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Games Entertainment

All Work And No Play ... 251

Posted by timothy
from the doctor-what-about-my-gamboling-addiction dept.
Clifton Forlines writes: "Jupiter Media Metrix released a report on Monday about PC gaming - here's one of the more interesting tidbits: 'Similar to past years, Microsoft Windows-bundled games dominated the top rankings in October 2001: Solitaire was number one, with 21.3 million users.' A little math tells us that americans spent about 24 million man-hours in October on Solitarie (estimating that each user spent a little more than an hour over the whole month) That corresponds to about 1 million man-days, or around 2740 man-years! For comparison, I looked up these numbers... Empire State Building: 7 million man-hours (a mere 9 days of Solitaire), Panama Canal: 20 million man-hours (a mere 26 days of Solitaire), Apollo project: 15.5 billion man-hours (or a mere 52 years of Solitaire) Think about it!"
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All Work And No Play ...

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  • by PD (9577) <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:01PM (#2733124) Homepage Journal
    Hmmmm. That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?
    • Different scale... The average Solitaire player is not of the mental capacity to affect slashdot, so one hour of their time only counts for about 20 seconds of slashdot time...
    • Hmmmm. That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?

      if you are referring to Slashcode development, perhaps you are thinking of the "monkeys with typewriters" analogy...
    • That's amazing. I wonder how many billions of Solitaires go into a single Slashdot?
      The difference, of course, is that one is generally used as a mindless diversion while one should be doing real work, and the other is a card game.

      --
      Humour through misdirection: I could write for Angel!
    • My favorite article was when slashdot went crazy because the DoJ was spending a few hundred thousand on an anti-hacking education program for kids.

      It seemed like the amount of money (measured by person-hours) spent reading the article and posting nasty rants about the DoJ involved far more money than the measly few hundred k allocated by the DoJ :)

  • no mention of freecell? that takes as much playing time, so double those stats
  • Gaming Improves Us! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sierpinski (266120)
    There has been a lot of research done that shows that playing games not only improves critical thinking skills (like with games like Myst, etc), but also can improve hand-eye coordination with the fast paced shooter type games. (Quake3, etc).
    • That was part of the justification for having solitare installed on machines at work. Solitare supposedly helps develop the player's mousing skills which is then assumed to increase productivity for all other tasks in the point-and-click windows interface.

      Don't know if that's really true?
      • That was part of the justification for having solitare installed on machines at work. Solitare supposedly helps develop the player's mousing skills which is then assumed to increase productivity for all other tasks in the point-and-click windows interface.

        Nice joke!
        ...Oh. It wasn't a joke?

        You can improve mouse skills by simply doing work with pointing and clicking on little buttons and stuff. There's realy no need for solitaire.

        Good thing the boss doesn't think this way...

    • Myst does not improve critical thinking skills.

      The only critical thought one needs when playing Myst is 'where is the off button?'
  • I can't think about the implications of this right now, I'm supposed to be re-engineering software systems but I'm just about to win my Solitaire game.
    --Charlie
  • Come on, we need to make a concerted effort to get Minesweeper up to number 1! I mean, it's available on many different platforms (Minus the Microsoft copyright, at least) so there's got to be more than 21 million users of Minesweeper!


    Minesweeper forever!!!

    • Come on. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Krapangor (533950)
      Solitaire has a much better plot than minesweeper, is less violent and enhances you illectual capacity.
      It runs on more platforms than minesweeper, there are even forms of solitaire which run without an computer or any electric power !

      Why should we even consider playing minesweeper ?
      It's obviously much worse.

      • Re:Come on. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ComaVN (325750)
        hey, minesweeper is played without computers or electricity by millions of kids around the world too! Now there's a fun game for all to enjoy.

        Particularly the version where the mines are actually disguised as really neat wristwatches and stuff like that.
  • Solitaire? No I've spent many a man hour on minesweeper, I swear if that site that lets you play minesweeper for money online would allow florida based credit cards, I'd be rackig in the dough :)
  • What about TV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ever stop to think how much *MORE* time Americans spend watching TV than playing solitaire (etc).?
  • The solution to people wasting time on games is to spend more valuable time figuring out how the wasted time scales to modern achievements.

