Sunday, 10 April 2016 00:00

21st Century Schizoid Hoyle Card Games, Man.

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Card games are not far stretches of anyone’s imagination.  The majority of the people that know their way around a deck of cards started in childhood, making for all intent and purpose a fairly low learning curve.  Digital adaptation of these rudimentary principles has existed in translation on modern computers for more than three decades.

So how in the hell did Hoyle Card Games get absolutely screwed up?

After more than a decade of specializing in the very genre Hoyle’s brand defined, Encore completely dropped the ball with no hopes of giving a rip.  An arrogant and cocky mentality of “the Encore way or the highway” vs. fans of the series single handedly killed the title that laid their golden egg. 

Good job, Encore.  Part and parceling each fan favorite of the franchise to standalone titles or eliminating key defining functions that make the title legendary has revoked your E3 cart blanche at the poker table.  After mergers, partnerships, and buyouts, it appears you just doesn’t bluff well enough to make the public believe the hype anymore.

There are no excuses.  Fans remember the good old days when Sierra gave a damn about quality before releasing anything to the general public.  Fans also remember the gutting and/or merging of favorite mainstays within the subsequent entries for lackluster replacements after you acquired the franchise in the early 2000s. 

Remember Ethel or Ms. Tardee?  Killed in table action, circa 2002 to public outcry.  After all, Tony the fireman is better eye candy that a crotchety old woman acting like Lucille Ball, right?  Or the fan mods for character designs?  Killed that with lack of updates as well at the very till.

There is little doubt you will listen to fans reeling in resentment for your latest blunder.  The UI upgrades alone have been a failure to communicate since launch throughout Encore history.  Fans will never forgive the hype about the 2009 and 2010 upgrades that created frustrating experiences. 

How dare your development team think miniature cards would be a great way to retool within a 3D environment, when you failed to upgrade the characters in 3D to match the décor.  A small avatar doesn’t work well with that layout, now does it?

After all, if you want the fans to care about stunningly mediocre scenes from a yuppie lifestyle from the POV of a table with chairs, the least you could do is have the characters sitting in them holding perfectly proportioned cards.  A small thing to ask, no?

Let’s call a spade a spade, Encore.  2011’s entry corrected the problems of the UI and reverted back to the old one in 2008’s entry.  And that’s it.  Adding insult to injury and ignoring hardcore fans, Hoyle Card Games was blatantly copied and re-released repetitively every year as new and improved with neither in sight.  Really, what development company copies the same game year after year and sleeps well at night with the deception against its own fan base?

Oh, right.  Encore.  That was all a-e-i-o you.

Ok.  Rhetorical question time.  The past is the past, and an association with Viva Media has stepped up the franchise, right? Slapping Official in the title solidifies this new lease on a deck of cards and not a reflection of bootlegging your own titles, right?  More importantly, the long awaited 21st century UI upgrade is going to outdo the nice one in 2008 instead of looking like a throwback to Windows 98 game menu screens on Angelfire, right? 

Of course not.

What the hell were you thinking Encore?  Not only did you gut the newest entry, you took out the one staple that makes the players want to be bothered in the first place - Hoyle Bucks and Hoyle Catalog!  The earned achievements are the driving force of the ENTIRE FRANCHISE.  You also took away the cool factor of the character design and replaced them with the crackhead models from the Calvin Klein Obsession commercials. 

By the way, that menu that looks like it came from a banking app won’t generate any fresh groupies from your target demographic, either.  Those are just the types of contemporary card dynamics that will have fans giving up a Club Pogo membership and throwing themselves into the debts of the future Hoyle Card Games empire.  Quit getting advisors off Craigslist sometime and employ people that actually know what they are doing outside of data research and market feedback sometime.  Maybe then your card game entries would look less like a stale, stiff tetraplegic epilepsy stroke victim and more like a contender.

Hoyle Card Games is looking so bad these days I’m curiously suspecting that Digital Homicide secretly bought them out from Encore and is now releasing them under a newly created development company called Viva Media.  Once the sole staple in card play has now become a poor excuse for the genre it formerly dominated.  Stockholm Syndrome fans have held out for a decade or more hope that the franchise would return to its roots and deliver anything that remotely looked like any parts of its former self, to no avail.

At the end of the day, the bad outweighs the good, and you’re owed a little bit of mercy for the good years.  So, just do us all a favor and die out and get it over with.  If you walk away quietly, no one will know you’re gone anyway. 

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Gwendolyn L. Spelvin

Gwendolyn L. Spelvin is a philosopher of the Edward Bernays Century of Self, a follower of Sigmund Freud’s explorations of the subconscious mind through chemical means, and an avid enthusiast of Adolph Hitler’s short-lived ballet career before he rose through the ranks of the Third Reich. Spelvin had dedicated her post academic career as an innovative writer that creates a written vision to prove misanthropic tendencies works with an audience, crafting a message that sways public approval towards her client’s products to the guarantee of the masses blindly supporting the company agenda without them knowing it. A dirty job, but someone has to pacify the idiots who know not what they blindly support into a continuing trek of oblivion. Last, but not least, Spelvin is a firm believer in the annihilation of the JUSTIN BELIBERS. Currently she is working on her cookbook, To Serve A Hot Man: Jeffrey Dahmer's Classic Recipes due out this Christmas.