Recently, Greg Ford asked for submissions of brief reviews for budget games. I took this as an opportunity to be a smartass. Hit the jump for the result.
Welcome to the Future.
Price: Free with Windows. Mac users can complain directly to Justin Long.
Where to get it: Start> All Programs> Games> Minesweeper. Or just ask your Grandma.
Minesweeper isn’t so much a game as it is a productivity device. Spend five minutes clicking gray tiles and churning out another dozen Power Point slides starts to sound enjoyable. There’s more fun to be had in the options menu than the game itself. Try setting the height and width of the grid to their maximums and including only one mine to remind yourself of the futility of human endeavor. Great for kids.
Price: Free with Windows. Maybe included with Macs, but you’ll be too busy editing movies and getting laid to care.
Where to get it: Start> All Programs> Games> Solitaire. Or just buy a deck of cards.
Perhaps the first piece of software, maybe even intellectual property, to smell like a retirement home. Solitaire is a game you play by yourself, which begs the question—Why bring a perfectly capable CPU opponent into the equation? Because your boss would see the deck of cards on your desk, dipshit. If you ever stop being overjoyed by the post-win bouncing cards, contact a medical professional. This is the first sign of clinical depression.
Price: Free with Windows, but somehow not worth the price tag.
Where to get it: Start> All Programs> Games> Spider Solitaire. Or just buy like ten decks of cards.
Spider Solitaire is like regular Solitaire except it takes longer. I guess you could count this as a positive if you’re deliberately wasting time, but I can guarantee there are better ways. How about picking up a grotesque habit like chewing your nails or picking your nose? Training yourself to gross people out can be marketable should your chosen career path be ‘Garbage Pail Kid’; getting good at Spider Solitaire is just useless.
Price: Free with Windows. 25¢ at your local pizzeria.
Where to get it: Start> All Programs> Games> Pinball. Or head to Little Italy on Clayton St.
Pinball is arguably the progenitor of video games as we know them. Machines can be old-fashioned or technologically advanced and are open to as many themes as creators can conceive. Several generations have fond memories of time spent pursuing high scores the world over.
Pinball for Windows is like taking a shit on the Lincoln monument; ignoring a proud, illustrious history in favor of a convenient dump. Or in this case, a convenient pack-in.
Price: Free with Windows. Should anyone ever try to charge you for Hearts—walk away. They were never your friend to begin with.
Where to get it: Start> No One is Reading These> Games> Hearts. Or get invited to a particularly boring sleep-over.
So far as I’m concerned, the term ‘Hearts’ should only be used as the plural form of the band Heart. They could perform hits like ‘Barracudas’. They could also probably write me some better material, based on that last sentence.
As for the card game, let’s just say Hearts lucked out being alphabetically listed before Solitaire. You know a game is terrible when Solitaire is popularly preferred over it. And yes, I’m deliberately omitting FreeCell.