So this morning, I'm driving to work. (I prefer biking, but I was running way too late for that.) And I'm listening to NPR. And I hear the following:
"On March 15, two thousand and fifty years ago, Julius Caesar breathed his last. The news, coming up next!"
But that's not what I'm here to talk about today. I'm here to talk about gambling and wonder what exactly the hell the draw is.
I mean, okay, my coworkers get together a pool and buy a bunch of tickets when the lottery pot gets big enough. I don't participate, and refer to the lottery as "a tax on people who can't do math". They respond that somebody has to win, and you can't win if you don't play. (Which isn't strictly true. My department consists of two people, and if my supervisor wins the lottery, that means I'm the new head of the department.)
But mainly, what brought this sentiment on is my recent experience with Dragon Quest 8. Yesterday I finally got enough money together to get all the best items at the casino.
Which sounds good until you realize I'd been working at that since Sunday the goddamn 5th.
That's over a week where all I did in the game was fucking play the casino. To be fair, I probably average under two hours gaming per day, and played a bit of Sonic CD and Sonic 3 here and there when I got too annoyed with DQ8 to keep playing, but that's still hours and hours at the fucking casino. And it's like pulling teeth.
I guess it's not as bad as it was way back in 2 when the lottery game debuted (and obviously somebody must like these goddamn casino games, because they're still including them 17 years later), but it was a whole lot worse than 7 -- which was still pretty bad (and, unlike 8, had an item which you needed to get to complete the game; 8 just has generally sweet but not absolutely necessary equipment), but had more games and higher-yield slots.
And speaking of slots, that wound up being the game I went with in DQ8. I played a good deal of roulette on the supposition that you're more likely to win there, but it got to be too labor-intensive -- since you have to stack your chips at the beginning of each spin, and since I was stacking a total of 8000 chips all over the board (every single combination including 14, as that also covers every single square on the board except 0, meaning when I lose I usually pick up 1000 for the square I'm sitting on, so I only lose 7000 tokens instead of the full 8000), well, I basically had to sit there and play the game. Whereas slots you can just hit the up button over and over. Don't have to pay any attention whatever. So I could go do something else. Feed my fish, surf the net. Since I have a wireless controller, I could've even done it from another room. Point being, I'd prefer to be doing anything else but sit there and watch what I was doing.
So what's the draw of real casinos? I'm going to admit I've yet to take a trip to Vegas, but it sure seems like gambling isn't how I'd want to pass my time there anyway. I guess you get the excitement of losing real money over the crushing boredom of knowing you're inevitably going to win if you just keep playing because you can always just restore from your last save, but that doesn't seem like a huge advantage. I mean, if you're any good at math at all you have to realize the deck's stacked against you.
A lot of friends have told me the way to go is to play nickel slots and drink free cocktails. Which I guess I can get behind. But for a lot cheaper than a trip to Vegas, I can buy a six-pack and curse at the casino in Dragon Quest 8.
Or, better yet, finally fucking get back to playing Dragon Quest 8. That game's pretty cool when it's not making you play other games which aren't best played on a TV in the first damn place.