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     My Top Ten Favorite PC Games
    Games: Computer Games
    I have ranked these in order of how many hours I have spent playing them. Some of them, Sim City and Civilization for example, I have spent many consecutive hours playing. Others, like the Solitaire games, have occupied my time for 20 minutes or so on numerous occasions. I have never owned a computer with greatly advanced video capabilities, so I have never really played some of the action or first person shooter games that most people seem to find enjoyable.

    Interestingly, four card games, three of them solitaire games, made the list. If you had spent as much time as I had playing cards games, you would certainly appreciate that the computer handles the mundane details of shuffling and dealing so that you can spend more time actually playing.

    1.) Arachnid Solitaire
    Written by Ian Heath, a computer science professor at the University of Southampton in the UK, this program has been my number one relaxation game. It is a two-deck solitaire game based upon the Spider solitaire game. It came on a bargain game diskette with several other games for Windows 3.x. I eventually found a 32-bit version. Ian managed to get the user interface just right, especially the single click play when only one option is available for the selected card stack. Companion Software is one of the many companies that published this game. It also appeared on many freeware and shareware CDs. No new versions are planned and it is difficult to find the original. I currently have no author links, although there are many places where you can find arachnid. The sixteen-bit version, which in my opinion plays better than the 32-bit version, can be found here:

    2.) Sim City
    The original Sim City for DOS is the only game I have ever played overnight until morning. I had to get ready to go to work. I purchased the game and began playing it immediately. I later bought the Windows 3.x version for my new PC. I bought Sim City 2000 when it came out and only the DOS version was available. I bought the Urban Renewal Kit, but could not use it with my version of Sim City. Later I bought Sim City 3000. I have yet to purchase Sim City 4, because I do not have a good enough graphics card on my computer. Each version of Sim City has brought more to the table. Sim City 2000 was probably the biggest leap with the view turned 3D. Sim City 3000 brought more graphic detail. Looking back at Sim City, it seems primitive. But at the time it was quite sophisticated.

    3.) Civilization
    Sid Meier’s Civilization from 1991 is also well known in computer gaming circles. I myself have spent countless hours in front of a PC playing this turn based strategy game. Civilization is one of the most popular games series of all time and has been released in a new incarnation as Civilization IV.
    The purpose of Civilization is to start with settlers and begin a city. Once the city population begins to grow, more settlers can go out and found more cities. You need to defend your cities against barbarians and neighbor civilizations, so you build military units. You also want to advance your civilization cultural, so you build buildings and research scientific discoveries. The winner of Civilization is the one who defeats all the others OR builds a spaceship and arrives at a neighboring planet. The dual end game scenario appears to pacifists and warmongers alike.
    Helpful tips, links, reviews, and articles on Civilization can be found at the Civilization Fanatics web site.
    A freeware version of Civilization called FreeCiv is also available. It replicates the features found in Civilization I and II. It also can be played with other players on a network.

    4.) Ultimate Cribbage
    Ultimate Cribbage was written by Keith Westley in 1993 and released as Cribbage for Windows 95. Once Windows 95 became old hat it was re-released as Ultimate cribbage and got to version 5.52 before stagnating in 1998. Keith created a project on SourceForge to rewrite and release a C# version, but no work has been done since.
    The Ultimate Cribbage web site is, but apparently the download is no longer available there so you will have to hunt for it. I hope Keith gets around to completing the project, but with anything you find on Sourceforge, once it hits a dead end, that is about it.

    5.) Snood
    Snood is a video-console-style puzzle game. The pieces in the game are called Snoods. Each turn, the player launches a randomly selected Snood into the board. If the Snood attaches to two or more other Snoods of the same type, all connecting Snoods of that type vanish and any unattached pieces underneath drop free. The player's score increases with the number of Snoods eliminated. With each Snood launched, the danger level on a danger meter increases. When the danger level reaches the top, all the Snoods in play lower one level. If any Snoods reach the lowest level of the playing field (like in Space Invaders), the game is over.
    Snood is written by Dale Dobson, an assistant professor in the geology department at Guilford College. Guilford is located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Snood has a bit of a cult following. Snood would be a good game for the game console folks to pick up, as it has that kind of appeal. One of the nice things about Snood is that there is not a shot clock on most levels. You are able to carefully select your shot each time without worrying about the game ending.