    On that note, why am I replying..
  • by typical geek (261980) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:04PM (#2733151) Homepage
    If we could just convince all the women that they really don't need orgasms, we could cut down the hours needed for sex to about 5 minutes each time.
  • by oooga (307220) <oooga@[ ].net ['usa' in gap]> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:05PM (#2733159)
    The difference here is that most skyscrapers and canals require _actual physical labor_, not just moving a mouse. Plus, most people play Solitaire as a break, so their potential productivity during Solitaire-playing hours is low.
  • I've spent many an hour on bubblet for my palm III. It's the most addictive game I've ever played. Good way to look like you're doing work while you're not, as with all palm games.
  • inspiring (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by bigpat (158134)
    It is truly inspiring that one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building, was built in under a year. I was just there last weekend and visited the tower for the first time.

    It was both a humbling experience and encouraging. People can do both great and horrible things when working in concert. We just need good ideas to rally around, rather than sitting idly by or doing repetitive tasks.

    Anyone want to help me with my spaceship?
  • To keep the mind safe. Just think about all the
    work you could do while you sleep. But if you
    don't sleep the next day you can't work.
  • heh.. seeing Minesweeper on the list reminded me of WinFlower and the ICBW (International Campaign to Ban Winmine)... anybody try out that game? you can find it here [unimi.it]. btw, it's java-based
  • Linux will continue to be an afterthought in the OS world without a solid bundle of games that come pre-installed. Hearts, Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc. have all become classics and are many users' introduction to computers. Can you think of one Linux game as imaginative or innovative as Minesweeper or Freecell? I sure can't.

    Until Linux distros wake up and realize that packaging high quality games with their installations will guarantee their success, Linux will remain a minor thorn in Microsoft's side.

    Microsoft knows what's important when bundling their OS: games and entertainment. Redhat, Debian, etc. just need to wake up and follow their lead.
    • please tell me you're not serious...
    • I'm still rather new to the Linux world, but my Mandrake distro came with more games than I can count, including Tux Racer, Tetris (clones), Boulderdash, PySol (Freecell, Solitaire, Tuts Tomb, and many other card games), etc.
    • Hahah. This is certainly an amusing post. Send me an e-mail (n1tr0g3n=at=gmx.net) some time and I'll send you a screen shot of all the games I've got that came with my Linux distribution. You know what? I even have Solitaire, Freecell, and Minesweeper (probably two different versions of each, one for Gnome and one for KDE).

      Gaming is certainly an addiction. I recommend Uplink (posted here on /. a little while back). My brother won't touch it because it doesn't have blood, and the interface isn't in 3D, but I'd take Uplink over Quake 2 any day.

      If anything, Linux comes with too much bundled software, causing it to load more slowly as the icons are drawn in the K menu (which is why I predominantly use Blackbox).
  • by Pinball Wizard (161942) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:08PM (#2733179) Homepage Journal
    and the like. Most of us just don't interact with these people, unless they are our grandparents.


    Consider the man hours needed to produce Hoyle's Poker vs. Quake3. Its glamorous to do the latter, but I bet the former makes a lot more profit.


    I've always avoided game programming simply because I know it would require me to give up virtually everything else I enjoy doing with computers(databases, web programming, sysadminning). You have to be pretty dedicated to be any good at it. However, if I was to start a game company, it would definitely start out producing simpler games for older customers, then perhaps move to making bigger 3D action games once I made enough to hire more people.

  • Just how much does it cost to 'play' Empire State Building or Panama Canal? It costs me more to just visit those places then to sit and let my mind waste away watching cards flip over on my monitor... ;^]
    • Just how much does it cost to 'play' Empire State Building or Panama Canal?

      Last time I checked, the "players" of those two "games" were paid to play--not the other way around. Of course, the same could probably be said for most of the Solitaire players out there as well...

  • by fizzboy (6686)
    Those people should be playing Freecell.
  • by dstone (191334) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:09PM (#2733190) Homepage
    Ask yourself this: do you really want the type of person who finds fulfillment playing Solitaire and Minesweeper to divert his/her attention to building the next skyscraper or hydroelectric project? Please, no!
    • by renehollan (138013) <rhollan@@@clearwire...net> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @05:05PM (#2734029) Homepage Journal
      A socialist friend of mine used that argument to justify a 90-90% unemployment rate: if we could just feed, clothe, and house people who messed up the work we did, we'd be more than 20 times more efficient with the same effort, and could easily afford the astronomical taxes to support the welfare state that would result.

