Review by hangedman

"Why not?"

Feel free to end my life.

I'm writing this as I sit at ''work,'' staring at the clock and listening to music from the '80s. This computer moves slower than anything, and being a PC intended for public use, the homepage is set to a failing dotcom search engine that spawns popup ads like a rigged keycard in Doom spawns bloodthirsty monsters. If this PC were a person, it'd be some haggard whore just dripping with STDs.

There is nothing to do here. Now that the bad spellers of the world have decided to ''untie'' and go shoot up instead of get the tutoring I'm paid to provide too little of too late, I finally have an excuse to review minesweeper. If you want comprehensive, check out Whelkman's review. This review assumes that you've already played Minesweeper. Given the demographic for this website, and by that I mean hyperactive teens that go through withdrawal when they're cut off from electronic stimulation, I KNOW whoever's reading has played this.

I remember seeing a special where Jean Claude VanDamme was talking about his cocaine addiction. It wasn't entirely about VanDamme gong through blow like a fiend, but that was the only part I saw. The gist of it was that he ran out of coke and started trying to snort whatever residue of it was in the carpet. By the end of the night, VanDamme had an assload of carpet fuzz up his nose.

Minesweeper is this carpet fuzz.

I know you're a junkie who needs a fix. Here you are, on your PC, on a video games site, reading about video games. Not even the good ones any more: this is a free game provided with Windows. You've hit rock bottom, champ. Then again, I've been at this state of rock-bottomness for years, and since you're here, I might as well tell you about the game I've ostensibly delayed with talk of PCs and carpet-concealed cocaine.

Minesweeper's minefields have a bunch of innocuous-looking squares. Some of them have bombs hidden under them, but you don't know if they're rigged to blow or not until after you've mustered up enough guts to click on the thing. So, what's to prevent you from sweeping a board or going out in a semtex-heavy blast of glory?

Cleared squares. The cleared squares that border the remainder of the squares have a number assigned to them, and this number reveals how many explosives are on the 8 squares bordering that tile. Should the number display 1, let's say, and there are 4 uncleared squares within those 8 spaces, you have a 25% chance of killing yourself. You can narrow this down more by checking another adjacent square, and triangulating where the bombs are, marking spaces as potential bombs by using the right mouse button if need be.

Over and over.

The skill comes in being able to eliminate the guesswork in clicking all the squares down to completion. It's possible, and it's mostly skill-based. This is of course until you get down to the final two squares, and a single ''1'' tells you that there's ONE bomb in those 2 squares. 50-50. It's an iron law that this is the deathblow. Click here, and you die. You know this, so you frantically look at the swath of destruction you've torn through the playing field, desperately searching for an answer. You don't find it, so it comes down to that ''red wire or blue wire'' conundrum you see in every movie about a bomb defuser. Go ahead, make that dejectedly blind click. It's your funeral, but why delay the inevitable?


But it's never that glorious. If it comes time for me to die via explosive, I want to die as horribly as possible. I can only hope that the bomb explodes with enough force to sever my every limb, liquefying the flesh on the front half of my body as it blasts my hideously mangled corpse out the window with a trail of fire and broken glass. If my end is to be like this, I want to go to the morgue in doggie bags; I want to cause new police recruits and coroners alike to vomit where they stand as soon as they see the disfigured shell of my former self. I want them to return home at the end of the day to their families with my grisly end haunting them as they poke at their dinners, fearing that they won't be able to keep down whatever delicious meal sits in front of them.

I know I don't want to see some mongoloid smiley face with Xs where its eyes should be when I cash in from an explosive, quickly ruining all of my hard work by replenishing the board with a fresh sprawl of unclicked squares and sending me back to square one (laugh at that pun or I'll kill you slowly). Minesweeper lacks any cathartic release of life. If anything, it will leave you cheated as it displays all the bombs on the playing field, including that final one you mistakenly clicked on, taunting you with a red X.

And it's really not that fun. You can feel the empty void in your being expanding with each soulless click you administer. Click, click. ''Don't I have anything better to do?'' Click, Click. ''I wish I were dead.''

And you soon will be, but hey, it's free and you don't have anything better to do.

Cabaret Voltaire said it best: why kill time when you can kill yourself?

Thompson Twins rock!

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 02/05/03, Updated 02/07/03

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