Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Defense of Freecell

Sometimes I find myself in places without an internet connection! (Shocking, I know.) Luckily, I am a big fan of FreeCell, and can keep myself occupied playing it for a while. However, since I started playing FreeCell on this computer, I have attempted to keep the win statistics at a perfect 100%.
I think this is an amazing feat. But some of my friends are not that impressed. They argue that it is not impressive to beat every game when you undo all of your moves and play the game from the beginning (which I admit is part of my strategy). Therefore, I have sat down and though long and hard on why it is not only acceptable to start over, but encouraged.

First, I often don't undo the entire game. I just have to choose between two cards, and sometimes (though not regularly) I choose wrong and want to go back to a the alternative choice. Hence the 'ctrl-z'ing. But sometimes that first choice requires you to go back to the you go back to the beginning. Rarely do I give up and shake my head, crack my knuckles, and go back to the beginning looking for a clean slate (though again, I admit that is does happen).

This brings me to my second point. The game is designed to undo your moves. Not just the last move (presumably for a misclick), but all your moves. This suggests that they acknowledge that you might want to go back to a previous point and see how different branches play out. Also, if you lose, it asks you if you want to start a new game, or if you want to go back and try again. If that really was a lose, then when you click go back and try again, it should count that in your statistics. It doesn't. This at least means that the makers of FreeCell are on my side with this issue.

My last point is that FreeCell should be seen as a puzzle, not as a lateral game. The losing isn't the fact that you didn't solve it without messing up. Unlike a maze, it is OK to color between the wrong lines. The game begs you to solve the puzzle number and figure out for yourself how to beat the game without giving up. Therefore, since I love puzzles and riddles, I suppose that this is why FreeCell keeps me entertained, and why I feel proud to have the record that I do in the classic Microsoft card game.

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