      Being a libertarian, I said a few disparaging words upon hearing this suggestion, but I have to admit, he had a point.

      Of course the proper counter is, having increased my efficiency 2000% or more, why shouldn't I reap the benefits? Because you didn't stop me? Is that a threat? There are other ways of getting threatening freeloaders out of the way...

      • Hmm. Sadly, being a socialist myself, I have to say that anyone who used that argument aginst you is a fool.

        Socialism is about the most good for the community, not how to make one person more productive. The most good for a community actually involves having most people feeling productive. When people do not feel productive, they get bored. When they get bored, they start mucking around. When people start mucking around, the bell shaped curve idicates that a certain percentage will turn to crime. The more the people who are bored, the longer the tail on the curve...

        Socialism is not about raping the productive individual, but rather, the individual not raping the society.

        To counter your argument, just because someone is born a cripple, is that reason to make them lve on the street?

        Using your text, I suspect that the answer would be euthanasia, but, as I recall, that is illegal in America....

        Anyway, to make this vaguely on topic, if you brush your teeth, as dentists recommend, twice a day, three minutes a time, that is roughly 3 hours a month just wasted. Better kill all those people with clean teeth too.

        If you drink one coffee a day, assuming 1 minute to walk to the machine, get the coffe etc, then you are wasting a 1/2 hour per month. Better kill those people who like coffee as well. They are just robbing you of your riches!

        If you get stuck in a traffic jam, then you, along with the thousand or so others, could easily build a new freeway to alleviate the congestion. Hmm, maybe I have the answer to road rage here....

        Relaxation has nothing to do with Socialism vs. Capitalism. In a true capitalist society, you make money so that you can enjoy it. And guess what, that is what we "socialists" call relaxation.

        • Sorry, I find your points somewhat rambling, but I will try to respond.

          First, my friend was not using the 99% forced unemployment as an example of socialism -- he was arguing that in a socialist society, where the unemployable are supported, it is not morally wrong to deny them work because of incompetence, and might be more efficient, overall.

          Socialism is about the most good for the community, not how to make one person more productive. The most good for a community actually involves having most people feeling productive. When people do not feel productive, they get bored. When they get bored, they start mucking around. When people start mucking around, the bell shaped curve idicates that a certain percentage will turn to crime. The more the people who are bored, the longer the tail on the curve...

          How can you define what is "good for the community", if not in terms of what is good for individual members? Further, "feeling productive" does not put food on the table -- being productive does. And when people do not see the fruits of their labour as benifiting them directly, they tend to be less productive. The horse requires the carrot, in other words.

          Socialism is not about raping the productive individual, but rather, the individual not raping the society.

          Ah, but "raping society" is invariably defined as "not sharing the fruits of your labour" often to a degree decided by others. I'd define "raping society" as living off the fruits of others' labour, without their consent. Let me provide an example: my father died because he could not save up enough money to travel to the U.S. for a lifesaving operation -- his taxes having gone to pay for a social healthcare system that had collapsed to the point of not being technically capable of providing the required surgery (which, admittedly has only a 70% recovery rate). He certainly earned enough money over his life to pay for that operation, but, alas, it was taken and given to others. Should we debate whether society is better off because, perhaps, someone else's life was saved?, or even more lives were saved? Socialism, as practiced, in Canada, reached the point where the state decided who lived and who died (there being a celebrated case of someone dying of a broken leg because they had to wait in line too long for care). Note: I am not bitter because of my father's death -- I was a libertarian for many years before that event, but I do note that Canada's brand of socialism certainly accelerated it, and surely the deaths of others.

          To counter your argument, just because someone is born a cripple, is that reason to make them lve on the street?

          They can live wherever they can afford, or from what charity is available to them. Certainly I am not responsible for their state of affairs? Should others have to feed me because I am disadvantaged in that I am not a stellar athlete? I have also met many so called "cripples" that were quite capable of supporting themselves at least as well as I support myself.

          Using your text, I suspect that the answer would be euthanasia, but, as I recall, that is illegal in America....

          Why kill someone if they do not want to die? I do not understand.

