Sunday, July 15, 2018

If you own a 3DS, you need to buy and play Pocket Card Jockey right now

And if you don't own a 3DS, you need to get one as soon as possible and then use it to play Pocket Card Jockey.

I know everyone's moved on to the Switch. So have I, for the most part. I also know this game hit the North American, European, and Australian 3DS eShop eons ago--in May 2016, to be exact. (It hit the Japanese 3DS eShop all the way back in July 2013.)

Given all of the above, I understand why Pocket Card Jockey isn't exactly trending on Twitter right now. The thing is, I doubt Pocket Card Jockey ever trended on Twitter, or lit up the sales charts--even when it first came out and garnered a good amount of praise.

So why am I writing about it now, more than two years after it made a splash (or maybe I should say plop, given the lack of hype surrounding its launch)? And why am I using yet another blog post to push people to give the game a try? Because I started playing it again last weekend while visiting my husband's family in Ohio and it reminded me of Pocket Card Jockey's brilliance.

I'd intended to play something else (Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, for the curious), but when I finally opened my trusty "flame red" 3DS I returned to my long-ignored Pocket Card Jockey save file instead.

At first, I stuck with the game's "training" mode, which basically allows you to play quick rounds of golf solitaire. Within a few hours, though, I cautiously moved over to the main mode. I didn't fare too well early on, to be honest, but a quick look at the "How to Succeed in Pocket Card Jockey Without Really Trying" guide I published a couple of years ago turned things around pretty quickly.

I'm currently 20 hours into my latest obsessive stint with Pocket Card Jockey. The first such stint began in 2013 immediately after the Japanese version's release and lasted for more than 60 hours. The second started in 2016 following the North American version's release and lasted an additional 60-plus hours.

In other words, I've now devoted somewhere north of 140 hours to this $6.99 game over the course of five years.

What's the pull for me? The main attraction (or maybe I should say mane attraction?) is that it's a whole lot of fun. For some reason, I find the combination of solitaire, horse racing, adorable graphics, a top-tier soundtrack, and surprisingly intriguing--and at times shockingly dark--interactions with the game's curious cast of characters to be a winning one.

And then, of course, there's the fact that this Game Freak-developed title is beyond addictive. You know how it's impossible to walk away from Tetris until you've completed about 100 levels? Well, Pocket Card Jockey is imbued with a similar quality. But instead of telling yourself, "just one more round," you're more likely to mutter, "just one more horse"--as it's entirely possible to take a steed from colt or filly to retirement in an hour or so.

Still not convinced to give this hidden gem a try? Maybe my Pocket Card Jockey review will do the trick. Or the fact that I declared it to be my favorite game of 2016 might sway you.

Whatever you need to do to convince yourself to buy Pocket Card Jockey, do it. And do it now. You never know when Nintendo's going to pull the plug on the 3DS eShop, and believe me when I say you don't want to go through life without experiencing this delightfully odd game.