Strip poker games on the Commodore 64 are as old as our beloved beige box itself. Suzi and Melissa starred in 1982’s Strip Poker: A Sizzling Game Of Chance, and the Artworkx game was such a hit that other girls (and, eventually, guys) were available on separate data disks.

The format was still going ten years later, with Commodore Format reviewing Cover Girl Poker in Spring 1992. In the middle of these two games, during the summer of 1987, British model Maria Whittaker became a celebrity in Commodore 64 world. The Page 3 girl and Mayfair regular was the cover star of Palace’s slash ‘em up Barbarian, and the box became as famous as the game itself.

Computer games and Maria Whittaker, then. People seemed to like them both. How to bring them together in some sort of package, eh? Preferably in time for Christmas, ‘cos that Barbarian buzz wouldn’t last forever.


Anco rose to the challenge, recycling bits of Strip Poker II+ for Maria’s Christmas Box. She’s there in embarrassingly pixelated form as soon as you load up, ready to play some cards and prepared to ditch her Santa outfit if she loses. The game part isn’t handled too badly and the AI Maria is decent (she can bluff you, for example) but even in 1988 PD libraries had way better poker offerings. The code isn’t well presented, with no proper title screens or intermission bits and it even uses that hallmark of all quality games: the C64 system font. This left the thirsty of yore with only one reason left to load up Maria’s Christmas Box – and even then, Mayfair was cheaper and had better quality pictures. It’s all a bit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

It should be said that the game was wildly popular on the school yard swapsies circuit, and there’s undeniably a weird element of tease to these early attempts at computer erotica. Curiously, this sort of game actually got less popular as tech improved. It might well come back to the same sort of thing we mentioned back up there: good card games were pre-installed everywhere by the ‘90s, and it became much easier to find soft porn too. It all became surplus very quickly. CF   

FESTIVE FEELS: Well, Maria’s got some mistletoe and she’s dressed like Santa. Er, that’s it.

CHRISTMAS CRACKER OR TOTAL TURKEY? It’s just OK for cards and not so good at the rest. It’s worth a download for free, even just to be creeped out at the graphics.