          Anyway, to make this vaguely on topic, if you brush your teeth, as dentists recommend, twice a day, three minutes a time, that is roughly 3 hours a month just wasted. Better kill all those people with clean teeth too.

          Now, I really don't understand the relevance of this.

          If you drink one coffee a day, assuming 1 minute to walk to the machine, get the coffe etc, then you are wasting a 1/2 hour per month. Better kill those people who like coffee as well. They are just robbing you of your riches!

          Oh, I see, you're equating inefficiency in others with a lack of productivity in the productive. That wasn't my friend's point. Such people have a neutral effect (unless the coffe machine crowd is so noisy as to be a distraction). His point was that many workers actively impede productivity. A better example would be a policy (and yes, this is an exagerated example) where one had to change all 1's in a file to 2's, by hand, and being forbidden to use sed to automate the process because (a) not everyone knows sed, and (b) it makes other's "look bad".

  • I thought about it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nf1nk (443791)
    I thought about, and it it hurts, but it points to an interesting thought, is solitare a good game on the PC.
    It just isn't but for some stupid reason I keep playing it.
    The interesting thing about the article is that it shows more than ever that graphics and speed are unimportant to the quality of the game. Right after the bundled games were and I quote
    October 2001were (Electronic Arts) Maxis' The Sims, with 1.6 million users; Microsoft's Age of Empires, with 805,000 users; (Vivendi Universal) Blizzard's Diablo II with 624,000 users; and (Electronic Arts) Westwood's Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun with 563,000 users.
    none of these are visualy very impressive, but they all share one common theme anyone can play them with ease.
    conclusion gameplay over style every time
  • by Mike Schiraldi (18296) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:10PM (#2733194) Homepage Journal
    This is a disgrace, the way people waste their time at work. It's cheating their employer, too.

    I'd write more, but i don't want my boss to see me on Slashdot.


  • Here's what I really want to know:

    - How many man-hours are spent by people reading/posting to SlashDot?

    You gotta figure there's millions of hours spent by young smart programmer's minds reading this stuff instead of writing code. Think of all the great improvements that could have been made to the world's software if we hadn't been wasting time on this website!?

    Maybe Slashdot can add some rough time-calculating scripts to slashcode for tracking user hours spent.

    • You gotta figure there's millions of hours spent by young smart programmer's minds reading this stuff instead of writing code. Think of all the great improvements that could have been made to the world's software if we hadn't been wasting time on this website!?

      I guess you don't program... Cause from where I'm sitting, if I didn't take a few minutes every hour to do something other than programming, there would be a ten fold increase in the amount of crap code I write... Programmers aren't machines, we need a mental break too...
  • Funny numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snake_dad (311844) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:10PM (#2733201) Homepage Journal
    But not that amazing. It just means that if 23 million people each spend one hour digging, the Panama canal could have been finished in less then a month. There would be some elbowing ofcourse, and maybe Panama would have sunk by itself with al those people standing in spot...

    The point is, if you choose the statistics that you compare to carefully, you can make anything seem amazing. Compare hours spent playing solitaire to hours spent while brushing teeth, and suddenly he numbers don't seem so amazing anymore.
    • I absolutely agree. If I had mod points I'd mod this up. Humans need down time. You can only work so long before you need to stare at the wall for a few hours. Comparing these numbers to big projects of human engineering really doesn't mean a whole heap of alot. Now if by playing a game as simple as solitaire we could accomplish feats of grandeur, that would be something.
    • Re:Funny numbers (Score:3, Informative)

      by gorilla (36491)
      It just means that if 23 million people each spend one hour digging, the Panama canal could have been finished in less then a month.

      No, it couldn't. This is the mythical man month, which was truely debunked in the book of the same name. Each project has it's optimal size. If you don't have enough people, then the project will fail or take longer than neccessary. However, if you have too many people, then the project will also fail or take longer than necessary.

      This is especially true when you think of overall design, or other tasks which cannot be sub-divided. If you split the design work into 10 units, then you could well have either a canal where the two ends don't meet in the middle, or your designers spend longer in meetings deciding on the route instead of just doing it.

