Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Game 13: 3-pun Yosou - Umaban Club

I knew this day would come. I just didn't know it would come this soon. In all honesty, I wasn't fully prepared. I should have trained myself, watched some Let's Play videos or something.

Obviously I'm talking about the day I'd have to tackle a Japanese horse-racing game.

In my long years of randomly downloading old games I've found a whole category dedicated to horse racing. It seems to me that there are an inordinate amount of horse racing games from Japan, but nowhere else. I'm not sure why Japan is such a hot area for simulated equine competition, but clearly it is.

If you've never seen one of these before, then you probably have the wrong idea.  They're not action or racing games. No, instead, they're gambling games. You bet some money, your horse wins or loses...yeah that's it. I think some games get into managing various horses/jockeys as well but to be honest, I'm not sure.

And so that's what I'm doing today. I'm gonna bet some fake money on fake horses with fake statistics so I can bet some more fake money on fake horses!

If you can't tell, I'm really not certain why anyone would play a game of this nature. It's not like real horse racing where real money is on the line, nor does it require skill since it's just random numbers. You might as well roll dice to see what horse wins and loses. And then go watch a real horse race.

Hey-o! Witty captions are hard for an illiterate person
I dive headfirst into the game, selecting the first option for everything because I still don't read Japanese. It seems like it's going well, as I get some options to change numbers (am I betting? I don't know) and a bunch of other stuff. And then, the screen goes blank, a little fanfare plays...
 Some numbers appear. And I'm kicked back to the main menu.

Okay, this must be a language barrier thing because a horse racing game should have some freakin' horses. Let's try that again. I'm going to change a bunch of numbers this time, select weird options and hopefully I'll get some real horse racing action!
That's it?! I seriously can't find any way to get anything but numbers and more numbers. All I want to do is take a picture of a bad looking horse race and write derogatory things about it! Why are you taunting me, game? What did I ever do to you?

Unless I'm missing something, this game is essentially a horse racing simulator simulator. It doesn't have any races, it just skips right to the good part: numbers. Which is obviously why people go to races, to fill out their spreadsheets.

I mean, I can see why a specific kind of person would like this. There is certainly an art to gambling on horses purely via statistics and track records, but come on. Where's the suspense, the tension, the drama? I'd think everyone would want that...but I guess I'm wrong.

Either that or I've completely misinterpreted this game! I could just be missing the option for "show me the damned horses guys" which is highly possible. But I'm not going to learn Japanese to find out, so I guess we'll just have to live with the mystery!

Still, I wish I'd had some horses to make fun of with witty, caustic captions. It's just not the same No Batteries when there isn't any acidic commentary.

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