3 February 2019 | ThePopulist
(WIP) 80% -- Simply casual, mathematically smooth
Minesweeper, the one game you would love to come back and play (along with Microsoft 3D Pinball) on your Windows 95/98 computer. It uses a desktop. It uses a mouse. It uses mathematics. Yet why is it the one game that has an endless replay value? It is because it is easy to set up, easy to understand, easily casual, easily simple...easy everything.
The basic gameplay of Minesweeper is to find all the landmines in a given field. The player is given a grid and the number of squares with mines to avoid. The grid is blank, and the player must uncover squares for clues, where each of the squares uncovered contains a number describing how many mines are adjacent to the square, including diagonally. The player must then determine the location of the mines based on the information and logic. If you are fortunate enough, you may reveal an opening devoid of mines that brings much information on the neighboring mines. If not and you start by uncovering one square only, you may have to take chances to reveal another one. If you click on the wrong square, the mine detonates, and the game is over, revealing all the mines as well as any squares that are incorrectly flagged.
The reason to play this occasionally is simply because it is easy to transition to and fro.
The only downside that sometimes puts me off is the fact that I occasionally run into situations where I must find one or multiple mines and multiple answers based on the available information from clicked squares are equally practical. For example, I may have a square on a corner comprising 9 unclicked squares and more than 5 but fewer than 9 mines to flag. The information that I happen to get may all be closer to the middle of the minefield, the numbers being 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, and 2, assuming that there are no neighboring mines. Okay, so I know where the five mines are, but what about the remaining mines? There is no telling of where the remainders may be without reluctantly but compulsorily selecting one square at random. A game of Minesweeper can occasionally switch from being a game of skill to a game of chance. Another thing that can throw me off is my occasional accidental clicking on an unintended square, though you could say it is my fault.
The bottom line here is that Minesweeper is a collectible that the most casual of gamers should consider playing off-hand. I recommend playing a game of Minesweeper where there are not so many mines that you get too little information to determine the affected squares. Having that as a bug stinks, but it will reduce the risk of frustration of facing a dilemma or from losing a game by chance. Other than that, it is conveniently playable at its finest.