      • Yeah, you are right ofcourse. I just tried to show the absurdity of comparing those numbers. Just try to think how you would feed those 23 million, how many more you would need to dispose of the digged up mud, how to avoid "traffic jams" of people walking with shovels and inadvertantly hitting each other with them. Oh, and sanitary conditions? Scary... :-)

        Anyway, the Panama canal killed enough workers originally. When contemplating the magnitude and grandeur of such a giant project we should remember that a lot of lives were lost in the creation of it. Come to think of it, this may even support your point.
    • Cool! (Score:3, Funny)

      by sterno (16320)
      So if everybody gave up the time that they spent showering, that could easily be like... well let's see:

      Let's assume roughly 170 million people in the US who aren't too old or too young to be useful. Then let's assume they each shower for roughly 15 minutes a day on average. That is 42.5 million man hours per day spent showering. At that rate:

      Emprie State Building: Under 4 hours
      Panama Canal: Half a day
      Apollo project: 36 days

      So the empire state building and panama canal are easy. The apollo project is doable, but I doubt anybody would want to fly on it. Man would that thing smell bad.
    • I agree totally... if we could similarly stack people like this, imagine what could get done...

      6,480 women could have a baby in an hour!
      388,800 women could have a baby in a miunte!
      23,328,000 women could have a baby in a second!

      Now, while I doubt I could handle all of those women, I would certainly be willing to try...
  • If you assume a lifespan of 76 years than that programmer has robbed the world of the equivalent of 36 lives. Worse than Jeffery Dahmer.
  • I think when you measure man-hours, you have to measure the quality of the person. The Empire State building was built by 7 million man-hours put in by some of American's finest citizens and workers. Men died building that building. And don't even get me started on the Apollo project. To compare the work that these men did quantitatively with the the work of millions of unproductive Windows-bound office drones wasting their employers money goofing off at work is a disrespect to the qualitative difference between these groups of people.

    My grandfather worked on the Apollo project; granted his role was small, he helped to turn down the radio stations operating in Apollo 13's band when it was operating under power due to difficulty. But without even his minor contribution men could have died. To compare the work of brave men in the same tally as lazy overpriveleged goof-offs is a damned insult.

    Sorry if I come of as irate; it's because I am.
    • Lighten Up! Geez, who pissed on your wheaties?
      • Lighten Up! Geez, who pissed on your wheaties?

        Look, I'm sorry if I seem upset, it's just that this whole "comparison" between people who are considered America's heros and people who are doing their best to destroy the economy by cheating American business really pisses me off!.

        Who pissed on my Wheaties? Probably someone who dragged a company into the ground playing Minesweeper at work. It takes the same destructive attitude.
    • Meanwhile, we're posting comments on /.

      Oops.
    • No disrespect to your Grandfather ...

      ... but men have died playing solataire as well.

      gus
    • To compare the work of brave men in the same tally as lazy overpriveleged goof-offs is a damned insult.


      I agree that people should take responsibility for using their own time productively. However, let's not ignore the toxic organizational environment in some companies that actually discourages personal contribution or penalizes it (no good deed goes unpunished).

      Maybe the "lazy overprivileged goof-offs" are the managers of these people, who can't seem to find them anything to do that's more interesting than Solitaire. Yes, in an ideal world each person would manage themselves. But since we live in THIS world, it falls upon the manager to motivate and develop the people who report to them, instead of frustrating them so much they escape into games instead of doing their work.
  • If Solitaire was not bundled any more with Windows:
    Hours lost due to nervous breakdown by people not being able to relax and let off some steam using solitaire at work: 21.3 * 1 day * 3% ~ 5 million man-hours (60 floors of the Empire State Building?). Hours lost frantically searching the internet and trying to bypass the company firewall to get the darn game back: 21.2 * 2 = 42.4 million man-hours (2 Panama Canals). Damage provoqued by irrate postal workers deprived of their favorite game: 852285 * 0.001 * 20 years ~ 27 million man-hours (one more Panama Canal and an Empire State Building, we're starting to run out of Panama to dig new canals...).

    As they say, 87.3% of all statistics are made up.

  • Here's the one I can't believe:
    #30 Deer Hunter 364,000 unique users.

