Critical Play: Games of Chance

For this week’s critical play I used the online casino game engine, Virtual Slots Tour, which links to the 7 Seas Casino that has a bunch of popular casino games as well as several variations of the same games.

Game: 7 Seas Casino

Developer: FlowPlay Inc.

Year of release: 2021

Age restriction: 18+

Synopsis: The 7 Seas Casino is a free, online immersive gaming platform that is centered around community. Players across the world can join in virtually, tour the world and vacation on a cruise ship, as they explore the ship deck, purchase items, interact with other players and play various casino games (about 30 games are currently available on the platform).

The casino homepage on the deck of the ship


I chose to play their classic poker game, which had a basic walkthrough tutorial that explained the different possible interactions. On starting, I received $123,500 in virtual coins to enter the game, and more were available to purchase through the game store. The design of the game very intentionally mimicked the setting of a casino, with some flashing visuals and slot machine sounds that were playing in the background. All of this added to the immersive nature of the game. The were avatars of other players on the side, which also added to the community feel of the game. The game heavily motivated me to place higher bets and to increase the size of my bet multiplier. At first I was skeptical and would play safe, and as a result I won consistently and this pushed me to increase the bet size and multiplier. After winning two rounds, I conveniently lose when I had placed my largest bet and multiplier combo ($100,000 bet with a x5 multiplier for a total of $500,000). This dropped my coins to below 50k, and was super demotivating. Right after that, I won a huge hand as well and went back above the 100k mark. This felt very heavily siimulated, as I was incentivized to make a large bet, and having won all prior game it made sense. Afterwards I lost a huge sum of money and even though I regained some, I still lost most of my winnings. This cyclic nature of building up my winnings, suffering a loss and building up more winnings creates an addictive pattern, where I felt like if I just kept trying I could luck out and score even higher than the previous rounds. The game also displays a lot of boards with large possible winning amounts which create a sense of greed, and tempted me to keep playing.


All of these tied in heavily with some characteristics of Electronic Gambling Machines from the assigned reading. We see the use of tactics such as psychological manipulation, reinforcement and rewards, uncertainty and chance as well as the unpredictability and excitement all working towards pushing a player to keep playing. The pseudo-random aspect of the game convinces a player that if they just try again, or build up their skill through playing more games and getting more experienced, then their chance of winning will increase, while in reality the game is heavily, if not completely influenced by an algorithm that determine what cards you get, regardless of any other factors. One other thing is the ability to purchase coins through the virtual store. As much as I didn’t lose all of my money, the game doesn’t really offer a way to get more coins if you do. The general idea is to either switch to a different casino game, keep trying your luck at the same game or use real money to purchase coins to keep playing. Given the addictive nature of the game, I see how it can be easy for a player to lose all their money and opt to pay a small fee in exchange for a large number of virtual coins.

screenshot of one of my earlier games, where I had been winning for a while and chose to increase the bet multiplier. Winning this game was a key factor in pushing me to make larger bets.

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