Visit any traditional bingo hall, and you will see a range of players, but the majority will fit the clichéd image that we have come to expect over the years. Most will be female, and while there are some younger players, a good proportion will be above middle aged. Yet in the online world, it is another story. Bingo is gaining in popularity among a far broader demographic of gamers, and the game developers are hurrying to catch up.
Online bingo games
Switch on the television, and you will soon see a good indication of the way the wind is blowing. The TV ad that shows grandmother of entertainment and “bingo queen” Barbara Windsor being pushed aside by a brash and handsome young man who has “bingo in his blood” brings the shift home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Furthermore, players checking out the latest bingo bonus offer here are presented with an array of sites that are clearly aimed at players of all ages and sexes.
Smart TV advertising and developing bingo sites to appeal to new demographics is only part of the story, however. Bingo games are also becoming more widely available on new platforms that have traditionally been the exclusive domain of the young.
In the modern age of online gaming and smartphones, there are some who are surprised that handheld gaming devices still exist. However, they have a loyal following and some are moving faster than others in the race to be a part of bingo’s new found popularity.
It’s no surprise that with the biggest share of the market when it comes to handheld gaming with their DS and 3DS range, Nintendo were set to have the the most notable release on the market for players to choose from. Perhaps the biggest success in the handheld market has been Bingo Collection on the Nintendo 3DS. This game comprises three different bingo-based games: Catch Bingo, Slide Bingo and Touch Bingo:
- Catch bingo: Bingo balls bounce around on the bottom screen, and the objective is to catch them and collect the necessary numbers to complete a line.
- Slide Bingo: This game is based strongly on those slide puzzle games we all remember from childhood. Players manoeuvre numbers across the board by strategically sliding them into the empty space. Line them up correctly to create a bingo line.
- Touch bingo: In this fast and furious version, you touch the numbers on your bingo card as fast as you can to complete your line.
The game has 90 different stages, and will keep you amused for hours.
When it comes to Sony’s own hardware there seems to be no sign of anything at all for the PlayStation Portable. Casino and poker games were well supported on the console, along with almost any other genre but if you were looking for bingo… well you were out of luck.
As we reviewed recently, Funbox Media launched Vegas Party just before Christmas, a race-style game that takes players on a breathless journey along the strip, playing a whole range of traditional casino games along the way. Sadly the game itself turned out to be a major disappointment not just in terms of it’s gameplay and presentation, but in the way it represented each of the casino games it offered to players. Most were severely cut-down simplified versions of their casino counterparts and as for the bingo game offered… again that was watered down and gamers were offered a single player mini game, not too dissimilar to the Catch bingo mode seen in the aforementioned Bingo Collection on the 3DS.
Of course, unlike the online games, there is no opportunity to win real money in a game like this, but even so this had a huge amount of potential to be a great fun diversion for fans of all manner of casino games as well as being a good way to sharpen your skills at a whole range of casino games as well as just bingo. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
Will we ever see more games for the Vita in the future? Being completely honest, it is very much a niché genre when it comes to gaming. That being said, if I were asked a year ago if the Vita were to get a casino game – released as a physical title no less – at the end of 2017 I would have thought that people were talking nonsense but Funbox delivered. 2018 and beyond may still hold some surprises after all…