Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thanks for the crappy cards, but what the hell am I doing?

It's 2007. Why on earth am I still playing solitaire?

The venerable Windows accessory has been popular - but not since we last stopped using a "1" when we wrote what year it was.

Now, it's 2-0-0-freaking-7. Why does it still matter?

I have a great game, Flight Simulator, installed on here; no one will virtually die if I fail at solitaire. There are other PC standbys, Freecell and Hearts, though neither has that same antiquated feel. I've got a PS2 in the other room hooked up to a 40-inch widescreen. (In fairness, and in order: United Virtual is undergoing a host shift; I play Freecell and even Spider Solitaire with some regularity; and I may get back into a PS2 game at some point soon, but not at this moment.)

Yet I while away time with many an unspoken complaint at the awful card I've just flipped over.

And that's what kills me about the whole thing. I don't often quit Solitaire because I'm bored with it, but because I'm so frustrated I reach the point where I realize it's better to just walk away from it.

But the venture is never far, and I'm usually back at the controls in less than 30 minutes.

In fact, let's run through a quick game. I can tell you how it's going to end up already - 90 percent of them end the same way.

Opening cards: 3-clubs; 10-clubs; 7-spades; 8-diamonds; 8-spades; ace-hearts; 2-hearts. Cleaning up the three cards that can be moved gives me 9-diamonds, 6-spades and 3-spades. Moving the 9 and 8 under the 10 gives me two more: king-diamonds, 5-hearts. Five fits under the six, revealing 10-spades.

Good start, right? Yeah, I always think that too.

Three flips before a useable card: ace-diamonds. The undercard is no help, so basically all I've done is ensure I'll see a few different cards the next go-around. Next flip is ace-clubs, again no help from the undercard.

Two flips for 7-hearts, which moves under the 8 and allows a move of the 6/5. New card is queen-hearts, no help anywhere. Next flip gives 9-hearts, which fits under the open 10. Final flip reveals 4-clubs and 6-hearts, which fit on the board but offers no further help.

Second go-around:

Jack-spades fits under the queen, no other help. Flip. Ten-spades fits under said jack, but undercard doesn't help. Flip. Eight-clubs fits under the nine, but undercard doesn't help. (Rinse, lather, repeat.)

Flip. Three-hearts goes up top, undercard is 9-spades, goes under the red 10 and allows a move of the 8-7-6. The reveals ace-spades, which leads to 4-spades and is of no help.

Flip. Flip. Nothing.

Third go-around, looking typically bleak for a win:

Flip. Nothing. Flip. Nothing. (Rinse, lather, repeat.) Third flip brings 7-diamonds, which moves under the 8; undercard is 5-clubs, which moves under the red 6. No further help available - though that king-clubs would help a lot if I had a space for it, which I would if a black 2 would ever show up. (Frustration creeps in.)

Flip. King-hearts is my final chance, but with nowhere to go, I'm left with that insidious red X.

So multiply that over the course of five or six games, and it's easy to get frustrated.

But I still can't understand why I'm still playing this damn game, six years and counting after its freshness date, and that's the most frustrating thing of all.


P.J. said...

Classics never die!

ME said...

I have a nightly ritual. As I lay in bed attempting to fall asleep, I play solitaire on my Axim. I shoot for the high score (currently at 2,735), drawing one card & using the Vegas scoring system. I can't remember when that record was set, but I've had the same ritual for about, oh, six years now. Yes, I'm aware I have issues.