These Centuries Old Games Have Been Given A Modern 21st Century Twist
By TOI Staff April 12, 2023 Update on : April 12, 2023
Over the past decade or so, the world has been left with no choice but to begrudgingly acknowledge that games are works of art. They are just as worthy as any movie, song or even painting. If we feel really brave, we could even argue they are more worthy, as they incorporate aspects of all these other art forms. It’s certainly an attitude that is being embraced in Australia, where the Arts Council has just reinstated the Games Fund for Screen Australia, having pulled funding on it a decade ago.
If there is one thing that artists know, it is that when you mess with the classics you are taking a huge, huge risk. Movies are the best examples. Sure, some remakes work when the original is unappreciated. Nobody broke a sweat comparing Ocean’s Eleven with the 1960 original because hardly anyone remembered it. The remake was an instant blockbuster. Compare that with the remake of Arthur or The Italian Job or Psycho or Carrie and it’s a more painful story.
Messing with an established game, one that has been around not for decades but for centuries is just as risky. However, plenty of brave souls have put their brands and their reputations on the line doing just that. Here are a couple who have lived to savor their decision.
Blackjack switch is getting hot in online casinos
Blackjack is consistently voted the most popular casino game of them all. Even in Australia, where pokies are the casino “art form” of choice, blackjack comes a close second and you will see several tables, both electronic and live, at all the casino sites listed on gambleonlineaustralia.com. The thing about blackjack is it checks all the boxes. Most people learned how to play when they were kids and if not, anyone can learn in five minutes flat. Strategically, there is an element of decision-making involved, so people feel their skill is rewarded – but the basic strategy is simple to learn, it is nowhere near as nuanced as poker.
On top of that, there is all the history and tradition associated with the game. It is based on vingt et un, which was being played in the gaming rooms at Versailles in the 1700s, back when they thought the French Revolution was some new kind of dance.
Developers have experimented with new variations of blackjack over the years, and most of them have crashed and burned. However, blackjack switch is one new blackjack game that is trending strongly in Australian online casinos right now and is also becoming popular in other parts of the world. The game is played out in the same way as regular blackjack, but with the following differences:
- The player is dealt two hands instead of one
- The player can elect to switch cards from one hand to another
- Blackjack only pays out at even money, not 3-2
- The dealer busts on 23 instead of 22
- If the dealer has 22, the game is a push and all stakes are returned
The ability to switch obviously puts the player at quite an advantage, so the other changes are designed to keep things fair and maintain the house edge at around the same percentage as standard blackjack.
Chess 960 moves the battlelines
We said it was brave to mess with blackjack. However, there is precedent. After all, it is the nature of card games to evolve over time, just as blackjack evolved from vingt et un. Chess, however, has been around for 500 years or more. Surely it would be mad to try to convince anyone to play a revised version of the game.
Having said that, the chess community has always embraced innovation. It was the first game that those of us who were around in the 1970s saw regularly played on a computer, and before long, it was being played by computers – computers who are now far better than any human.
As far as the game itself goes, some players get frustrated that so much hinges on opening theory, and that once you reach a certain level, the opening moves are almost set in stone. Chess 960 changes all that by shuffling the position of the pieces on the back rack. It was developed by chess great Bobby Fischer and is sometimes called Fischer Random Chess. There are plenty of free versions online, so why not give it a go – it definitely serves to open up the game.