Casino gaming is nothing new. Not only is casino gaming itself as old as the hills, but video game representations of casino gaming also date back much, much further than you might think. Whatever your favourite casino game might be, you can bet that you’ll find a retro representation of it on an old console, and if you can’t, then there’ll be a classic PC game that recreates it, albeit on a humble and lo-fi scale. These retro games aren’t like Hyperino.de in that they won’t offer you the chance to win real money on a huge variety of slot machines; instead, they’re true old-school versions of casino classics. Here are the 9 best retro casino games.
1. Casino Kid (NES, 1989)
Casino Kid is based on a Japanese manga by the name of $1,000,000 Kid. The game itself is a casino simulation in which you need to accrue money in order to battle and end the reign of the King of the Casino. To do so, you can play blackjack and poker in the Western version, as well as slots and roulette if you’re playing the Japanese edition of the game. It’s well worth seeking this one out if you’re looking for some retro casino gaming joy.
2. Casino Kid II (NES, 1993)
With the popularity of the original Casino Kid, it stands to reason that a sequel would also be made, although this one is less popular and well-known than the original. A mysterious figure is running a championship and wants to battle the Casino Kid, so you must once again return to your high-stakes gambling life in order to prevail. To do so, you can play enhanced and expanded versions of roulette, poker, and blackjack, among other casino favourites.
3. High Stakes Gambling (Game Boy, 1992)
Unlike many other casino games, High Stakes Gambling takes place during the 1930s, in the era of the Great Depression in the USA. You play as FBI agent Pete Rosetti, and it’s your job to go undercover as a gambler in order to bankrupt the Mafia and disrupt its gambling operation. You can play blackjack, slots, and poker, and uniquely, you can also buy various tools to help you cheat. Hey, the Mafia is cheating, so you’ll need to do the same in order to bring them down.
4. Vegas Dream (NES, 1990)
Released in Japan in 1988 and in North America in 1990, Vegas Dream (known in Japan as Viva! Las Vegas) is another casino game with something of a storyline to it. You start as a penniless hopeful landing in Vegas, and you must navigate the seedy world of the Strip in order to get rich. You can play keno, blackjack, slot machines, and roulette in this game, and you can either choose to play through the story mode or play the casino games on offer without the narrative framework.
5. Vegas Stakes (SNES, 1993)
Since Vegas Dream was such a success, it stands to reason that Vegas Stakes would also be worth a play if you’re a retro casino fan. It’s the SNES followup to Vegas Dream, and once again, your goal is to retire from the casino business as a wealthy person with $10 million to your name. As well as the casino favourites on offer here – including blackjack and slots – you also get to type in what you intend to do with the money you win, which will then come true at the end.
6. Golden Nugget 64 (Nintendo 64, 1998)
This is one of the few gambling games available on the N64, as Nintendo generally pivoted towards a more family-friendly image for its later consoles. Golden Nugget 64 features ten full casino favourites including baccarat, poker, and blackjack, as well as a couple of variations to keep things interesting and fresh. The game also features a multiplayer mode, so you can play some of your favourite casino games alongside your friends and cackle as you rake in their hard-earned chips.
7. Golden Nugget Casino DS (Nintendo DS, 2005)
It’s a little scary that the Nintendo DS is now in the realms of “retro”, but that’s where we’re at. Golden Nugget Casino DS is another entry in the Golden Nugget series of casino sims, and like the N64 version, it offers plenty of casino favourites to get stuck into. You start with $2,000 in this game, and you can reset your winnings to just $2,000 at any time. This is a straightforward, simple casino sim, so if you’re in the market for that, you should check it out.
8. Caesars Palace 2000 (PlayStation, 2000)
While Caesars Palace 2000 was also released for the Dreamcast, given the relative failure of that console, it found its main home on the PlayStation. It offers an impressive eleven casino games to check out, as well as officially licensed tables from the actual Caesar’s Palace casino. Again, this is a simple casino sim; there aren’t really any bells or whistles here, but by the same token, there’s nothing to get in the way of the action, so you can enjoy casino gaming uninterrupted.
9. Trump Castle: The Ultimate Casino Gambling Simulation
Regardless of your personal feelings about former US President Donald Trump, he has a colourful history as a businessman. Trump Castle was released back in 1989, when political power was just a distant dream for Trump. It has six casino games to play and was accompanied by a manual that explained the various rules of the casino game. Amusingly, the manual also contained coupons for Trump’s casino. Suffice it to say that even the developers of this game probably didn’t predict where Trump would subsequently end up.