Thursday, September 01, 2016

I'm not sure if this is good or bad

 I enjoy playing FreeCell on Windows. It is similar to a game on the Macintosh called Seahaven Towers. The reason I first liked these games is that the game play is a lot like programming a computer in a low level language. The four open 'cells' in the upper left, the Free Cells, are like the registers of the processor. Building the stacks of cards in the main playing area are like last-in-first-out stacks we're used to using in programming, too. The four cells in the upper right are the results of the program. So, in order to get the cards separated into suits (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds) and in order (start with Aces and end with Kings) in the final cells in the upper right, you have to manipulate the cards through the "registers" and the "stacks" like you would in a computer program.

OK, that's fair enough but it has gotten to the point where I play this game too much. If I have any free time or I am waiting for something on my computer, I start a game. As you can see in the pictures here, I've played 2,487 games of FreeCell. That's a lot of time spent manipulating registers and stacks! I need to cut down on this but I'm having a hard time. Unlike Solitaire (one of the other games you get for free), someone has proven that every game of FreeCell can be solved! So, I can't just give up and say, "This is impossible!" It is possible and I'm just not patient enough or smart enough to figure it out.

Another problem is my competitive spirit. I've worked my way up from winning only occasionally to having won 85% of the time. And also, as of now, I am working on a winning streak of 41 games. Those make it hard to just stop. By the way, there are ways to cheat and throw away a game you can't solve so that it doesn't go into the lost column - but I don't do that. I use only the Undo method that the games allows.

So, it's not a terrible habit but it is a habit, of sorts, that takes time away from other things I could be doing. I'm going to try weaning myself off of FreeCell. We'll see how well I do.

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