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GDC 2011: ‘Pocket Aces,’ The Card Game For Dudes With Jobs

You know I’m not a fan of proof of concept stuff. It’s just no use to you, as the consumer, to be exposed to mechanics that might not make it into the final build of an iOS game (if the game makes it out at all). But in talking with Gale Force Logic this morning at GDC in San Francisco, I got a strong vibe in, at least, the direction of their upcoming game Pocket Aces that I’d like to share.

Gale Force thinks there’s a market out there of older gamers with the cash for games, but not the time required to really dig into them. So, their games will cater to this audience. Pocket Aces, at least for right now, does demonstrate how they will.

Pocket Aces is, basically, a card game with casino hub worlds. The game’s basic narrative supports this hub structure: you’ll play as a detective investigating the death of a New Orleans councilman, and your travels will have you rolling around in a variety of casinos. What triggers progress is the card play. I saw Blackjack in action and poker will be included, too.

But how does it cater to this audience of dudes with limited time? Getting into card games is super snappy — while purposeful or not, Gale Force didn’t incorporate any elaborate dealing animations into the game and there’s no UI to speak of; click, deal, hit or stay, and get your card. If you’ve played other games with card games bolted on to them, like, say, Red Dead Redemption, you know how dragged down the card action can get when developers pile on supplemental animations and nonsense elements.

Pocket Aces, as a whole, is a little like Epic Citadel [Free] (it uses the UDK, actually). It’s first-person and you’ll rove around environments in full 3D with the same basic movement mechanics. The effects I saw were rough and the same for the visuals, so this is definitely a wait-and-see kind of project.