Review by Lisanne

"This game is the bane of many an office. Slackers unite!"

It's not a bad little game, this one. Functional, assuming the desired function is to provide a distraction for a while from whatever it is you're supposed to be doing at the time, whether it be typing up your thesis or assessing immigration applications in a scary government building. It isn't exactly the type of game one would choose to play, in that I personally cannot imagine anyone waking up one morning and saying, ''Rightio! Let's go and flex that mouse-clicking finger by having a nice long game of Minesweeper!'' in the same way as they might for more complex games, but it performs its distracting function rather well.

Even better, the majority of people at least have access to it, as Minesweeper comes bundled with most versions of Windows and probably other operating systems too, although I don't know about other OSes so I might be mistaken. However, pretty much everyone can go to a local library or cyber-café and have a go at this, so if you haven't experienced this addictive little mind-bender yet then you should do so post-haste.

So what is it? Well, not to put you off from the get-go, but Minesweeper is pretty much a mathematically-based game. Don't run away! Hey, come back! Please? OK fine, be like that. I'll just run along behind you and shout out the rest of the review until I make you pay attention! This game is far too ignored as it is, despite the fact that so many people can play it, either on their home computers or at work or school. It is time to bring Minesweeper to the forefront of the consciousness of the internet-browsing public! Oh yes.

The mental arithmatic perspective of Minesweeper is unimposing and simplistic. You start with a large (size varies according to difficulty setting though) box comprised of smaller grey squares. Clicking on a square will reveal either a number - which indicates how many mines are located in the eight squares immediately surrounding that square, or a mine - in which case it's game over, or an empty square with lots of other empty squares around it surrounded by a border of numbers, which is really the jackpot.

Hitting the initial square is always a matter of luck, as you have no indication of what might lie in it. If you hit a mine at this stage then you can count yourself deeply unlucky and start again. If you get the numbers, then you have to perform basic calculations and a bit of strategic thinking to locate the squares which you believe contain mines. You then flag these squares by right-clicking on them to remind you where they are. The game ends when you successfully click on all the empty squares and flag all the mines. All of this is timed, and the object is to complete the grid in the lowest time possible.

The graphical display is very simple, which is understandable since this game has been around forever. Right in the middle of the top display of the screen is featured a smiley face of the type prevalent in IM conversations. If you hit a mine, it gets sad. If you clear the grid, it mysteriously locates a pair of sunglasses, possibly procured from the casing of one of the mines you found.

Since this game is available to most people, play it! It is entertaining, but nothing more than a distraction. Still, it is discreet enough to hide in a corner of your work computer, as I have personally discovered. This game was probably designed by someone who was bored at work. Good job them!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/21/04

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