygon). However, in the last two generations they didn't even give Mons, just items.
- As noted above, due to the change in the law, this was stripped from Pokémon Platinum, replaced with just randomly spawning coins. This was particularly jarring since there was no explanation offered as to why it was removed. It did however, thanks to the DS's region-free nature, become an incentive to import from America.
- Victory was entirely random in the original slots game. Very little the player could do would actually increase the payout received. In short, the change in accordance to European gambling laws meant that you spend a lot less time watching drums spin and Clefairy dancing.
- In HeartGold and SoulSilver, all the versions aside from Japan had the slots replaced with a card game. Thankfully, Voltorb Flip is just as addictive.
- Moral Guardians got the "Gambler" trainer class renamed "Gamer" in FireRed and LeafGreen. But they left the actual gambling in the game...
- In Black and White, there is no Game Corner whatsoever — don't even bother importing from Japan because they've been removed there too.
- Daoshen the Gambler's game in Jade Empire. An Easter Egg references the "save and reload" trick, as if you win too many times in a row Daoshen's head will explode.
- The city of New Reno in Fallout 2 has a number of casinos with roulette tables and one-armed bandits. There are other, smaller casinos in towns and villages throughout the rest of the country.
- In Fallout 1 the gambling check was so ridiculously easy that you could go to a roulette table, weigh down 2, go for a walk, and return stinkin' rich. In the second town, no less.
- Fallout's spiritual ancestor, Wasteland, included Vegas and had several casinos.
- Fallout: New Vegas features gambling mini-games: blackjack, slots, and roulette in casinos that have predetermined limits to your winnings (once you break the bank, you're banned from the games in that casino), and some NPCs will play the card game Caravan if you ask. Save Scumming on the slots and table games is discouraged as the dealers and machines have post-save "anti-cheating measures" that prevent you from playing for fifty seconds.
- However, since there are five different casinos whose banks you can break, doing so usually makes you so wealthy that you can go from threadbare waster armed mostly with gumption into a minigun-and-missile-launcher-wielding, power-armor-clad super-soldier with cybernetics out the wazoo. The Dead Money DLC adds a sixth, semi-functional casino that pays off in unique currency (it having been sealed before the Great War, and thus before the bottlecap became the default currency) that can be traded in for Boring but Practical items like Stimpacks and Weapon Repair Kits.
- Tales of Symphonia has a casino, but the games aren't playable... unless you're playing the Japanese PS2 version, that is.
- The original Ultima VII: if you join the corrupt Fellowship, the Rat Race casino game pays 6 to 1. Since it has only four possibilities, you can make as much money as you want by repeatedly betting on all four at the same time. Corruption pays, though this game was also infamous for having memory problems if too much gold was created.
- It also had a virtue (roulette) wheel at the pirate town. You could bet on any or all of the eight virtues... which paid out at 10 to 1.
- The game Legacy of the Ancients had blackjack, and a game called flip-flop, which was a bit like pachinko but with more strategy. With a little practice, you could win steadily; but if you won too much in one session, the betting parlor would close down and the town guards would grab you and throw you in jail unless you hightailed it out of town.
- The amount was 1000 gold in one sitting at the Apple 2e and 800 gold on the Commodore 64. This Troper got burned by the difference when she started playing on a Commodore version after getting used to the Apple 2 one. The Apple 2 version of Blackjack also had a bug where you'd automatically win the first hand.
- All entries in the Suikoden series has contained at least one such game - the classic is the dice-game 'Chinchirorin', but over the course of the games, it's also been possible to bet on dragon-horse races and play Blind Man's Bluff.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you can choose to bet on Arena matches between gladiators. Your luck stat can help you win if high enough (a high Luck will grant the chosen gladiator extra health). Unfortunately, you cannot place bets on your own matches, so there are no sure things. You can only bet a small amount, so Save Scumming isn't viable.
- Xenogears actually allows the player to play/bet on the card game Spit, and the first Xenosaga game has a poker minigame that is more or less a money farm for anyone with the least bit of patience.
