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Have You Played... Strip Poker II?

Straight flush

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Now, I never owned a copy of Strip Poker II. It came out in 1988, a year during which I spent most of my time being 10, and a little bit 11. But, I did have the demo. It came on a cover disc (no, too easy) with an Atari magazine, probably ST Format, and what I mostly remember is a confusing mix of feelings.

Demos (RIP) were a fine art, needing to offer you just enough of a game to gather your interest, but not nearly enough that you’d feel sated. This was a balance perhaps rather easier to manage when creating a strip poker demo.

Every month I’d ransack the STF cover disc for everything I could find to play, usually resulting in repeatedly finishing a couple of levels of half-arsed Magic Pockets rip-offs, or being bewildered and amazed by what Bullfrog were about to release next. Strip Poker II popping up in the files was, for an 11 year old me, a fascinating prospect.

So of course what it does is let you play the game against a range of the photographed ladies, as they say teasing or titillating remarks, right up to the point where they’re about to show a boobie. But there is never a boobie. Unless you counted the shadowed image through a gossamer bra. And I did. At that point it would suggest you purchase the full game. Which of course, at 11, I never did. But I sort of learned the rules of five-card poker.

I don’t tell you any of this for any great reason. Every straight boy discovered the glimpses of bare ladies somewhere, whether it was in discarded copies of the Sun, the copy of Razzle a friend had found behind a bench, or stumbling upon a French film at 11.30pm on BBC 2. But I’ve never forgotten it, those giant-haired ladies reclining on uncomfortable looking floors, clutching a handful of playing cards and looking oh-so directly into the camera and out at my embarrassed, confused face.

I had no idea what to do with those feelings at 11. I’m still not sure, to be honest. What I do know now, having looked the game up on Mobygames, is that if my dad had bought an Amiga instead of an Atari, the photographs would have been way clearer.

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John Walker

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