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Win, Lose or Draw (NES) artwork

Win, Lose or Draw (NES) review

"There isn't any point to having this on NES, or any system for that matter. Much of what you can do in the game can be done much more efficiently and with better results in real life. It's like making a video game out of Tic-Tac-Toe or Rock-Paper-Scissors."

I used to think Solitaire on PC was the most pointless game ever, but I was wrong. Win, Lose or Draw (WLD) owns that title now. Then again, turning any game that can be played with limited supplies into a video game is pretty pointless, especially since the video game version actually slows the process down. Think about it, what all do you need to play WLD at home? White paper, a writing utensil, and a watch or egg timer. Those things all together are cheaper than buying WLD on NES would have been at the time of release. Cheaper, and about ninety times more efficient.

You can play single player or multiplayer while the game draws a picture. Whoever has the control then has a short amount of time to guess what the picture is by moving a cursor around and selecting the different letters. If they fail to guess what the picture is, the opposing team gets a chance to chime in. Succeed and they get points based not only on a right answer, but also on the time it took to guess it. This is kind of unfair since not all answers are the same length. Consider the words FLY and AIRPLANE. One of them will have you hunting letters for an eternity while the other is just a few button presses and you're off.

You can draw pictures yourself as well. Doing so is a pain because the controls are stiff, and it takes much longer than, say, doing it on plain paper. The stiff controls make it difficult to articulate the cursor and draw a picture that's detailed enough for someone to answer in a timely manner. While you're struggling with that cursor, the time is also running down. You can't seem to get enough of it done quickly. Really, it's just not the same drawing on the game as it is on paper. It doesn't feel as fun, and if anything it feels frustrating. Party games aren't supposed to feel frustrating.

One of the fun parts about playing WLD the traditional way is having everyone shout out the answer while someone else ineptly draws something. You don't get that in the video game version. The game can draw stuff for you, which is handy, but it's more fun to see how someone else would have drawn it. Worse yet, instead of yelling answers you have to wait for someone to slowly input them in the game. If members of your group have lots of answers, then it becomes a strain on your patience trying to get them in, especially since you can only slowly input one answer at a time. The game becomes less riled, more tame, and much more boring. That was what made WLD so fun was being able to shotgun your answers, and having to slowly hunt down the letters and enter them in kills that.

Playing by yourself is an even bigger downer. There's no real challenge except trying to guess what the computer is so slowly drawing. Seriously, you can go make tea and a sandwich in the time it takes the computer to auto-draw some of the pictures. Even then, guessing them isn't much of a challenge. Easy mode has some real no-brainers. It's loaded with single word clues like LEAF or HAPPY or BUG. You would only miss those if you were really young or brain dead. Higher difficulties become a bit harder since they use more complex clues. Instead of regular items, they give you a category like “popular expressions” or “movies”. One clue I got was “egg on your face,” and the game did a horrible job drawing this. I couldn't tell it was an egg that it had drawn, because I haven't seen very many eggs shaped like guitar picks. True that I said seeing someone's inept drawing is part of the fun, but it's not as fun when the game does it because the game can't add to the picture to clarify it. It has no personality, and its unintelligible drawings are more of a point of frustration. You're stuck with the horrid picture you get.

The graphics are an eyesore, depicting one or two teams sitting on couches around a sheet of paper. Basically, it depicts what's already in your living room. Let's not forget that they're very poorly crafted animations. The character designs look so laughable and simplistic, like they were drawn by a four year old. When you guess answers right, they start.... doing things. Strange, awkward things. They get up and start dancing around, except one person stands directly in front of the other, and what they're doing doesn't look like dancing. They also yell out strange things like “hairy.” Hairy what? Wait, given that rather awkward dance they do, I really don't want to know.

There isn't any point to having this on NES, or any system for that matter. Much of what you can do in the game can be done much more efficiently and with better results in real life. It's like making a video game out of Tic-Tac-Toe or Rock-Paper-Scissors. The only thing different is that you have the computer to draw for you and poorly designed graphical interface. If you're going to play WLD, then play the parlor version of the game. It's faster, it's much more fun, and you don't have to listen to that painful soundtrack.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (November 12, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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qxz posted November 13, 2010:

Quite a hairily* written review.

I wonder if you have Anticipation and Pictionary -- two games somewhat similar to Win, Lose, or Draw -- in your review and/or ratings cache.

*Synonymous with "nicely", according to this review.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted November 13, 2010:

Ha! Thank you. I haven't played either of those, but I will keep them in mind. I have played Classic Concentration, and I don't remember liking it so well.
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zippdementia posted November 13, 2010:

Was Anticipation the one with the shoe and the ice cream cone pieces? I think there was also a trumpet and... can't remember the last one.

That game was hilarious. To this day I still don't know what some of those pictures were. It took me a long time to recognize the thing drawing the pictures as a pencil.

Played that game a lot. Each one of my aunts bought me a copy. I took most of them back. Got Deja Vu out of one of the trades. Loved that game as a kid.
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qxz posted November 13, 2010:

Zipp, I think the last one was a teddy bear. I can always remember believing that the shoes were actually an elephant.
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zippdementia posted November 13, 2010:

Yes, teddy bear, you're right. I miss that game. So funny. Such a good drinking game.

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