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CONSOLE: Super Famicom DEVELOPER: Tomy Corporation PUBLISHER: Tomy Corporation
RELEASE DATE (JP): November 12, 1993 GENRE: Card Game
// review by Jeff

Uno whether this game is fun or not.

Imagine the following: it's a rainy Saturday afternoon. You're just sitting around the couch with a few friends, chilling, hoping something exciting will happen, like the sun emerging or cattle dropping from the ceiling. Your cat has grown tired of being dressed up in frilly outfits for your amusement and has opted to lick itself in the corner instead. Suddenly, a thought magically dawns upon you! What do really bored people do when they're really bored? Play card games, of course! A mad dash to the middle drawer of the credenza reveals a deck of Uno cards, one slightly torn, a few more folded from overuse and old age. A game of Uno will surely lift the spirits of your ennui-inflicted bronies, right?

But... wait... what's that hiding underneath the moldy cribbage board? ...It's... a copy of Super Uno for the Super Famicom! How did THAT get there? You don't remember ever owning it, buying it, shopping for it, or even ever seeing it in your lifetime! What's even more bizarre: you never owned a Super Famicom! ...wait, what's this hidden underneath the much LARGER moldy cribbage board? A Super Famicom?!?! This is madness! Well, instead of standing around questioning the random appearance of Japanese electronic merchandise, why not just hook it all up and bask in this supernatural miracle?

Super Uno is — and this may come as a shock to more than a few readers — the game of Uno for the Super Famicom. It's hard to fathom why anyone would buy a card game for a console, especially considering the cartridge would be more expensive than a deck of Uno cards. (According to Amazon Japan as of this date in March 2017, a copy of Super Uno will run you ¥2,480 — almost 22 dollars in U.S. funds — whereas a deck of regular Uno cards will run you a mere ¥759, or about $6.74 USD. That's a significant difference.)

As you can imagine, this being a Japan-exclusive release, everything's in Japanese, making navigating menus a bit of a challenge. In fact, without knowledge of the language, you'll need a little savvy to even get going. There are a few different modes of play, though they all have one thing in common: they're all UNO. You can play alone with up to 5 opponents, or you can have a friend join in and duke it out in a quadrachroma battle royale! Select your mode of play while a strange young lad in a blue tuxedo repeatedly extends his arm to give you a prostate exam and says "Let's UNO!"

Super Uno also provides you with a number of colourful personalities to embody as your official player avatar. Want to be a chef? An airline stewardess? A smoker with slick shades? Anything is possible with Super Uno! Each character even has a tiny profile, complete with name and age, so ageism can definitely play into your choice if you're just that horrible. The avatars during play change their facial expressions as the situation warrants, so you can tell when someone is pleased with their progress and when they want to tear your skull out through your forehead.


What a colourful game.

If you've played Uno in the past, you know exactly what to expect — this is a no-frills adaptation of the card game. Each person is dealt seven cards, and then they are required, when their turn comes, to either lay down one of their cards if it is the same colour or number as that on the discard pile. Players can also lay down a Wild card and change the pile to a colour of their choosing, or they can plop down a Draw card, forcing the next player to pick up a certain number of extra cards into their hand. If a player has nothing to put down, they pick up from the main deck. Whoever discards their entire hand first wins the round, and they earn themselves the points.

Oh, and why is the game called "Uno", you ask? Before you lay down your second-to-last card, you have to call "Uno!", which is basically the same as "Last Card!" Failure to do so will get you called out by another player, and you have to pick up extra cards. I had forgotten about this rule when taking up my first few games of Super Uno, and, not having the ability to read Japanese text, couldn't figure out how to do so, thus losing every single round I played. It's the first option of a submenu you can pull up during play, in case you need to know that.

Visually, it's pretty much what you'd expect out of this game. Super Uno was built for functionality rather than glamour. The focus is on the gameplay, so don't expect much beyond a bunch of cards with numbers on them, alongside those wacky character portraits giving you the stink eye for making them draw 4 cards. And the music... wait, there was music?

Ultimately, playing Super Uno comes down to two factors: is it worth slogging through text you don't understand just to play a game digitally, and is it more efficient to play Uno with a Super Famicom as opposed to a deck of cards in front of you?

Thus, on that rainy day, the cartridge of Super Uno, alongside its console counterpart, were returned to the mystical drawer from whence they appeared, and the two have not been touched since. And you, alongside your friends, continued to stare gloomily out the window at every passing raindrop as the music of generic electro-pop-rock bursts unwillingly from the subwoofers behind the sofa. Maybe we could just go out anyhow and take umbrellas, you think longingly, as it IS only water...


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