I don't play many computer games at all. Certainly none of the
big ones - no online games, no arcade style, no adventure games,
no wargames. And yes, I tried a couple of them, and gave them up
very quickly - just not my thing.
The reasons are simple:
In fact, I don't even consider computer games to be "games", really
- they're more puzzles to me.
- I game for social interaction. I don't get that from computer
games. Even an online game, with a living being on the other end,
doesn't satisfy this craving for interaction, because I don't care
for the interface - I prefer face-to-face.
- I work on the computer too much to want to spend my leisure
staring at the monitor.
With that said, there are a couple I play. In fact, I actually
had to delete some from my computer, as they were sucking up my
time. You know, Freecell, Bridge, Calculation Solitaire, Cribbage
- the usual time wasters. I don't play them any more, thank
The ones I still play are simply computer versions of classic games
- games I want to get better at. I don't play them often enough
to get sick of them, or enough to feel guilty about wasting time.
In fact, I don't even play them often enough to get better at them,
alas, so it kind of defeats the purpose. But I click on them once
in a while anyway.
The one I play most frequently (at least once a week) is called
Go-Moku. It's published by "The Good Guys, Inc.",
and is available as shareware on the net. The author's web site
is http://webhome.idirect.com/~doleg/gomoku/ if you're interested
- I was interested enough to register. (However, as of this date
he has only version 2.0 at his site - I actually prefer version
1.2. It's easier on the eyes, and version 2.0 has no
improvement in the AI or rules. Search the web for "gomoku12*".)
Go-Moku is a very old Japanese game of connecting five stones in
a row - sort of like an expanded tic-tac-toe with a much
larger board. I first learned it over 30 years ago, when a Japanese
foreign exchange student taught me how to play. (Hi, Sash!) It's
a great game - I love it. Go-Moku, I mean - the computer version
has some problems.
For one thing, it doesn't use the rules I was taught. I was taught
that you cannot create a three-three to win - that is, you cannot
place a stone to create two open-ended three-in-a-rows. This is
too easy, and is only allowed for novices and children. You must
win with either a four-three or a four-four. However, the computer
version allows three-threes. Bother. It also allows you to place
a stone linking six in a row, which is illegal. And it doesn't
warn me when it has an open-ended three or a four - it's impolite.
I was taught it was polite to announce "three" when you created an
open-ended three - sort of like saying "check" in chess.
Aside from that, it's not bad. The AI isn't real bright - you can
fool it into doing some silly, losing moves - but you can change
the programming in two ways: attack/defense and "randomness". When
I've gotten to the point where I can whup it pretty good at a given
setting, I nudge the setting a bit, and it plays differently. So I
really do get some practice at Go-Moku, even though it's not the best
Another game I play - about twice a month - is Awale.
Again, it's available as shareware on the net, and again I found
it good enough to register. Their website is
Awale, an old African game now played from Indonesia to the Caribbean,
is known by many names: Awari, Ayo, Oware, Dakar, Jodu, etc., etc.
It's in the mancala family, though not really that close to what
we call classic mancala. (If there really is such a thing - there
are well over a hundred different games played with a basic mancala
set, just as there are many games played with a standard deck of
This game comes with rules for, I think, 13 variants, and has three
levels of AI. I'm not very good at the game, so I haven't even
tried the master level yet - it beats me easily enough at amateur.
The variant I like the best is "non-ourous mode Awale", or whatever
it's called. (The version I first learned from an African in 1971.)
You can change the rules in many ways, which I like very much - I
like customizable games with lots of options. In fact, if the
Go-Moku game I have had this option, I would love it - change the
rules so it wouldn't accept three-threes, or six in a row, and to
tell me when it plays an open-ended three.
Awale is a very fine board game that I'd like to get good at - but
have a long way to go, alas. This program does help me, so I play
it. I don't have any complaints about it, though I might if I were
an expert at the game.
That's it - I don't play any other computer games, and am not
interested in learning any more! Oh, I suppose there may be some
other computer version of a classic board game I should try - but
I really do prefer face-to-face gaming, so it's okay that I don't
know about them.
There was one I used to play a lot, which I still would if
I could: Radio Baseball. But it's an old game with
copy protection on a 360K disk, so I can't play it any more. Best
computer baseball game I've ever seen - and I've tried and rejected
a fair few. It only had one glitch - once in a while, for no reason
I could ever figure out, it went wild with walks - it'd issue seven
or eight walks in a row, ruining the game. Didn't happen that
often, though. Wish I could still play it, but I donated my old
8088 to a school in a poor district, which still uses it, believe
it or not ...
You know, I miss that 8088. I wrote five books on that machine.
Since switching first to a 386 then a pentium, I have revised one
book and written one 28-page booklet. Go figure.
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