Russian Roulette (Android Game)

Russian Roulette support page.


Get it on Google Play

Design Notes:

More than 25 years ago, my family got a TRS-80 Color Computer 2.

It came with a book, entitled “Getting Started with Extended Color BASIC”.

I read the book.

That’s why I’m here today.

One of the early examples in the book was a “game” called Russian Roulette.

This was mainly to explain the use of the RND function, and also showcased the INPUT, PRINT, IF/THEN, and GOTO statements.

And it was a crappy little game.

Now I’ve written a version for the android.

And its crapulence is no less than it was back then.

Why bother then?

Some people in my age group buy sportscars.

I rewrite crappy BASIC games.

My hobby is less expensive.

The android version is a more complete game than that original BASIC version.

For one thing, it has the usual main menu, statistics, about screen, instructions, and it actually records how many times you “survive” as a type of score.  The old BASIC version just had you live or die.

Analysis:

The one thing that this game has that GMN and RSP do not have is the addition of meaningful choice.

In GMN, you do have choice, but unless following the perfect strategy, you may as well be guessing at random, and while you do stand a chance of shortening your game significantly, you have a greater chance of making it longer.

In RSP, you have a choice as well, but your choice is being compared to a randomly generated number, so you really are just guessing blindly.

In either case, it is more interesting to watch a computer play the game than to play it yourself.  And by “more interesting” I really mean “equally uninteresting”.

In RR, the “meaningful” choice is whether or not to continue playing, and a differentiation between a score where you live afterwards or a score where you died.

Each round, you actually have a pretty good chance of surviving: 83%.  However, over the course of less than 4 rounds (~3.8) the chance of survival drops to 50%.  The player has, shall we say, a “half life” of 3.8 rounds. This is not to say that a really high score is impossible, because each round is equal and does not care about previous rounds.

This is the meaningfulness of the choice: do I press my luck?

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