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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Gin Rummy

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Card and board games have done well on Xbox Live Arcade, and some have been very solid adaptations of the original. The best part of these digital versions is that your hand is always sorted for you, and you cannot "cheat" because the game knows the rules (this also prevents others from "cheating" who might not be that familiar with said rules.

Gin Rummy is a good effort and another from Sierra Online. The problem lies, I believe, in the fact that many are not pining for a Gin Rummy game on the Live Arcade. I have been trying for two weeks to find human opponents online to play, and have found zero. People are online playing, as I can tell from the official Xbox.com forums, I just have had no luck finding them.

The game has a very clean, minimalist interface and makes Gin quick to play. There are five variations: Classic Gin, Oklahoma Gin, Hollywood Gin, 3-hand Gin, and Speed Gin. You can also customize your rules if you wish. Although Gin Rummy is a much faster playing game, it would have been nice to include Rummy in the package. When I was a kid I played much more Rummy than Gin Rummy with friends and family. While the rules are basically the same, there are some noteworthy differences.

Up to four players can play online, and the Xbox Live Vision camera is supported – though video comes through in a postage stamp sized box. Not sure why.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the game, it offers a lot of Gin Rummy variations, and it has a nice interface. You are always prompted to Confirm your draw or discard, so you don't make a mistake you may regret. You can hit LT or RT to sort your hand, and if you try and Knock with too much "deadwood" the game lets you know (see, no cheating!).

Gin Rummy just doesn't have the appeal of Uno or Ticket to Ride. And lets face it, Xbox Live is getting crowded, it has 16 card/board games as it is right now, and with over 150 titles to date, more is needed than a clean interface even if the mechanics of the game are all present.

In the end it all comes down to your tastes and if you have other friends who would like to play Gin Rummy – because you will get tired playing the CPU over and over again. Gin can be an addicting card game, but unless you have friends to play, this one may be a pass.

Gin Rummy is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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About Ken Edwards