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Poker Night: Inty vs TI99

Posted: February 26th, 2016, 6:04 pm
by scotland
Challenge Match! Intellivision Las Vegas Blackjack and Poker vs TI99/4a Blackjack and Poker.

These two early 16 bit systems are kinda kissing cousins, so its an interesting comparison. TI even lobbied to have TI chips in the Inty. Intellivision was $300 at launch, much cheaper than the $550 TI99/4a, but TI hit tremendous competition and by 1983 was down to less than $200. Mattel toyed with upgrades like a keyboard and even a cassette, and some of us may have the voice add-on. TI99/4a also had a voice add-on. While the TI is the more capable system, the Intellivision had the still famed "blue sky rangers', who even got a writeup in 1982's TV Guide. If you made TV Guide in the 1980s, you were big time.

Intellivision's Las Vegas Blackjack and Poker has been reviewed by Dave, who gave it an surprising A grade (and readers agree). Its doubly amazing as this is a 1979 pack-in game with the master unit. Wow. The controller and overlays are okay I guess. Its got a little dealer up there, wonderful painted cover art, but not much sound. The big bonus is it can play 5 card stud, 5 card draw, or 7 card stud. Unfortunately, you can only play against one AI opponent, so its either 1 on 1, or 2 players against the dealer...and that brings all the annoying "look away while I peek at my hole cards" thing, and even then its only 3 people. Slim pickin's for poker.

The TI99/4a (which should be Atlantic City Poker or something) only has one option for poker - basic 5 card stud. However, you can play with up to 3 AI opponents, which makes for a more interesting game. Poker is really better with four or more. There is no dealer with a pencil thin mustache, the sounds are like a Pong system trying too hard (really, just mute the thing - the TI can do better), the cover art is dull, but you have a real keyboard, which I like. The graphics are about the same, so call them a pair. One bug I found was going all in and everyone else kept raising until it came back around to me and the game froze. Don't do that.

Verdict: Dealer's Choice on this one.

There is a TI99/4a Draw Poker game, but I don't own it. If I ever do, I will revisit it and see how if it ups the ante.