Saturday 7 April 2012

Playing with yourself

This week I discovered that on Windows 7 keeps statistics for your games of Solitaire. I'm not sure I like this. And it's not because it tells you how many games of solitaire you've played or anything like that. It's that solitaire - or patience, as it is known in Britain - is a game of chance. You deal it out and play it out as well as you can, but there's no real skill to it. It just takes patience (HENCE THE NAME) and application to make it eventually come out.

Having statistics makes it seem like, if you don't get it out, that you have failed. Like a big failure. FreeCell has always had statistics, but that is more of a puzzle game than a game of patience. Aside from the legendary game 11,982 (as well as games 146,692, 186,216, 455,889, 495,505, 512,118, 517,776 and 781,948), they will all go out if you do them correctly. There are no such guarantees with solitaire. All that those statistics provide you with, then, is a percentage to establish how freakishly unlucky you are.

This displeases me. I don't want to know this fact. I'm already kept awake at night by those times - you know the ones - the times that there are two red eights to chose from to go onto one black 9. Choose wrong and it could spell game over but there's literally no way to apply anything beyond blind chance to the situation. Now our computers are taking this data and extrapolating it into a percentage of loserdom? This is terribly unfair. One day it will be tattooed on our face.

Yeah, I suppose you can always reset your statistics. But I suspect that someone, somewhere at Microsoft will know all of the numbers and know what a total dick you are. It is brutal. As is life, I suppose. But life doesn't necessarily always provide you with a number in black and white to show you how much you suck at it.

All of this said, I like the fact that Windows 7 turns the top card on the pile over automatically now, rather than you having to click it manually. I mean, seriously, was that too much to ask in the first place?

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