- The Paper Mario games have moved on from luck-based games in which the player can bet and win coins, the standard currency. In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario, coins are exchanged for alternate currency (Piantas and Flipside Coins, respectively) which can be bet, won, and exchanged for items in their respective gaming corners. In addition, the games are skill-based, so it is less like betting.
- Grandia III had a casino game where you would roll dice five times and try to get at least three consecutive numbers (using cards to mark what numbers have been rolled). The setup, however, not only had odds favoring the player, but could be completely controlled using a single button, so you could get a turbo controller, put something on the button, walk away, and have more medals than you'll ever need in a few hours.
- The Witcher features a dice-based poker variation which you can play with a number of NPCs scattered throughout the game. Each NPC has a set amount of money that you can win, limiting your winnings, although it is circumventable as they refill their wallets on a regular basis.
- There's also an optional tournament ladder that rewards higher amounts of XP. Completing this gives opportunity to the Crowning Moment of playing against the King for the highest stakes.
- In Mass Effect 1 you'll find Flux, the casino - with one game, Quasar. That one game being a semirandom take on Twenty-One. Playing one machine for too long (over 6 rounds) will elicit a comment from the bar owner - continue to play at the same machine and you'll get thrown out. One of the sidequests in the Citadel involves playing Quasar and winning five times - making changing machines mandatory so you don't get thrown out. Flux can be avoided - doing so will prevent the player from getting some sidequests.
- Super Mario RPG had a casino with Blackjack and Slots. Although the location of the casino is very well hidden - the clues given to its location are very vague. Something of a Guide Dang It, really.
- Don't forget the "Look the other way" game, which was basically a coin flip game (the goal of which was to press left or right and hope the computer didn't pick the same direction you did). However, winning 100 rounds of it resulted in a very nice prize.
- A more literal version of this trope was on Yo'ster Isle. After beating Boshi in the footrace, you could unlock the ability to bet Yoshi Cookies on Yoshi races. You would be given a set of odds on Yoshi's success, and then decide either to watch from the sidelines, or race him yourself.
- Both Golden Sun-games have had the same betting-minigames. Lucky Dice (dice throwing with hands), Super Lucky Dance (random dice-throwing and betting on if the value would sink or rise) and Coin Throwing (throwing Coins and Lucky Medals into magic fountains to get coins and special items as prizes). Lucky Dice and Coin Throwing were both found in the city of Tolbi in the first Golden Sun. Lucky Dice and Super Lucky Dice were found in the city of Contigo in Golden Sun: The Lost Age and the Coin Throwing Fountain was in Lemuria. Also, the slot machine game with those tickets that you'd get for buying expensive things from the stores.
- There's a casino in Munari City in Summoner 2. You can also bet on the Gladiators.
- Star Ocean: The Second Story had giant bunny racing in Fun City where you could bet for the winner(s).
- Final Fantasy IX has a blackjack minigame after the ending.
- Persona 1 and Persona 2 both have "casino" arcades that let you play slots, video poker, (and in P2) blackjack and bingo for tokens that could be exchanged for powerful gear or special fusion cards. P2 made it especially easy to cheese the games if you spread a rumor that the slots were hot and then completely level up the Pixie persona, since that maxes out its Luck stat. The player then had a good chance of hitting the jackpot in minutes instead of grinding the slots for hours.
- ADOM has the casino level, in which you are guaranteed to win much more than you lose from the slot machines if you keep playing them. The only catch is that it's deep in the Caverns of Chaos, which means that standing around there for a long time lets The Corruption catch up to you quite fast. But even that doesn't matter if you know what you're doing, because as long as you don't exit the slot machine interface, only a single turn goes by in game time no matter how long you play. It's a perfectly sensible strategy to start playing, then weigh down the right key on your keyboard to keep repeating it, and go away for a while. (You still can't keep playing forever in one round, because the money you won needs to be picked up to be used for playing. And anyway, if it didn't, the weight of gold would eventually get too much for you.)
