One of the very first computer games that I fell in love with was minesweeper. Of course, there were the more interesting games like Chip’s Challenge and Mario and Street Racer; but hey, they required minimal IQ–even my brother could easily finish levels in those! Minesweeper, on the other hand, seemed like an adults’ game. Mostly because my father would play it for what seemed like hours on end. And I would be drawn to it; as though I had something to prove to myself, to the computer with its ‘high score’ lists, and to the world in general.

Stepping on a mine–and I would step on mines all the time–was fascinating! They would all go off one by one, so prettily, like fireworks. I say it was fascinating, but that state of mind never lasted for more than three games or five minutes, whichever came first. Fascination would lead to frustration and frustration to feelings of fratricide, as my brother would invariably be hanging over my shoulder laughing at my failures.

And then came the day when I made high score in the beginner’s category. It only made me yearn for more. Sure enough, soon I made high score in the intermediate level too. However, as yet, the expert category was a far-reaching dream. Leave alone high score, I couldn’t even finish an expert game when I was in school. But all the years of fits and starts of persistence paid off when right before starting college, I finally finished an expert game! I was so surprised I sat motionless for a minute. Of course, I had taken a very long time to complete it, but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

My love for minesweeper has always come on like intermittent fever; there’s a period of feverish excitement, followed by an apyrexial indifference, and then a period of relapse. In times of glorious decadence, I can play up to a hundred games a day. And then, when I no longer get a high from the game, it starts disgusting me, and I give it up. But minesweeper pulls at me somehow; a few months later, once more, I can be seen furiously clicking on the mouse trying to outrun the minesweeper clock.

There are two ways to play the game: either you play for speed, or you play for accuracy. Doing both together successfully comes only after a lot of practice. Even now, with speed as my main aim, whenever I try hard to be correct, I invariably lose time. Only rarely can I sort of intuitively (not guesswork, mind you, it’s intuition) be accurate as well as fast. Now that I’ve set high scores in my laptop, as well as half my cousins’, my goal is to try to beat the world high scores for minesweeper. As of now it is still a pipe dream, but my will is strong, my minesweeper hand is dexterous, and I have a minesweeper app on my phone!



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2 responses to “Minesweeper

  1. You’re a Gold Medal Olympian. I had decided long ago that the expert level was a joke by a sadist programmer at M$. This is a well-written narrative of a classic ‘underdog makes good’ theme and those books sell so well they end up as movies. Just one point typographically there ate three kinds of dashes – that one I just typed which as a space on either side; the ‘en’ dash; the ’em’ dash. I think you’re applying the wrong one but you decide. As one sweeper to another, I enjoyed this – well done.

  2. haha..and we are masochists, because we still keep at it! Once again, thank you for the comment; I’m already day-dreaming about my minesweeper movie 🙂 But regarding the dashes, the en dash confuses me, so I never use it. In this post too, I used only a hyphen and 3 em dashes (two hyphens together=1 em dash); and according to the link you gave, I used them at the right place. But if you still think they’re used incorrectly, please tell me why; English isn’t my mother tongue, and I’m eager to learn. Thanks!

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