Hoyle’s Official Book of Games: Volume 1

Developer: Sierra
Year: 1989
Genre: Card Games
Platform: DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Mac

Rating: 6

Sierra’s foray into casual games was hit and miss, but the first book of games was a solid effort. This was the first time I played cards on the computer and this got a lot of playtime when I was a kid. Thought there’s little reason outside novelty to play it today.

Six games are included: Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Hearts, Gin Rummy, Cribbage, and Klondike. I was nine years old when we got this and I was already bored by Old Maid, but I love Gin Rummy and Cribbage. Every offering here is solidly implemented and user-friendly. What makes this stand out from other computer card games is that there are 18 opponents to choose from of various difficulty and personality. Some of the players are characters from Sierra Games (e.g. Sonny Bonds, King Graham, Larry Laffer, etc.), some are designers at Sierra, and there’s a dog! These characters will banter with you or each other while playing, though this was not as entertaining as it could have been.

Rosella’s a bad-ass. No way she’s not-so serious.

Sierra also missed an opportunity to actually have an adventure mode of some kind. It could have been simple, with a parlor and perhaps a tournament the player can enter. It certainly could have given it more staying power. As it stands, every game you play is a one-off.

The difficulty levels could also have been more fine-tuned. The poor players often make randomly terrible moves. And the great players often seem to get help in the form of lucky deals.

My grandma got her first computer in her late 70s, and pretty much the only thing she did on it was use the word processor and play this game. One time I was at her place and she asked me why her computer was so slow. She had about 30 instances of this game open at once.

Fifteen two, fifteen four, and a pair be six!

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