The playing cards used in Wichita Faro are my own design. In fact, they’re sort of how the whole project got started. I wanted to design the perfect deck of online playing cards, a deck that looked, moved, and even sounded like a real paper deck of cards, but was also well proportioned for computer gaming.
It took me a week, but on May 22, 2004, I finally had my perfect online deck. But now what? It just wouldn’t do simply to put these cards on my website, with a paragraph about how cool the design is. That wouldn’t be any fun. (“Look, Mabel, you gotta see this! Some guy has drawn a whole deck of playing cards that don’t do anything!”) No, I needed to put them in a game to display them properly.
Which card game to make? I considered poker and blackjack, but then I remembered faro. Well, I didn’t remember faro exactly, because I had never played it, or even seen it played. I had only heard of it. Here’s what I knew about faro: (1) it was a card game, and (2) cowboys used to play it. I learned the rules of faro and the history of the game by doing Google searches. (Mark Howard’s page was most informative.) I also learned that nobody, anywhere in the world, had yet made a faro game you can play online! Well, that clinched it. Faro it would be.
Pretty early on, I realized the game needed music. Really good music. I needed an old-timey saloon piano song, one that lasted several minutes and contained enough variations that players wouldn’t become quickly bored by it. (Even a good song gets annoying if you’re forced to listen to the same few bars of it over and over.) Thank God I found Rob Gironda’s piece “Stride Piano.” As soon as I heard the first few notes, I knew it was perfect.
The crowd voices in the background were recorded in a real tavern. The “dealer” voice is actor Tommy Lee Jones. No, no, wait, it’s not Tommy Lee Jones. It’s my own voice, trying to sound like Tommy Lee Jones. (Mr. Jones, if you’re reading this, would you like to do the voice for the next version? Give me a call.)