Deal or No Deal Review
Deal or No Deal box art
System: Wii, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Zoo Digital 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Destination Software 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 13, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Game shows could arguably be considered one of the precursors to the modern day phenomenon (or atrocity, depending on your viewpoint) known as reality TV. Little has changed about the appeal of game shows since the early days; they’re still essentially about watching average Joes get up on a stage and compete in some manner of challenges for a chance to win cool prizes or lose out big time. For most viewers, watching someone else win a ton of money (lucky bastards) isn’t nearly as entertaining as the tense, give-and-take nature of the game itself.

Deal or No Deal screenshot

One minute a contestant can be mere seconds from winning a million dollars; the next they could be going home empty handed. To keep viewers from flipping the channel, modern game shows must ramp up the intensity and increase the stakes to lofty heights. NBC’s Deal or No Deal is a great example of gripping game show TV done right – players are constantly risking it all in hopes of winding up with the greatest sum of cash possible, and it’s thrilling to watch them brave the odds. However, does a game show that requires absolutely no skill or strategy to play really succeed in video game form when there’s no actual money involved?


Deal or No Deal, featuring host Howie Mandel, is a game of pure chance. It’s about knowing when to push the envelope and when to pack it in and cut your losses. For those who haven’t seen the program, a game starts with a single contestant being presented with a throng of 26 similarly-attired ladies who each carry a numbered briefcase containing a dollar amount from $1 to $1,000,000. Players must pick one case out of the bunch to “keep.” They don’t know whether the case holds a ridiculously high dollar amount or only a few hundred bucks; the rest of the game is a process of elimination aimed at determining whether the case is worth keeping or trading for what might be a higher dollar amount. Players are also given the opportunity to intermittently leverage the odds against a monetary offer provided by “the banker.” They can choose to cut a deal and take home their earnings or push forward in hopes of sweetening the pot.

Deal or No Deal screenshot

Each round, you’re given a set number of briefcases to open, and you’ll pick these one at a time from among the remaining gals up on the stand. The dollar amount listed inside every case you open rules out a possibility of what could be in the case you first selected. Every once in a while the banker will dial down to Howie and make an offer to buy your briefcase; you can accept his offer or open more briefcases (potentially improving or worsening your situation). The goal is to knock off the lower dollar amounts on the board in hopes the banker will offer you a greater sum. Accidentally getting rid of the higher amounts will lower the amount of money you’re offered by the banker, and this will often fluctuate steadily based on the random amounts you uncover and rule out.

Deal or No Deal screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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