But I love it. I love Minesweeper because it's a wonderfully maddening mix of logic and luck, NP-completeness and silliness, pointlessness and the opportunity to win a million dollars.
And it's an addiction of choice: I blogged once before about giving up Minesweeper for a year. It wasn't too hard, though I did pick up a decent Freecell habit (laced with occasional Solitaire) to compensate. And once New Year's Eve was here, I was right back in it. The point is: I really can quit any time I want.
While I like to see how fast I can beat a board, my main goal is to win. As often as possible. So if I get in a complicated situation, I'll take time to stop and think about it. I love the never-ending new situations that come up. To the right is a recent finish
that I liked a lot. There are two right answers for which mine to click, and two wrong answers; the proof is left as an exercise for the reader.
Apparently, I'm in a minority in caring about winning percentage. In the (minuscule) world of Minesweeper enthusiasts, it seems like the decision to keep track of win percentage is ridiculed in favor of obscure stats that tell you how fast you can go. I certainly couldn't find anyone via Google who kept track of best win percentages. But I am quite proud of my 33% (339 wins in 1000 games) on expert. (I was this close to getting to a 34% winning percentage, I'll have you know, but it just wasn't meant to be.) But fortunately the two goals--speed and winning percentage--aren't completely mutually exclusive. My best time is 80 seconds, which ain't too shabby.
It would be interesting to try to figure out what the maximum winning percentage is in the limit. There are a lot of games that come down to guessing, but I've been able to keep steady at about 33% for a good while, so I feel pretty comfortable proposing that as a lower bound. And while I certainly don't make optimum moves all the time, and human error creeps in for sure, I don't think a winning percentage too much higher than that is feasible in the long term. Maybe low 40's. That will be my first question when I get to heaven.
And thus concludes my random celebration of a beyond-meaningless milestone. Please share any Minesweeper anecdotes or thoughts on obscure addictions.