You May Have Played in the Caribbean in Assassin’s Creed – But Do You Know These Other Games?
Jamaica isn’t just famous for being the home of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, who ran the 100m in 9.58 seconds, or hit reggae artists such as Sean Paul, who has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards. It’s also one of the most beautiful places in the world, with annual tourist arrivals actually surpassing the population of the country. That’s 3.5 million holidaymakers per year – one million more than the number of residents on the tropical island. What you might not know about Jamrock is that it also boasts a rich gaming history, with a number of popular games of varying genres originating from the Caribbean country, along with other titles set in the idyllic holiday haven.
Jamaica and the Caribbean in the Mainstream
Quite possibly the most well-known appearances of Jamaica in video games have come in Assassin’s Creed III released in 2012 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag of 2013. The Ubisoft series is one of the longest-running console franchises in history, and it spans nine major games along with numerous standalone stories such as Freedom Cry in 2014 which came shortly after Black Flag.
Although most of Assassin’s Creed III was set in Colonial America during the American Revolution which spanned the years 1765 to 1783, players were able to travel to the Caribbean in several naval missions. Black Flag featured much more Caribbean action, as Edward Kenway’s adventures took place in the Golden Age of Piracy period during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In the game, players spent time exploring tropical waters on ships and also completing a number of land-based primarily stealth quests in Jamaica and Cuba. Other popular games that have been based in Jamaica include Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game which was released by Disney Interactive Studios in 2011 and was accompanied by an abundance of other products and toys, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, also released by Disney in 2007.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Thanks to films like Rounders (1998) and Casino Royale (2006) the most famous variant of poker nowadays is Texas Hold’em. But there are a multitude of other versions of the game, which are just as enjoyable, if not better. One of those is Caribbean Stud Poker, which is a relatively new iteration of the card game invented in 1982 by a gambling expert named David Sklansky.
It was being played on a cruise ship headed to Aruba, and the proprietor of what is now known as the Excelsior Casino bought the game. Although the home of the variant is the small Dutch Caribbean Island, it is played across the region and in Jamaica as well. The game differs slightly from traditional forms of poker such as Texas Hold’Em and Omaha Hi-Lo in that players play against the house rather than each other, in a similar style to blackjack. This makes it ideal for the booming online casino scene, which raked in over $47 billion in 2017. Online Casino sites like Betway Casino have now evolved so they’re now home to several deviations of poker, including Jacks or Better, Double Double Bonus Poker, and Caribbean Stud Poker in the live casino. It would be cool to see the game incorporated into a future Assassin’s Creed instalment if the developers decide to return to the Caribbean, similar to how Gwent was featured as a side game in multiple award-winning role-playing adventure The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
A Few Lesser-Known Caribbean Games
For people who prefer to invite friends round to play sociable table top games, there is the Jamaica board game from GameWorks which was nominated for the 2009 Golden Ace award. It’s a player-based tactical pirate game which features side goals such as detouring for treasure. To win you must balance your position in the race with success at the side goals. The game only takes between 30 and 60 minutes to play, so it could be a good alternative for people who don’t have much time to longer-running games such as Hasbro’s Monopoly, where the longest game ever lasted 80 days and the longest upside down game lasted 36 hours.
Of course, Jamaica is always well represented in games based on the Olympics, as representatives of the country continue to excel at track and field events. Jamaica also had its best performance to date in the Special Winter Olympics recently which took place in Austria and featured over 2700 athletes, so if any games come out based on that in the near future expect to be playing as some of your favourite Caribbean stars.
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