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has the slots in Serendipity. You can technically make movey off of them, but only very, very slowly. The only real reason to play them is to get a fragment by winning a certain (large) number of coins from them.
- Elona does it with many small quirks:
- The game played is a modified version of Blackjack:
- A hand can't be more than five cards.
- The dealer starts a round with one to four cards, rather than two, and always draws one and only one extra card, no matter how smart it would be to do otherwise.
- The player, when drawing cards, can skip cards which haven't been turned over yet, and having a high Luck Stat gives the player the chance to sense that a card would be bad.
- Bets are placed not once per round, but once per uninterrupted winning streak of rounds.
- The payoff isn't money, but equipment, scrolls and potions.
- You don't bet money, but casino chips. How do you get casino chips? By sifting through piles of rubble that you sometimes find in dungeons.
- My Sims has a casino where players can turn their money into chips and partake of three games of chance. The coins could be redeemed for special items not otherwise available. (At least this was the case with the DS version) You also, with two of the games, had the option of increasing the upper bet limit on two occasions by beating the Dealer.
- A rare strategy example—Hybrid RTS / RPG / Sim game Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim includes elves who run a gambling house where you can gamble in game resources. On one particular mission, A Deal With a Demon, it's almost impossible to win without gambling and save-scumming.
- The MECC game Yukon Trail has two kinds: a legitimate wagered card game, and a game of Three Card Monte that's just as much of a scam as the real thing (although you can eke out a few dollars with lower bets).
- Mitsumete Knight has a Blackjack mini-game that can be played at the Bar (but only on a second date and onwards with the same girl, and said girl must be of age 20 and over, meaning it's only accessible if you have either of Teddie, Carol, Gene, Sue, and Noel in your girl roster). The mini-game is freely accessible in the Options once you finish a playthrough where you played the mini-game at least once. On top of that, if you manage to win 1600 Coins or more, which is Nintendo Hard if you don't know how to play Blackjack and thus will require Save Scumming, you gain the Title "Gambler", for your Title Collection.
- The tabletop RPG Aces and Eights: Shattered Frontier takes a strange approach with its gambling mechanics; in some games, the GM simply rolls dice and/or rolls skill checks, while to play Poker and Faro, the actual players get dealt the hands and make the calls but their characters make skill checks to cheat, to spot cheating and some other actions. How meta.
Turn Based Strategy
- A lot of the Fire Emblem games have an arena, in which you make a bet, and then a unit of yours trades blows with an opponent until one of them falls. It's a complete scam, especially since Final Death is in full effect.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a number of ways to bet money, including horse racing, low-rider bouncing and casinos with games such as poker and roulette.
- Don't forget about pool. I could spend all day playing pool in that game.
- Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad Of Gay Tony had a game where you could either walk into a fight arena for a small entry fee, and keep fighting until you fell (or pull out when you knew it was imminent) or bet a potentially insane amount on someone else's fight. Save scumming is possible with either.
- Bully, another Rockstar game, includes even more: "Keep-ups" (essentially Hackeysack with a soccerball), and "Penalty Shots", a game where you must smack Constantinos with a soccer ball, and betting on midget wrestling.
- Red Dead Redemption, yet another Rockstar game, has poker, blackjack, horseshoes, liar's dice, and five finger fillet (jabbing a knife between you fingers really fast).
- Playing of these in multiplayer when exactly one player is using a skin from the ''Undead Nightmare'' DLC is a bit jarring.
- The street games One Shot and Roll Over the Top in Shenmue II.
- The Escape Velocity series traditionally included a gambling game in bars on various planets. Earlier games had a slot machine; Nova changed it to betting on a Viper race.
- Steambot Chronicles features a mech-fighting arena you can place bets in. Midway through the game you can use Save Scumming on one particular matchup and rake in more cash than you'll ever need. To a lesser extent, you can also play pool against certain characters and bet on your ability to win.