Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tao of FreeCell

Okay, I admit it. I'm addicted to FreeCell - that dumb game that comes preloaded on almost all new computers. I play it when I'm bored, I play it when I'm nervous, I play it 'cause I want to, I play it to up my score. (Which currently stands at 73% after I will not admit how many games.)

This game actually took me two tries (starting over) to win.

I rationalize my waste of time by telling myself I am warding off Alzheimer's by keeping my brain cells working. But actually, I've decided that my obsession with FreeCell has helped me in other areas of life - including writing.

Oh this is getting good now. Tell me more.

Okay. When I was a beginner, I only played the easy games. The ones with aces down low, so you can put them away easily. The ones without many high face cards on the bottom - yuck. And if you can't win a game, you just hit the button for New Game, right? That way it only counts as one loss in you statistics.

But the heck with statistics. I wanted to get better at the game (and it's not like anybody really cares about your score, right?) So now, if I come to a stuck place where there are no more moves, I start the game over and play again. (On really difficult games I may have to do this several times!) This plays havoc with your stats, but I'm stubborn, and each time I unlock the puzzle, it teaches me to be a better player.

So transpose that to writing. If you can't make your plot come out, or your characters behave, or if you get stuck somewhere in your manuscript, sometimes you have to do a Game Over, put it away, and restart it. Turn it around. Try a different track. Keep going until Something Works.

The same with publishing. Sometimes you just have to pick up and go down a different path.

The same with life, really. If something doesn't work, turn it around, try something else, until finally you find your way.

Boy, I'm really good at rationalization, huh? The Tao of FreeCell: How I learned everything about life from playing a card game on my computer.

So there you have it. Are you a FreeCell addict? Any other games you play instead?


L. Hild said...

I love this comparison! My dad used to be obsessed with FreeCell, and he had a streak of over 200 straight games going when I was little. He would freak out if we tried to play it on the computer he used in case we messed it up! But I was not nearly as skilled... And I agree - it's a lot more satisfying to me to do the difficult ones and redo it until I can finish it.

Linda Benson said...

Wow, Lauren. 200 straight games? Your dad must be brilliant. I think my best streak is probably 20 or 30. I've always thought if you start to do well, the game automatically throws harder ones at you, but probably not. LOL. But yeah, I love to work at 'em until I master them!

Dreaming said...

I love your logic =)
I have a friend who is an expert at justifying anything. She, like you, has fun ways to connect A to B, then B to C and finally get to where she wants to go.
As for Free Cell, I hadn't played it in years, but just played one for old time's sake. Years ago I decided that I would try to do the games in numerical order....I hate to admit it, but I was in the thousands. One of my friends claimed I had way too much time on my hands - I decided I probably could be doing something more constructive and lost track of where I was.
My new AAA (anti-Alzheimer's activities) include Sudoku and Spider solitaire and a word game on my Kindle.

Carol N Wong said...

I will try it out. I love, love Yukon and Klondite forms of Solitare. I have been lookng for Solitare software with more than
kinds like I used to have and so far I don't like what is out there.

I like to play some Solitare after I get done with my e-mails as a treat.

Carol Wong

Linda Benson said...

Dreamin and Carol - it's nice to know there are others that are mildly (or more LOL) obsessed with games. The human mind must delight in solving puzzles and riddles, do you think? Oh, and Dreamin - play the games in order? Don't even tell me that;-) *searches for Game One*

Dreaming said...

So, Linda, let me know how the numerical order thing is working out for you ;-)