Part 56: Side Notes #11: Rambling, Gaming Dude!Side Notes 11: Rambling, Gaming Dude!
Since the start of the series, we have been able to pop many a coin into slot machines and hope for the big jackpot. Being able to do so at the age of 11 is a bit strange for us in the West and was probably one of the criticisms towards the games along with how they're the spawn of Satan and whatnot. So how does it compare to Japan? Well, you've probably heard of a number of Japanese gaming companies stop their development of video games to focus on the ACTUAL money maker: arcade versions of their IP. The most recent and well known example being Konami. They make a mint from that kind of shit. Well, not indirectly, gambling for money is illegal in Japan, so you play for tokens, which you can then transfer to cash, or vice versa. So, that's why we have coins in-game, which can be obtained through spending money and then converted into prizes.
The most widespread arcade machines in Japan are pachinko. You've probably heard of these, you fire a number of balls into a machine, similar to pinball, but with no flippers and try and get those balls to land in certain locations, to start events that cause other balls to fall. The closest thing, in England at least, is a machine you slot coins into, which fall onto a surface containing many other coins and, if you're lucky, push those out, or other such goodies. But we don't play pachinko in Pokemon, we play something that was probably a lot easier to program: slot machines. They do have those in Japan, though only fairly recently and called pachisuro, a combination of pachinko and slot machine.
The ones in game follow similar rules to how they're set in Japan: 3 coin maximum bet, 15 coin maximum payout (any higher and it comes in sets of 15) and can slip up 0.19 seconds (four symbols) to either match up, or avoid a match if you've been winning too frequently. They start following Japanese laws much more closely in Gen 4 and really do pay out 15 at a time. And some machines have better odds then others, most will just gain money for the owner, but some will pay out, creating a gambler's fallacy that they could all potentially pay.
So why weren't Game Corners in the Gen 5 and on games and what was with Voltorb Flip? Well, I will put up my hand and apologize for the dumb European laws. In Europe, games are rated via PEGI (Pan Europearn Game Information), on an age scale, from 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. Now since Pokemon always achieves the 3 rating, playable by everybody, it mustn't contain much more than cartoon violence, or have subtle stuff fly over the dumb examiners' heads. And around the time of Platinum's release, PEGI changed their gambling guidelines, which meant the game no longer complied with those rules. So they had to just gut the feature completely and made it so you had to buy coins as the only method. And since this was during the development of HGSS, the Game Corner in those games were fully fledged. But, since it would comply with Japan laws regardless, Game Freak changed it up for international versions to create Voltorb Flip, just in case legislation in America changed also.
It seemed to be fairly last minute, since the maps and events for the slot machine Game Corner are still in the international version, you just can't access them. And trying to play a slot machine just brings you to Voltorb Flip. But you can buy coins, by a translated clerk no less, so it's likely that they were told it would not meet regulation and had to change it. It does mean we missed out on a cool Smeargle game, where it would change the wall colour based on its mood, causing certain effects on the reels. But from then on, to make it fair on all regions, the Game Corner hasn't appeared since. And probably never will.
So let's talk about the slots in this game. They're actually very simple. In order to shake things up for later games, the slots have different gimmicks, but in the first generation, you put in three coins and try and get the jackpot, nothing else to it. But they kept changing symbols every game, just to make it more unique.
There's really not much else, just have good timing I suppose and try different machines for different odds. So, let's move on to the prizes.
It's definitely a selection. Japanese Blue has their own selection, of course, including Horsea and Dragonair. Fancy. For whatever reason, Green and English Blue get everything much cheaper, including Porygon. It's crazy how much less they need to press A over and over again to get 50 coins. However, their prizes are a lot lower level then other games. And you can save on a Moon Stone by getting the Clefable, or Wigglytuff. Or get a Clefairy to save trying to find one. And it's nice you can always get an Abra, since there aren't that many options for that line. But to get coins like that, you need quite a bit of money. And since we've been spending all our money on Pokeballs, we don't have much spare, so it'll be a while before you can take advantage of it, unless you win big.
And of course, there's a hideout beneath it, we'll invade it on Monday.