411mania Plays A Little UNO For Charity

August 12, 2009 | Posted by Ramon Aranda

On August 8, 411mania was invited to attend a little UNO card tournament in San Francisco, courtesy of Gameloft. The tournament would benefit a charity of the winner’s choice while the event was also meant to showcase the upcoming UNO games for the PlayStation Network, WiiWare, DSiWare and the iPhone. I’ll get to our preview of the game next week so stay tuned for that.

As for the evening itself, we arrived shortly after 6:30 p.m. to get checked in before mingling with some of the gaming press. Laura (our resident photographer and my own fiancée) and I then had some hors d’oevres to get us ready for the tournament which was set to begin in a matter of minutes. Needless to say we also had to have a pair of drinks before it all began. Laura sat down and observed for a while before heading to a table in need of another player. I sat down at the “Green” table and partnered up with former EGM editor Dan Hsu to take on a pair of IGN’s guys. Each team had to come up with a name for themselves and seeing as how I had just watched Wayne’s World again the other day, I suggested the “Shitty Beatles”. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best name to begin with but whatever. One hand of UNO later and Hsu and I were eliminated…seriously. My set of wild cards blew it. Talk about an “EPIC FAIL”. IGN’s crew already had over 200 points and since we were playing up to 100; to get things moving along, we were done. Back to having drinks!

Two martini’s later and we were informed that Hsu and I were randomly chosen to get a second shot in the next round. Sounds good to us. We took on a different team and this time around, it got pretty competitive. After losing the first round, we took home the next two, only four points away from 100 while the other team lingered on with 52. The next hand must’ve taken at least 10 minutes, but with Hsu holding the specialty cards this time around, we lost. Oh well, back to drinks. Luckily by this time the food was ready to go so Laura and I ripped into the buffet (Laura by the way had lost in the first round too, making us 0-3) while adding a few more drinks. Honestly we weren’t destroyed just yet, just buzzing. After eating we then took time to play the Wii, DSi and PS3 versions of UNO. I’ll save my impressions for the preview but bottom line is that we had a pretty good time with each version. We fiddled around with each one while the remainder of the tournament continued.

The Wii version of the game (and for that matter the PS3 version), plays identical to the XBLA version that’s been out for some time now. On the Wii however, you’ll hear “UNO” being called out of the Wii remote’s speaker which surprised me the first time. It’s nothing groundbreaking mind you but it was kinda cool. You’ll play simply with the remote (no nunchuck necessary) as you’ll point and click on the cards you want to play. Also, there’s full Mii compatibility so your characters will show up on screen. The game also supports online play as well as local multiplayer though the demo wasn’t set up for it so we were unable to find out how that will play out. After all, you’ll need to keep your cards hidden so it should be interesting to see how that turns out.

We also played the DSi version for a little bit which doesn’t require you to use the stylus. It does offer online play as well and what I really liked is that it uses the DSi’s camera to take a picture of your face. Then you can post your ugly mug into the game so that it’ll be used as your avatar. Also the mic is used and as you can imagine, you’ll shout “UNO” into it when the situation comes up. Honestly, the DSi version was probably my favorite and it’ll be great to have some UNO on the go whether player locally or online.

Before it was all said and done, we also received some fake mustaches for shits and giggles. Everyone threw them on their face in some shape or form and mingled for the rest of the evening while also picking up a deck of UNO cards and an accompanying t-shirt.

The winning team by the way took home $1,000 which will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

Below you’ll find a short video recapping the entire night!


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Ramon Aranda
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