Bingo is an age-old game that, like many other traditional pastimes, is being given a new lease of life via modern technology.
Some older games fit easily with the new, ‘on-the-go’ world of gaming. Classic word games, where turns can be taken over longer periods of time, have been a staple of mobile devices for many years now. Other games of chance, such as card games, also lend themselves well to video games and appear both as standalone titles as well as mini-games in major hits such as Grand Theft Auto V.
What is Bingo Gaming?
Bingo is a little different; the rather slow pace of the game does not lend itself well to the quick minigame format for bigger titles, nor does it have enough scope as a standalone single-player event. Instead, it is very much multiplayer, but it is growing in popularity fast thanks to several apps and providers.
Since restrictions have been placed upon our normal lives, bingo has also offered people some respite from the isolation. HITC discusses how video conferencing platforms such as Zoom have helped people come together to play free online bingo as a family. Celebrities have got in on the act too, holding bingo sessions worldwide, with British royalty even getting involved.
How to play Bingo?
So how does one play bingo? It is relatively straightforward for those who do not know. You are given a card, usually nine squares by three, with 15 numbers dotted randomly on the card. How high those numbers go depends on which version you are playing. In Cheeky Bingo’s glossary of bingo terms, they explain how 75-ball is the most popular version in North America. In Europe, the 90-ball version is more prevalent, but both have 15 numbers for you to mark off. There are other versions of the game to be found as well, with 30-ball also played in some areas for a much quicker turnaround, but it is nowhere near as popular.
Balls numbered one to 90, or one to 75, are then placed in a bag, or machine at the head of the room, and a person called a caller draws them randomly, reading each out in turn to the waiting room. If one of your numbers is called, you mark it from your card. Callers often try to dress up the numbers with descriptions, for instance, number one is known as ‘Kelly’s Eye’. That possibly comes from the design of Ned Kelly’s helmet, which Culture Victoria demonstrates resembles a number one. Other popular calls are ‘Tom Mix’ for number six, and ‘Legs’ for eleven. Of course, online offerings and apps tend not to have this fanciful quirk, rather using a random number generator to produce the outcome.
Usually, a game is played until someone completes a line of five numbers, although some versions will continue after the first line and then wait for someone to complete the whole card. This is called a ‘house’ and is usually celebrated wildly, as it means a big prize for the player. Once the big prize is won, the game starts all over again. In some versions, there are numbers in all four corners of the card, and players will win a prize for filling those four in. The parameters of the game are defined beforehand, for clarity.
Conclusion: Online bingo has become popular in recent years, with providers offering players the chance to play at home, but for real prizes. As technology increases, the quality of apps and social elements of the game also improves, which means more mobile players are finding a route into bingo. It is still very much a game enjoyed in brick and mortar buildings, but thanks to Zoom and the recent situation around the world, your mobile device is becoming just as viable a route into the world of bingo.