    I'm going to give away the secret to winning right here:

    1) Be sure to get at least three six-packs on the way to the stand. You can't win without them.
    2) Make sure Bubba drinks more of them than you.
    3) Piss into Bubba's box of ammo to prevent him from getting a deer.
    4) Tell Bubba you're headed into town for more beer.
    5) Drive on Rt. 17
    6) Hit the deer that jumps out near mile marker 248.
    7) Put the deer in the back of the truck.
    8) Return home, leaving Bubba on the stand.
    9) Victory!! You bagged more deer than Bubba!
  • by (H)elix1 (231155) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:17PM (#2733248) Homepage Journal
    I've found Solitare a great way to introduce the idea of double click, single click, and drag for those who really don't know beans about this computer thing. That app was the moment of zen for my Mom, and I hear others with similar stories.
  • Perhaps you have read The Mythical Man-Month, Anniversary Edition : Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks [amazon.com]... The peculiarly nonlinear economies of scale in collaborative work and the nature of individuals and groups means that such comparisons are amusing, at most. If it takes 1 boy 60 minutes to mow a lawn, does it take 60 boys 1 minute?
  • Now do the math for television. I imagine the average in the US is at least an hour a day of television viewing. Truly a waste.

    -josh
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:21PM (#2733276) Homepage
    Give me an NT server w/ 3D pinball in the backoffice anyday. That's the reason they put video drivers in kernel space you know.
  • You don't need the Apollo project. Why, you can get five or six kick-ass spaceships from Galaga alone!
  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:22PM (#2733282) Journal
    Perhaps there is a question to ask: What was it people were doing that they had that kind of time to play solitary?

    Cumulative hours waited for internet to download this year [osearth.com]

    I was just using mapquest and it seems that IE wants to download everything, even what you have already downloaded once.

    Geee, I suppose I do have time to play solitary.
  • Well Hell! (Score:2, Funny)

    by cavemanf16 (303184)
    If mind-numbing games like Solitaire, FreeCell, and Minesweeper are all that's keeping Linux off the desktop of millions of users, why doesn't KDE and Gnome just start including a quick link to Entertainment -> FreeCell, Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Pinball on thier desktop systems too?! Forget about office productivity suites, set us up the minesweeper! ;)
  • No mention of Q3A???

    Actually, quite lacking in FPS's...
  • The real scourge of productivity has once again been left out. Billions of man-hours are lost each month in the US alone. A company with ten employees is losing, on average, over 1000 man-hours per month. That is over 40 Man-days!

    Please, let's eliminate this awful practice of "sleeping." Those 6 hours a day should be spent working!
  • I mean, seriously. A Beowulf cluster of solitaire players is not going to build the next Big Blue.

    OTOH, maybe they'll give us the Ultimate Question...
  • Kinda Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dytin (517293) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:30PM (#2733329) Homepage
    It's kinda ironic that the subject of the post is "All work and no play...". If anyone remembers the end of that saying, its "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". In other words, people need some time to play, or else they become dull. The funny thing is, the poster rambles on about how much more could have been done for the world if people didn't play. But would the world be worth living in if everyone was dull?


  • IF people could be just ALITTLE more serious, perhaps we wouldnt be having economy trouble, terrorist attacks, problems with virii, hackers, worms.

    Instead of using your computer to play stupid games, use your computer to do stuff thats important and play a game no more than a half hour to an hour per week.
    • by daeley (126313) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:53PM (#2733507) Homepage
      IF people could be just ALITTLE more serious, perhaps we wouldnt be having economy trouble, terrorist attacks, problems with virii, hackers, worms.
      Instead of using your computer to play stupid games, use your computer to do stuff thats important and play a game no more than a half hour to an hour per week.


      You know, most economists and terrorists (meatspace and cyber) I know of are severely serious people. If they had a fscking modicum of playfulness in their bodies, much less a sense of humor, we would probably have a lot fewer recessions and suicide bombers.

      Now that we've put economists and terrorists in the same boat, let's throw you in -- a /. flamebait-poster who really needs to get out more and have some fun. ;-)
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:33PM (#2733348) Homepage Journal
    people wasted the same amount of time by:

    * watching TV
    * masturbating
    * sitting around thinking of ways to avoid doing something
    * bowling
    * watching bowling on TV
    * reading Danielle Steel novels
    ad nauseum...

    People will "waste time" because humans can't work 24/7. We're primates, for Chrissakes.. have you ever seen primates in a zoo? "Wasting time" is all they do!

    Video games are just a way of wasting the same amount of time in a different way.

