PSP game makes you a pool hustler… in Detroit.

Detroit is known for a lot of things, but I never thought it was known for billiard playing so when I came across this announcement for a game called The Hustle: Detroit Streets the last thing I thought it would be was a pool game. 

“The Hustle: Detroit Streets” lets players take on the role of either Jack Stone or Kat Hudson as they make their way through the pool halls and clubs of Detroit. Players hone their pool skills and work their way to the top of the pool circuit through two different game modes—single-player story mode, playing as either Jack or Kat in their quest for respect and cash, or single-player single game, where they can practice their skills by playing one-off matches against AI opponents. Additionally, for the PSP system, players can play pool using multiplayer and multiplayer over Wi-Fi where they can try to run the table against other gaming pool sharks.

All of the modes feature a number of trickshots and challenges, which allow players to earn prize money, face off against other players and buy new items such as clothes and cues at local shops. Players make their money gambling on their own matches, hustling, betting on shots (spot betting) and betting on other pool matches. As players progress through the game and meet certain criteria, different game play modes and items are unlocked. Challenges, new venues, different clothes and characters unique to each venue become available as players climb their way to the top of their pool game.

Even more amusing is that the game is being developed by Blade Interactive Studios, which is one of Europe’s most respected game developers already well known for the hugely successful franchise World Championship Snooker. So at least we know the game will likely be a very good billiards simulation even if the choice of locales is a bit odd.  Activision Value Publishing, Inc. will be publishing the title here in the States and they’re very enthusiastic about the project:

“We are excited to be working with Blade Studios in the development of ‘The Hustle: Detroit Streets.’ With its different modes of play, trickshots and challenges, this title delivers the most realistic pool experience ever brought to a video game,” states Dave Oxford, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Blade brings a level of experience that will allow players to feel all the pressure, excitement and defeat that a real pool player feels as they shoot their way through the rough and tumble Detroit pool circuit attempting to rack up points and earn bread money. This truly is a pool game like no other.”

Rough and tumble Detroit pool circuit? I’ve lived in one Detroit suburb or another for all my life and this is the first I’ve ever heard of a Detroit pool circuit. Not that there aren’t plenty of places in Detroit and the surrounding area to play pool—there’s a “Shark Club” bar right here in Canton and pool is as popular here as anyplace else I can think of—but I don’t know of any kind of a pool circuit ever existing. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a story the story mode ends up having and how much of the setting is actually identifiable as being Detroit as opposed to any other urban setting. Perhaps I should contact the publishers and offer my image as a representative of the Detroit area they could use in their game? Sure I can’t play pool to save my life, but that doesn’t matter as much as my distinctive looks. I could be an boss level character you have to defeat at pool or something before advancing to the next level of the circuit.

Anyway, it’s at least nifty to see a game set in Detroit that doesn’t have a completely negative image of the city. Unless, of course, it’s possible for your character to be shot for playing too well or something stupid like that. I’m not a big pool simulation player myself because I suck at that almost as bad as I suck at real life pool, but I’ll keep an eye on this one just to see how it turns out in the end.

Update: I did a couple of Google searches to see if I could find out anything about organized billiards in the Detroit area and what I came up with should make Brock very happy. Specifically one of the top links was to something called the Detroit Billiards League at which site you’ll find this:

Welcome to the Detroit Billiards League (DBL) Home Page. This site is dedicated to members of the Metro Detroit Area Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Transgender (LGBT) Billiards League. DBL is a not-for-profit 8-ball league. Teams are sponsored by Local LGBT Bars within Detroit metro areas. Helping to build a sense of community and friendship between it’s members, our mission is to play pool with a competitive spirit, meet new people, and raise money for World Aids Day – Pooling community with caring.

I think that’s just fantastic and I definitely think they’d make a great inclusion in The Hustle: Detroit Streets if for no other reason that they seem to be the only organized billiards league I could find in Detroit. That and I think it would be damned cool to have them kicking your ass at pool in a video game set in Detroit.

3 thoughts on “PSP game makes you a pool hustler… in Detroit.

  1. Actually this doesn’t come as much a surprise.  As I kid I remember by Great Uncle, who was quite the pool shark, telling me that ‘you haven’t won anywhere until you’ve won in Detroit.’  Too bad they didm’t put that energy into building cars.

    Pool hustling is one of those shady dealings that probably wouldn’t make the local papers unless someone happened to get shot.  If I’m not mistaken, Jericho ‘Kat’ Hudson went on to be a prominent figure in Detroit’s underworld.

  2. Working the circuit in pool isn’t an organized thing. It means going town to town, pool hall to pool hall, playing the best each hall has and honing your skills. If you’ve ever seen The COlor of Money it shows a pretty accurate run of the circuit before Cruise and Newman end up at the official tournament in New Jersey.

    I worked the circuit in DC, Baltimore and philadelphia many years ago. It’s lots of fun if you can stay out of fights.

  3. Looks like I get to learn something new today then. Doing a few more Google searches it looks like there’s a bit of Detroit history I’ve been unfamiliar with for a long time now.

    An article at the Billiard Congress of America website states that in 1859 Michael Phelan, the father of American billiards, won $15,000 in Detroit at the first important stake match held in the United States.

    And according to the folks at CueCare.com during the billiard’s “Golden Age” in 1920 Detroit was the home to the largest billiards hall ever built. Called The Recreation it was seven stories tall and, in addition to the 103 tables, it also contained 88 bowling lanes, 20 barber chairs, three manicuring stands, 14 cigar stands, a lunch counter on each floor, a restaurant that could seat 300, an exhibition room with theater seating that could accommodate 250 spectators, and a health spa.

    Of course I’d forgotten that Detroit was a bootlegger’s paradise during prohibition as well with some seventy-five percent of all the liquor in the U.S. during that period coming across through our border with Canada and playing pool was a popular thing to do at various speak easies.

    Still seems odd to think of Detroit having much to do with pool.

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