Review by XCommander

"My first review in such a long time is for flipping Minesweeper"

Minesweeper; the game everybody with Windows has on their computer, yet nobody knows what the hell it is let alone how to play it. According to the “About Minesweeper” tab in the game, it was created in 1981 by a few guys named Robert Donner and Curt Johnson in 1981. It’s seems like Mr. Donner did not live up the cannibalistic tendencies of his forbearers (let’s see if you could find out what I’m talking about) and worked with Mr. Johnson on versions of Minesweeper up to the current one, version 5.1. Want to learn more about Minesweeper? Too bad I don’t know it.

Well, let’s say you’re interested in this “Minesweeper.” I mean, the name is cool enough, right. You boot up the game and some miniscule screen pops up with a bunch of squares, two timers and a face. And boy what a face.

You see, that little face there gives the personality to this game. At any given moment he appears to be smiling. The jolly face just sits there staring at you with a blank smile. I’m not sure if it’s forced, but he’s smiling. Click anywhere in the game’s form and his blank, jubilant stare dissipates. In turn, this smile turns into a face of shock and awe. His eyes get bigger, and mouth opens. This may sound simple but it carries oh, so much depth. They should write books on this character. But that’s not it. As I said before, this face is using smiling. But does it have a contra positive? Why yes, yes it does. Click on a square with a mine in it (I’ll get into that later) and he goes all lifeless on you. What a parasite. He really was faking that smile.

Not that the game is sarcastic in anyway. It’s just that creepy smile.

The premise of the game rather suicidal theme that the title gives off (I mean really, what kind of person would dare to sweep a mine? Anyone, Anyone? Bueller?), but a different one; a premise that I don’t know, because there isn’t any documentation on it in the game. What I’m guessing however, is that the game is symbolizing that you are a spy and you are trying to figure out where the enemy mines are. Yeah.

But really, the game’s nothing special at all. You see, you click one of the boxes in the middle that I’ve mentioned before and it will show if you’ve picked a tile of a mine or one without a mine. If you clicked on one with a bomb, that’s it. Game Over. That’s one of the flaws of the game. It’s totally random; clicking for the first time in the game could in effect be the last. The mines are placed randomly and are totally unfair to the user. I can’t think of anything the developers could do to fix this and I do not blame them. It’s just a flawed design. Flaws, who wants them?

Well, let’s say you’re lucky and run into a tile without a bomb. It will show a number. This number shows how many mines are in the surrounding tiles. Let’s say the number is 2. This means that there are 2 tiles on the outside of this tile that are mined. Easy enough I’d say. You have to use the clues the tiles give you to determine where the mined areas are. If you figure out an area you can plant a flag (right click) on the area. Plant a flag on all the mines and you win. That’s it, the whole shebang. And I did not mean William Hung there.

There are three different difficulties available; Easy, Medium, and Hard. Plus there is a Custom option which allows you to set the parameters of your minefield and how many mines there are. Your score is set on how quickly you complete the difficulty, where a timer counts down. Tick… Tick… Tick…

This game is presented to you by perhaps the simplest graphics available. The face I presented to you rather sarcastically early in the review is the most complex of them. The bombs and numbers just suck. Yes, they do. Graphics suck here, but it’s a free Windows game. Big deal.

Now, the sound is so annoying it’s no wonder it’s defaulted to off. You get an annoying ticking sound with the timer, and when you click on a mined tile you’ll hear a way-too-loud explosion. I was definitely not expecting it the first time I heard it and needless to say my eardrums shattered. The sound is a stinker. Unsurprisingly there is no music as well.

Eh, but you already knew everything I just wrote didn’t you? Too bad you didn’t learn anything. Minesweeper is such a simple game and is, in essence… How should I put it? Stupid. However, it’s a strategic stupid. Wow, I’ve gotten into the oxy-morons now, time for me to end this once and for all.

Now about that face…

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/23/04

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