    6.) Risk
    The Risk board game from Parker Brothers was a popular entertainment vehicle for our group during our high school years. Later world conquest games like Axis and Allies just did not have the same flair. The object of risk is to place your armies in different provinces on different continents to start. Each player then attacks a neighbor on a turn-by-turn basis to take over that territory. Each victory in battle gains another territory and a Risk card. A set of Risk cards may be turned in for more armies in an arithmetically progressing scale. Armies are normally awarded at the beginning of a turn by determining how many territories a player owns. Having possession of an entire continent also earns a player more armies.

     A group of programmers has made a Java version of Risk called JRisk freely available.
    The artificial intelligence is still in the works, but it plays pretty well. The commercial version from Atari Risk II is available quite reasonable and has much more sophisticated graphics and better artificial intelligence play.

    7.) Colonization
    After Civilization was released, Colonization was the next turn based strategy game from Microprose (now part of Atari) in 1994. The objective is to colonize the new world as a European power. Colonization was a much like Civilization in that you worked towards advancements. In Colonization you get political power advances as opposed to conceptual advances. The real excitement kicks in when you finally declare independence and fight off the European invasion force. Unlike Civilization, there is only one end-game scenario and that is to defeat the mother country’s invasion force once independence has been declared. The game probably has not been reborn because of some criticism leveled at it. One bit of criticism is that no mention is made of the slave labor economy. My own observation is that to be successful you must eradicate both the Native tribes as well as the competing European colonists. While not very politically correct; all-out war is a dirty reality of social and historic simulations. Civilization is also a brutal war game, with Nuclear weapons as an option. But, it has not been heaped with criticism like Colonization. History is always subject to revisionist criticism. But I will say I learned more about the historical figures in Colonization than I did in school. Colonization CDs can be found for sale on eBay.

    A group of programmers is working on a free Java version called FreeCol. They are currently at version 0.4 which has limited game play. So this is quite a ways off.

    8.) Pretty Good Solitaire
    This is one of the few shareware applications good enough for which to pay full price. Thomas Warfield wrote this program and put it out for others to try and then buy. The game contains all of the commonly played variations of one and two-deck Solitaire games. In addition, you can design your own. It is a solitaire lovers dream. Interestingly though, I prefer Ian Heath’s Arachnid to the Spider Solitaire on Pretty Good Solitaire.

    9.) Microsoft Solitaire
    This application deserves a nod. It is probably the most played and most widely distributed computer game in the world. It would be tough to say how much work productivity has been shot by employees playing this game. Most corporate IT departments have made it a policy to not install the game. Wes Cherry, now a computer programmer for Techosis, created Solitaire in 1989 while working as an intern for Microsoft. Solitaire was a self-initiated project by which he hoped to hone his programming skills and to make for his own enjoyment a diversion that would run on the then-new operating system called Windows. A supervisor looked over Wes’ shoulder one day, and Windows history was made. Wes had to remove the Boss’s key feature which showed random C code. Solitaire carried over into Windows 95 as a 32-bit version. A version of Solitaire ships with Windows XP. And it will probably be in Windows Vista too! As an intern, Wes was never paid any royalties for his development. (One penny a copy, which is all he asks…..)  Of course, there were some known problems with his code….;en-us;58384

    10.) Populous
    Populous was the first “god” game for PCs that I ever played. I bought it to have something to play on an original IBM pc (4.77mhz!) It fit on one diskette.While that seemed an extraordinary amount of space at the time, it was amazing how detailed the graphics were even in CGA. I was intrigued by the concept of controlling a population and growing a civilization. These are two basic ideas behind Sim City and Civilization as well.

    Lots of information about Populous can be found

    The leader of the Populous development team, Peter Molyneaux, has recently had a hand in the newly released “god” game called Black and White 2. Here is the link to that site.

    Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 @ 13:04:30 UTC by BB
    "My Top Ten Favorite PC Games" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment
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    Solitaire for the Windows Vista (Score: 1)
    by BB on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 @ 07:17:50 UTC
    (User Info )
    Chris Sells is a Microsoft Programmer.

    He is working on the new version of Solitaire to ship with Windows Vista. []

    It features scaling of the cards as the window resizes, real-time drag 'n' drop of the cards, and solitaire-like card stacking.

    He talks about it in this video on the MSDN Channel 9 outlet.

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