Freecell Master Of The Universe
In the days before laptops, video games for me pretty much reached the apex in the Space Invaders/Asteroids era, and I never played them at home. I played them in bars, where it was a good way a) to kill time and b) avoid being stinking drunk by only 9:30pm. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, especially if one of them is constantly wrapped around a twelve-ounce Budweiser.
Of course, once one outgrows the bar scene which I plan to do any day now many of the things associated with it begin to lose their luster as well. I can’t shoot pool nearly as well as I used to, not that I was any sort of Mosconi Fats to begin with, but that is not the point.
But I am totally lost in today’s laptop gaming world. Nor do I own an X-Box, Playstation, or Wii (which looks to me like a misspelled abbreviation of World War II). I know nothing of controllers, game pads, or joysticks.
When I first got started on laptops, Tetris was all the rage. I tried it a few times, but soon lost interest. Then along came Solitaire. Vegas Solitaire. Vegas 3-Card Solitaire!
I was hooked. My co-workers and I set up marathon games on the single laptop in our workspace, going for days without rebooting. Woe unto him who wiped out our steadily increasing winnings. We didn’t care if it wasn’t real money. It was the thrill of the thing.
Then the world changed. I bought my first personal laptop. I landed a new job where, for the most part, I was working alone. The camaraderie that made marathon games of Vegas 3-Card Solitaire so enjoyable was no longer there. My gaming days, it seems, were finally at an end.
Then somebody showed me how to play Freecell.
I became a man obsessed. At first, the object was to win. Every loss was personal, every victory a reason for celebration. My winning percentage climbed into the 70-80 percent range, then into the 90s.
But it wasn’t enough. Winning was no longer the only thing. I wanted to win PRETTY. It became an OC thing, and I ain’t talking Orange County. The idea was to line up all my cards on my laptop screen in neat little rows, Kings on top, deuces on bottom, side by side, until clicking that last little card preferably the 48th releasing the aces and sending the whole deck skittering to the top as I basked in the beauty of it all :Freecell Master of The Universe.