Ken Uston Blackjack/Poker (ColecoVision) Review
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Game Name: Ken Uston Blackjack/Poker
Developer: Coleco Industries, Inc.
Publisher: Coleco Industries, Inc.
Date Released: 1983
When I was very young, Poker and Blackjack were grown up games. These were times when uncles, aunts and friends of the family, would come over and play these on a Saturday night. At this period of time, we did not have many games for the ColecoVision. I think that it was either a birthday or a Christmas that we finally received another game. This was the game in question. It was a Blackjack and Poker game for the home console. I was so happy that I did not have to play Donkey Kong for the millionth time. Let us see how this game holds up after all of these years.
This game is based on one of the most popular professional gamblers to ever exist. He was also known as a writer. The person in question is named Kenneth Senzo Usui. He died in 1987. He was known for writing many books in regards to gambling, video games and computers. Some of these books were The Big Player, Million Dollar Blackjack and Ken Uston on Blackjack.
He was mostly known for being one of the first people to ever play blackjack in teams and counting cards. He was known for being banned from many known casino's around the world. He was conniving and continued to defy authorities by disguising himself in order to continue to play at casino's.
Now, on to the game at hand. When buying the game, players were given an insert to put in the ColecoVision controller. See below.
Sample Insert for Game
Bascially the insert provided guides on what to hit when you wanted an action to be performed, like Hit, Stand and Split amongst others.
The gameplay is very simple. You choose between BlackJack and Poker. Then you are given a choice of how many players that you wanted to play with. You can choose from 1 to 4 players. Then you are asked to see how much money do you want to start the game with. You can set it up as high as 99999$. Basically that is an eternity of play time for this game. :)
When the game starts you have the Blackjack or Poker dealer and he asks for your bet as is the case with these real card games. There is nothing out of the ordinary here. The dealer will make various faces depending on the outcome of the hand. When you lose he looks disgusted. When you win he has a big smile. The one thing that I remember liking was the music during the game. Like Pitfall! on Atari, it has a very catchy theme. I played it recently and it is still an ear worm.
The graphics for this game, is nothing to run home about. As were the games at that time, the game looks cartoonish. However, the graphics do hold up pretty well. I think it does look better than some of the poker games on mobile phones. The animations are stiff, but they had very little to work with back then. It does not take away from the experience. Below is some of the gameplay that I recorded.
Ben Uston Blackjack/Poker - Sample Gameplay
I think that this game holds its own, even today. Yes it is not connected to the internet and you are not using real money, but who cares. The music is great for this kind of game. ColecoVision has been known to be having some issues at the moment, but I think they would be able to make money by releasing these old games on mobile. This would be a perfect game for that. Charge 0.99$ with no in-app purchases and you play as much as you want. The exact same gameplay as back in 1983 when it was first released. The model would be much different from other games out there.
All in all, I think that this game holds up and since I recorded the above footage, I have played it on occasion. It is still fun and even though modern games may have better graphics. The mechanics and the rules of the game have remained the same after all these years.
Rating: 8.5 Blackjacks out of 10
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