A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is based on the television game show of the same name, and that it features a group of 26 ample-bosomed, big-headed models wearing low cut cocktail dresses. Play amounts to gambling, more or less, as players decide whether to take a certain amount of virtual money offered by a faceless banker or risk going for more by selecting random briefcases. There is no bad language or violence.
What's it about?
DEAL OR NO DEAL is an interactive version of the hit TV game show. Guided by virtual comedian Howie Mandel, players use their Wii remotes to select one briefcase randomly from a group of 26, each of which contains a cash value between one penny and one-million dollars. They then proceed to slowly reveal the contents of the cases they didn't pick, stopping occasionally to receive a cash offer from a faceless banker who calculates the odds that the briefcase the player picked contains the million dollars.
The game's makers have added a few optional variations that increase the player's chances of winning and allow several players to compete simultaneously. They've also thrown in a few simple mini-games that have almost nothing to do with the show, such as blackjack game and a challenge that involves pointing the remote at the screen and shooting flying briefcases.
Is it any good?
Though a spot-on digital facsimile of what we see on television, Deal or No Deal is an extraordinarily vacuous video game, probably because there is no real money involved. Play follows the same pattern as the TV show. There's no strategy involved other than calculating simple odds, and with no real money is at risk, you have nothing to lose by eliminating cases until you get to the final two, then choosing which one you want to keep. This makes the action about as compelling as a coin toss. Consequently, even a single, five-minute game feels like a tremendous waste of time.
The developers seem to have understood that the premise they'd been given for their game was flimsy at best, hence the reason why they added a few variables, such as a mode that features additional million-dollar cases thrown into the mix, as well as three extremely simple and completely unrelated mini-games, which, unfortunately, hardly even qualify as distractions. Asking $30 for a game like this, seems off when it has the longevity of a free promotional game for your phone, at best.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of gambling. What are the hallmarks of gambling? Is it gambling if no real money is used? Is it gambling if the game involves none of your own money? Can you be skilled at Deal or No Deal, or does the outcome depend entirely on chance? You can also discuss why none of the briefcase models are men and the manner in which host Howie Mandel interacts with these virtual women.
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