Kamis, 22 Januari 2009

World Series of Poker Wireless Plug and Play 15-in-1 TV Game

World Series of Poker Wireless Plug and Play 15-in-1 TV GameWireless handheld device. No game console required! Includes 15 of the most popular casino games including World Series of Poker Texas Hold'em. Has realistic sound effects! Plug & Play -- no setup needed. Plugs into any TV with RCA inputs.

Customer Review: Casual casino gaming for the casual gamer.

I bought this as a gift for my father-in-law who loves poker but isn't the most computer-savvy person in the world. I wanted to get him something that was easy for him to use but still moderately challenging in game play. As anyone who has ever played video card games will attest to, it's FAR easier to win a few million dollars in virtually all video poker games than it is to do it in real life. This is a virtual certainty simply because video game manufacturers don't want their customers feeling frustrated, so they make their games easier to win.

That said, this game isn't much different from the rest. It is, as expected, very easy to win. You won't win ALL the time and there are a few things you have to know about poker before you can win, but once you've got the minimal basics down you'll end up winning more than you'll be losing. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you're looking for a casual and fun game, this could be right up your alley. If you're looking for something that's a REAL challenge then you'd be best served by finding a few buddies and setting up a poker night for everyone.

A word to the wise... You might look at the name of this item and think that it contains 15 variations of poker. It doesn't. There's a few flavors of poker in there (including the now-ubiquitous Texas Hold'Em) but there's also blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, slot machines and more. There's also gin rummy, a game which I've never seen in a casino before (though admittedly I'm not big on visiting the casinos in real life).

About the system: It arrives in a sturdy box whose weight belies its cheap-looking construction. The box contains the base unit that connects to the TV set via a composite video plug and a composite (mono) audio plug, the infrared game controller, and a slim set of instructions and rule book for the games. The base unit takes four AA batteries and the controller takes two more AA batteries. No AC power adapter is available and, of course, batteries are NOT included. Install the batteries, plug the base unit into your TV, change your TV's input to that location, turn it on and start playing. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Graphics and sound are typical classic video game quality; think back to the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis. That's about what you're getting here. It's adequate for the job but certainly won't win any awards. Video always displays in standard 4x3 resolution so those with widescreens will see vertical black bars on either side.

I tried this on several different TVs and they all worked, though the graphics quality changed substantially depending on the TV set. A 32" Vizio LCD and my 19" Sony LCD (both widescreens) showed everything crystal clear, although there was some visible pixelation when you got very close to the screen (which most people wouldn't do anyway). A 56" Sony projection TV was arguably nicer than the LCDs, likely due to the natural blurring effect of a non-LCD screen that smoothed out the pixelation. A 12" CRT TV was barely playable; words were hard to decipher and similar suits were hard to distinguish (clubs and spades looked very similar). A 9" LCD, however, was perfectly playable so visibility definitely relies more on the quality of the display rather than the size.

The base unit sits on/next to your TV and has a broad infrared receiver on the face. The controls on the base unit are minimal; POWER and RESET, basically. The controller includes a four-way directional button that provides navigation, the expected "OK" or "SELECT" button, plus a handful of additional buttons to perform specific actions within the game itself. Range on the infrared system is reasonable; at about 20 feet away and at a fairly sharp angle to the unit I was still able to play the game without interruption.

My biggest complaint about the product is its cheap-looking construction. All of the plastics are black and silver with BRIGHT red buttons and look like they were designed after watching a "Buck Rogers in the 24th Century" marathon. There was a little casting flash on the one I bought (which I cut off with a razor blade), numerous visible screws, and just a general overall cheap feeling to it. It hasn't broken so it doesn't seem to be cheaply made; it just looks and feels cheap. Which, at ~$15 or so, it actually is.

All in all, this game is essentially a specialized and glorified handheld casino game. I could very easily see this game being offered on a Game Boy, for example, and not looking much different. Still, for the money and if you're in the right target audience this isn't a bad little game.

Customer Review: Great value but not for a small TV!

The games are fun and look fine on a larger TV, but using them on a 15" or smaller set yields numbers and text so fuzzy they are unreadable. Some of the games look ok, most do not. Stick to a larger TV and you will be fine.
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