Unnamed Pyramid Game: History
Online gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry. A great deal of that money
is spent on solitary activities such as sports betting or slot machines, but
the most entertaining games tend to be the ones that let you compete directly
against many other players. Online poker is the most common such game, often with
variations like tournaments, where hundreds of people are gradually eliminated
until only one remains.
Ongame e-solutions, which provides the
software for PokerRoom and its aggregates,
is constantly working on expanding into related areas -- well-known games with
a long tradition of being played with real money and that can be ported to the
Internet. The suggestion was made to come up with a game for a wider audience,
i.e. people with very little experience of gambling. The game would need to
be so simple that it didn't have a learning curve, yet challenging, rewarding
and interesting enough to keep people playing.
A massively multi-player
"rock-scissors-paper" tournament seemed like a good idea. The basics of the game
were simple enough, and if the entry fees of hundreds of people would go to a
single winner, that would take care of the rewarding bit. As for challenging, well ...
the jury is still out on whether this is a game of skill or just chance.
I went to work on the final requirement: making it interesting, while not
letting go of the simplicity. My first attempts at graphically representing
the tournament were rather clinical and frankly boring, like this one: