Game Room from Sierra Sports is a game bundle that includes simple versions of six popular games: pinball, pool, shuffleboard, table tennis, darts, and table hockey. While the graphics and sound in these games are uninspired, the package as a whole is a decent value for players looking for computer versions of the real-life games. Although Game Room doesn't include the advanced features found in games that are devoted entirely to only one game, like games dedicated to pool or pinball games, it does include enough options and difficulty settings to keep the casual player engaged for a good amount of time.
The game begins with a simple scene of a game room, which includes a pool table, some dart boards, a Ping-Pong table, a shuffleboard table, an air-hockey table, and a couple of pinball games. All you need to do is mouse over the desired game and click to enter that game. It quickly becomes evident that more work went into some of the games than others. The darts and shuffleboard games included in the package are fairly good versions of these two games, and the pinball game is a stripped-down version of 3D Ultra Pinball Thrillride. The pool option brings up a basic version of Maximum Pool, which has a fairly complete range of options and different perspective settings. The table-tennis and air-hockey games are both fairly simple representations of these games.
Most games let you choose from a list of options so that you can cater the game to your particular interest. In pool, you can choose from standard eight ball, nine ball, and snooker games, while the darts game includes options for cricket, 901, 701, 501, 301, 101, and baseball. Most games include options for multiple players on the same computer, and some support online multiplayer competition.
The controls for most of the games are simple and, for the most part, appropriate. Games such as darts and shuffleboard use an intuitive mouse-driven gesture control system in which you click down, make a quick mouse movement, and release in one motion. Although this takes some getting used to, it works well as a substitute for the real thing. Controls for table tennis are oversimplified, since the paddle is fixed at a specific altitude above the table and the mouse moves the paddle only in a flat plane. This makes the computer game a fairly poor representation of the real-life game. Air hockey is an extremely simple game with extremely simple controls, and it can be fun for a short period of time, but the computer version of the game has no added features to make up for the lack of intensity found in the real thing. The pool simulation is fairly complex compared with the others; plus, it features multiple perspectives, aiming aids, tips, and other features, all of which help new players learn the rules and skills necessary to play the game.
One fairly entertaining part of Game Room is your selection of computer opponents. You can choose from five opponents, which appear on the screen in short video clips, and they say things like "Houston, we have a problem" and "This is bad." It's a shame that the game includes only a few clips for each character, so they often repeat. This inclusion nevertheless gives the game a little bit of personality that it wouldn't otherwise have. Unfortunately, the characters actually pop up on the screen only while playing Ping-Pong.
Overall, Game Room is a decent bundle of games, the best of which are stripped-down versions of previously released stand-alone games. The graphics and sound for most of the games are only adequate, but the package as a whole is appropriate for those who are looking for simple versions of the six featured games. The options included in the package provide enough variety to keep fans of the games happy for several hours, and the inclusion of the online multiplayer mode provides an added challenge. While Game Room isn't a completely realistic platform in which to train for the real-life games, it does provide an easy way to jump into a quick game for a short period of time.