  • by bourne (539955) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:34PM (#2733355)

    Now what we need is some game that provides a playable veneer over an actual problem that benefits from human judgement. Kind of like Seti@Home benefits from all the idle computer power out there. Humans are capable of inuition and pattern discrimination that computers are not, and a game would be an excellent way to apply massive amounts of distributed human analysis to an appropriate problem.

    Has anyone got an appropriate problem? I'm thinking that somewhere in the vast field of genetics there's got to be some problem that humans can work on better than computers, next step is to turn it into a game and getting it bundled with your favorite (or least favorite ;>) operating system...

    • Now what we need is some game that provides a playable veneer over an actual problem that benefits from human judgement
      Consider Everquest. I've never played it (would get way too addicted) but hear that people have jobs in it, such as making shirts or swords or whatever. Now, no real-world good comes from this time, because you're pretending to be putting physical work into a physical product.
      Most slashdot users however spend most of their days doing various forms of information-processing. Replace "making shirts" with "writing a perl/python script to do x", perhaps you could find some way of doing that without even breaking the Middle Earth setting, and WHAMO, people's productivity skyrockets.
    • Actually... when I worked for a semiconductor firm a couple years ago, someone seriously suggested writing a place-and-route game for FPGA's. This is an area that's difficult for software to do optimally, and is highly puzzle-like.
  • That's why humanity won't build no more major wonders anymore. We'll spend our lives playing games.

  • Solitare on Mac (Score:3, Informative)

    by mattkime (8466) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:39PM (#2733383)
    While its not pre-installed, for years it was the first shareware Mac users would come in contact with - Klondike! The mac equivilant of solitare for windows. I believe MS may have even copied Klondike, as it was originally created on a Mac Lisa in 1984.

    Anyways, this past week I discovered that not only has Klondike been ported to Mac OS X, but that it still runs on a Mac Plus with System 6! Thats right, the same binary can be run on a Motorola 68000 processor running an operating system without multitasking (unless you count MultiFinder) AND run on a machine with a total of 1.6 gigaherts with a fuly modern operating system, including protected memory.

    Perhaps some day my mom will be ready to switch to Mac OS X.
  • by joeflies (529536)
    for supporting one of the top Windows applications, and especially allowing me to minimize without the evidence showing up on the task window.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @03:42PM (#2733407) Homepage Journal
    A while back some clever folks worked out how to "steal" distributed processing by getting systems on the internet to compute checksums for them.

    If we could apply something similar to the game of Solitaire, there could be millions to be made! After all, Solitaire is just a sorting problem.

  • As noted time and time again by those opposed to game violence, just a casual glance reveals that the Most Popular games are also the Most Violent.

    For example, just take a look at number 21 : HOYLE SOLITAIRE. HOYT SOLITAIRE has been comdemned by numerous game anti-violence activism groups, including The Lion and Lamb Project [lionlamb.org].

    How many more children need to die before HOYT and other violent-game makers stand up and becomes accountable? How many more people will buy (and I'm getting ill at the thought of it) ... _Guns_, for 'self-protection' and 'hunting', before congress will take action against these code-writing purveyors of death?

    As a bible-thumping christian, I am reviled by the thought of these violent games and guns, especially remembering the death of our savior, Jesus Christ, at the hands of Doom-playing gun-wielding members of the pharisees. Evil is no older than videogames and guns. Write to your congressman now! Stop the corruption of our children!

    (and since I typically get mod'd down at least once before someone realizes my sarcasm, yes, this is sarcastic.)

  • and IF I get nine women pregnant, I'll have a baby in a month!
    • IF I get nine women pregnant, I'll have a baby in a month!

      If you're posting to slashdot, that's a pretty big IF....
  • Minesweeper as a game is great. The mathematical properties of it are intriguing.

    I have a lot of fun with it on Linux as well...

    Solitaire is a waste of time.
  • If someone is playing solitaire, they obviously aren't doing work or using the cpu heavily - so why not build-in a distributed computing client to perform work on a cure for cancer or some such in the background of these games?

    http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/curecancer.html
  • by geekoid (135745)
    Solitaire was number one, with 21.3 million users.
    how do they know that?
  • Didn't say whether they spent more time at Solitaire or at rebooting after a BSOD, or reinstalling their software.

    Maybe if the BSOD was made to resemble Solitaire, it'd be less threatening?

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