Saturday, July 30, 2005

BOOM goes the dynamite

As many of you know, I've been approaching the 500-game milestone in Minesweeper Flags for a while now. Aided by approximately 70 games played in the last two weeks, it snuck up on me a lot faster than I expected. With ten games left to the milestone, I began reserving games for my bitterest rivals. My second-bitterest rival Adam was to play the penultimate game leading up to the big event and my fourth-bitterest rival Cameron was to play a game in there too, but due to scheduling difficulties and internet difficulties, respectively, my third-bitterest rival Rachel capably filled in. A couple of victories in my 498th and 499th games had me feeling good and ready to go.

There was only one person who I could play the big game against: Jim Dinning, my fiercest (and bitterest) rival. We've played many a three-game-rubber-that-becomes-a-seven-game-series. Excluding the first 20 games where he was a beginner and some 17-game win streak I had a month ago or so, our head-to-head record is quite close to .500.

Lately though his game wasn't quite up to the lofty standard he had set prior to (his) exam period. All that time writing, poring over legal texts, and speculating whether or not his roommate was balling another dude in the next room had tarnished his skills, it appeared. Combine that with the 17 straight wins I had against him and I wasn't even sure if he was the strongest player I knew anymore. But still he was the only choice.

I needn't have worried.

I got woken up early today, but couldn't get back to sleep because I wanted to get this 500th game over with, and because I am lame enough to allow such a thing to affect my decision-making. I dragged my ass out of bed, brushed my teeth, and made a beeline for the computer. Fortunately for me, Jim was online, or the suspense would have killed me. Well, probably not, but anyway, the game was on.

Even Jim acknowledged the gravity of the situation after a few moves.

Prior to the game, I had the sinking feeling that I would lose. I went ahead anyway, commending myself on pressing forward just for the love of the game. So, faced with exactly the risky choice Jim faced and declined (a 50/50 guess with the possibility of a blank), I decided I was going to have some balls and just give'r. No guts, no glory, right?

Cost me the game. Cost me the game.

Oh well. Notice the second 50/50 choice with a possibility of blank. Well, if it already happened once, what are the odds it'll happen again?

Cost me the game. Cost me the game.

When the smoke cleared it was 13-1 and I was in some serious trouble. Things didn't improve much, either: soon I was looking at 25-8 and my only hope was the bomb. Pardon me: da bomb. Maybe the Minesweeper gods would hand me a break on the big occasion, and I would get to triumphantly proclaim "BOOM goes the dynamite!"

No. It was not to be. I weakly typed "Good game as always, Jimothy" and that was that.

My first 500 games: 375-125, for a 75% winning percentage exactly.

To hammer home the point that his kung fu was bigger than my kung fu, Jim proceeded to beat me twice more. I'll never doubt you again. Cameron then beat me twice more, bringing me to 0-4 and five consecutive losses in total before I finally won one to put me at a highly underwhelming 20% in the post-500 era.

It's times like this that I like to look back at what I've accomplished. I've corrupted many of my friends and discovered that Minesweeper players come in all shapes and colours. Growing up, I was the only person I knew who actually enjoyed Minesweeper, but I've discovered since I started playing MF that not only are there lots of Minesweepers out there, they aren't the types you suspect either; it really does seem to be pretty random as to who plays and who doesn't, and who is actually good is a whole different question. It's little things like that that keep me warm at night.

Perhaps more interestingly, let's look at what I might have accomplished in the last six months were it not for discovering Minesweeper Flags. In this last six months, I might have:

  • Found an advisor
  • Found a research topic
  • Eaten more fruit

but I wouldn't trade the good times and trash talk that a good game of MF provides for any of that stuff.

Rivalries I have developed (records as of 6:00PM, July 30, 2005):

  1. Jim (83-49 head-to-head)
  2. Adam (56-18 head-to-head)
  3. Rachel (45-14 head-to-head)
  4. Cameron (34-12 head-to-head)

Classic moments in Minesweeper Flags:

  • Jowen spitefully closing the window after hitting blanks, thus lending his name to yet another cheap video game maneuver
  • Coining the terms "da bomb" (Jim), "SMF" (Adam), and "HDM" (Jim)
  • The first application of the phrase "BOOM goes the dynamite!" to a successful use of da bomb (Jim)

I look forward to the next 500 games.

Current Music: Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish


A Sheltered Town said...

I remember when I kicked your ass at MF.

Stevie K said...

This was an incredibly long post for something that most of us (meaning myself) consider to be pointless.

The other day, for the first time I finished a game of Minesweeper Flags. I won. My record is 1-0, which is a lot better than your paltry 75%.

A Sheltered Town said...

I loved this post, don't you dare listen to Steve K.

Dickolas Wang said...

Thanks Shelby, and don't worry, I never do.

Hardest Shot said...

You know, with only some minor tweaking, you could have been writing about foosball.

Oh, and I've been traveling a helluva lot lately, so I haven't been commenting much.

Dickolas Wang said...

It's so true. I think that'd be less pathetic though.

I've only played maybe 10 games of foosball this whole summer and I've lost every one. My excuse is that they don't have a good table like we have in the department, so I get all screwed up. The good news (for me) is that my wrists are no longer fatigued and I'm ready to take you on. Mofo.