Oni is a third-person action video game developed by Bungie West, a division of Bungie, and published by Take-Two Interactive. Released in 2001, it was Bungie West's only game. Gameplay consists of third-person shooting with hand-to-hand combat, with a focus on the latter. Originally planned just for the Mac OS and Windows, a PlayStation 2 port was concurrently developed by Rockstar Canada. The game's style was largely inspired by Ghost in the Shell and Akira and shares the same genre, being set in a cyberpunk world.
The events of Oni take place in or after the year 2032. In the game, Earth is so polluted that little of it remains habitable. To solve international economic crises, all nations have combined into a single entity, the World Coalition Government. The government is totalitarian, telling the populace that what are actually dangerously toxic regions are wilderness preserves, and uses its police forces, the Technological Crimes Task Force (TCTF), to suppress opposition. The player character, code-named Konoko (voiced by Amanda Winn-Lee), full name later given as Mai Hasegawa, begins the game working for the TCTF. Soon, she learns her employers have been keeping secrets about her past from her. She turns against them as she embarks on a quest of self-discovery. The player learns more about her family and origins while battling both the TCTF and its greatest enemy, the equally monolithic criminal organization called the Syndicate. In the game's climax, Konoko discovers a Syndicate plan to cause the Atmospheric Conversion Centers, air-treatment plants necessary to keep most of the world's population alive, to catastrophically malfunction. She is partially successful in thwarting the plot, saving a portion of humanity.
Oni is a third-person action game, focused on melee combat mixed with some gunplay. The player can punch, kick, and throw enemies; progressing into later levels unlocks stronger moves and combos. There are ten different guns in Oni, including handguns, rifles, rocket launchers, and energy weapons. Power-ups such as "hyposprays", which heal damage, and cloaking devices, which render the player invisible, can be found scattered throughout the levels or on corpses. Since the player can carry only one weapon at a time and ammunition is scarce, hand-to-hand combat is the most effective and common means of defeating enemies.
The game's universe is heavily influenced by Mamoru Oshii's anime film Ghost in the Shell, with some additional influence from Akira and the works of Kenichi Sonoda. The original plan was for Konoko to be a cyborg like Ghost in the Shell's Motoko Kusanagi. The explanation for her superhuman abilities was changed to be more organic with the addition of the Daodan Chrysalis concept by design lead Hardy LeBel.
Oni was originally expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 1999. Advertising was targeted towards that shipping date, and the game won E3's Game Critics Awards for Best Action/Adventure Game in 1999. However, development difficulties caused the release date to be pushed back continuously. The acquisition of Bungie by Microsoft in 2000 then led to the transfer of the Oni IP to Take-Two Interactive (which owned 20% of the studio prior to Microsoft's acquisition). Since Bungie's employees were moving to the new office location in Microsoft's headquarters or leaving the company, work on Oni had to be completed as quickly as possible. Due to a lack of time to resolve issues with the multiplayer code and to finish the levels intended for use by multiplayer mode, this functionality was omitted from the released version.
Half of the music was composed by Martin O'Donnell in collaboration with Michael Salvatori. Other tracks in the game, which had already been implemented before O'Donnell and Salvatori joined the project, were composed by the music company Power of Seven, which specialized in electronic music genres such as techno and ambient. The Power of Seven team consisted of founder Paul Sebastien, as well as composer Brian Salter and Kim Cascone, who served as a sound designer for the game; the team had previously worked together at Thomas Dolby's audio technology company Headspace. O'Donnell, who served as the game's audio lead, decided to keep the tracks Power of Seven had already composed, while composing roughly the same amount of music himself. Select tracks from the game were made available on MP3.com in 2000, a year before the game was released. A soundtrack CD of the game's music was bundled with purchases of the game at Best Buy.
The game received "average" reviews on both platforms according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. Some reviewers were unimpressed by the minimal detail of the environment graphics, the lack of intelligence on the part of the AI in some situations, and the plot, which was occasionally criticized as underdeveloped. The game's difficulty in combination with a lack of savepoints was sometimes cited as a negative.
The absence of LAN-based multiplayer, which had been demoed at hands-on booths at Macworld Expos during Oni's development, but removed before release due to stated concerns over latency issues, contributed to some lower scores from reviewers. Some of the game's content was cut as well. This included the "Iron Demon", a large mech shown in-game in one trailer. Also, many of the weapons featured in the trailer and the game cover were not in the game.
On the positive side, Oni received the most praise for its smooth character animation and large array of fighting moves, as well as how it blended gunplay and melee combat. Thus, reviewers gave Oni mostly average-to-good scores in recognition of the enjoyment factor of the game. Jeff Lundgren of Next Generation said of the PlayStation 2 version: "It may have been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. In fact, in a number of important ways, this is the game The Bouncer should have been."
A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a finish to make handling easier. They are most commonly used for playing card games, and are also used in magic tricks, cardistry, card throwing, and card houses; cards may also be collected. Some patterns of Tarot playing card are also used for divination, although bespoke cards for this use are more common. Playing cards are typically palm-sized for convenient handling, and usually are sold together in a set as a deck of cards or pack of cards.
Playing cards are available in a wide variety of styles, as decks may be custom-produced for competitions, casinos and magicians (sometimes in the form of trick decks), made as promotional items, or intended as souvenirs, artistic works, educational tools, or branded accessories. Decks of cards or even single cards are also collected as a hobby or for monetary value. Cards may also be produced for trading card sets or collectible card games, or as supplements for board games, however these are not generally regarded as playing cards.
Other games revolving around alcoholic drinking involved using playing cards of a sort from the Tang dynasty onward. However, these cards did not contain suits or numbers. Instead, they were printed with instructions or forfeits for whoever drew them.
The earliest dated instance of a game involving cards occurred on 17 July 1294 when "Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Pig-Dog were caught playing cards [zhi pai] and that wood blocks for printing them had been impounded, together with nine of the actual cards."
The Mamluk court cards showed abstract designs or calligraphy not depicting persons possibly due to religious proscription in Sunni Islam, though they did bear the ranks on the cards. Nā'ib would be borrowed into French (nahipi), Italian (naibi), and Spanish (naipes), the latter word still in common usage. Panels on the pip cards in two suits show they had a reverse ranking, a feature found in madiao, ganjifa, and old European card games like ombre, tarot, and maw.
Export of these cards (from Cairo, Alexandria, and Damascus), ceased after the fall of the Mamluks in the 16th century. The rules to play these games are lost but they are believed to be plain trick games without trumps.
The earliest record of playing cards in central Europe is believed by some researchers to be a ban on card games in the city of Berne in 1367, but this source is disputed as the earliest copy available dates to 1398 and may have been amended. Generally accepted as the first Italian reference is a Florentine ban dating to 1377. Also appearing in 1377 was the treatise by John of Rheinfelden, in which he describes playing cards and their moral meaning. From this year onwards more and more records (usually bans) of playing cards occur, first appearing in England as early as 1413.
The United States introduced the joker into the deck. It was devised for the game of euchre, which spread from Europe to America beginning shortly after the American Revolutionary War. In euchre, the highest trump card is the Jack of the trump suit, called the right bower (from the German Bauer); the second-highest trump, the left bower, is the jack of the suit of the same color as trumps. The joker was invented c. 1860 as a third trump, the imperial or best bower, which ranked higher than the other two bowers. The name of the card is believed to derive from juker, a variant name for euchre. The earliest reference to a joker functioning as a wild card dates to 1875 with a variation of poker. 2b1af7f3a8