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Finding New and Unintended Ways of Playing Games 346

Ronald Diemicke writes "World of Warcraft players sometimes hang out in front of Ironforge and dance. Fallout 3 players seek out new and elaborate ways of destroying their avatar. Brawlers in Smash Brothers have an itchy pause finger, ready to catch any humiliatingly hilarious screengrabs. The thugs running rampant in Grand Theft Auto are putting Evil Knievel to shame by using a full assortment of vehicles to pull off some incredible stunt work. Personally, I like to collect and move things. My favorite is making piles of bodies in any game that lets me move them around. Ever catch yourself doing something in-game that isn't exactly part of the game, or just something really dumb?"
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Finding New and Unintended Ways of Playing Games

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  • by Announcer ( 816755 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:30AM (#28994207) Homepage

    I've used The Sims (1) to create some rather nice and pseudo-realistic drafts of some ideas my wife and I have for an expansion/remodel of our house. It worked quite well, despoite the limitations of this version of the game. Just create some random Sim, plop him on the property, pause the game, use the "rosebud;!;" cheat to rack up the Simoleans, and go to town.

    I also used it to create sketches of a future radio station facility: []

    All done with The Sims (1)

    I would like to try this with the Sims 2, seeing it provides much more flexibility and realism for such things. For now, though, those are my major "out-of-game" adventures. ;)

  • Re:Explorer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WinterSolstice ( 223271 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:31AM (#28994219)

    Same here - for me, it's part of why Ultima stood so far above the rest.

    I get any game, doesn't matter what, and I'm always trying to hop onto buildings, fall off maps, find new KOS zones, etc. Usually long before it makes sense for my character to be in a zone or area, I'm there. Sneaking around, harassing NPCs.

    Oblivion is one of my all time favorites for exactly this reason. I've explored probably every inch of that game. Right now, I'm visiting and taking screenshots all over LOTRO, though there are less hidden wonders than I'd like (the river basin with two opposing waterfalls is funny, though. Where's the water *go*?)

  • superbounce (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Panzor ( 1372841 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:36AM (#28994235)

    man, I must have spent a whole summer in halo 2 superbouncing and rocketlauncher-sword zooming (I forget what we called that) to see where I could get on maps. I hated it when people did that in ranked matches though.

    I think we do these things because it's a new way to play a familiar game. Games get old and new games can be fun - especially when all your friends are already playing them - and you're tired of the "real" game.

    Take a game like halo: standard shoot-em-up. Now you're practically free-running with superhero-like glitches flying you around the map juuuuust short of that one ledge. *runs around and tries it again*

    It's just a matter of time before someone mentions machinima. Machinima is awesome. Most noteable is Red vs. Blue (another halo ref, I'm sorry) - a fan machinima that's been going for YEARS and even got it's most recent full-length film put into CANON. I couldn't believe that when I heard it. You know what, I just tried to get a citation and couldn't (going off of what my friend said). Who can confirm/deny that claim? I'd appreciate it.

    Tricks and machinima. I think game developers (at least at Bethesda(spelling) and Rockstar games) are quickly realizing that sandboxy games are an easy way to let the gamers' imaginations add 100s of playing hours.

  • These guys... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xtense ( 1075847 ) <> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:49AM (#28994287) Homepage

    ...have absolutely nothing on the admins of

    Read their Ultima sections.

    Reeeead them.

  • warthog jump! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chalex ( 71702 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:52AM (#28994299) Homepage

    This video was really popular around 6 years ago! Warthog jump []

    I also remember my college friends spending all their time shooting seagulls in Metal Gear Solid for the PS3.

  • Finding glitches... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aliotroph ( 1297659 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @02:59AM (#28994315)

    and things that shouldn't be there! Sure, the regular easter eggs are fun, but it's more fun finding interesting ways to break a game or finding ways to end up somewhere that teaches you a bit more about how the game was constructed. TFA mentions suiciding in FO3. It sure is fun to shoot up a pile of cars and go flying (the best one is just west of the Arlington Library, on the freeway). The neat side effect of this is your corpse bouncing off the skybox. That's also the disappointing effect -- it limits how far you can fly.

    I was particularly impressed when my brother called me over to show me how he figured out how to jump out of the train in Half-Life. My friends played that game for years and never found that little gem. Weirdness ensues when you leave the confines of the train and confound the scripts.

  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @03:08AM (#28994347)

    I seem to recall an interview with Will Wright that mentioned that he was told that he was tasked with making a program to do exactly what you described, but to also test design efficiency of floor-plans. The end result became "The Sims". He was essentially tricked into making a game.

    So no surprise that you ended up using it for exactly that, designing buildings.

    Did you actually use the sims in the game to test floor-plan efficiency?

  • Pro Roping (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gunslinger47 ( 654093 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @03:09AM (#28994349)

    The roping community from Worms: Armageddon and World Party abuse the ninja rope in ways the developers certainly never anticipated. []


    /msg xOaPxJacky wiptistean
    PACK: !Piles, AFR, CBA, KTC

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08, 2009 @03:21AM (#28994391)

    A few weeks ago the gold farmers got a bunch of level-1 characters, all dressed alike, to lie down in a major city, then I guess got a high-level from the opposite faction to come in and kill them - so the bodies all spelled out a website URL. I wasn't there when it happened, just saw the results. I assume it happened on most of the other servers and for both factions, but I have no direct knowledge of that.

    In WoW, a dead body sits around for quite a long time if the player doesn't resurrect. A level-80 mage or other character with an area-of-effect spell could most likely run in, avoiding combat until in range of the level-1's all lined up, then just fire a few quick blasts while running up the line and they all drop dead.

    I tried to think of ways to move the bodies, there are a couple spells that can affect corpses, but I don't know if anyone tried to do it. Lying down or standing a large mount over them sort of messed it up, lighting fires or planting flowers really didn't do much. Eventually the bodies started disappearing as Blizzard cleaned it up. They did it again a few days later.

  • by crucifer ( 697054 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @03:22AM (#28994393)
    I actually finished SC and BW campaigns doing nothing other than zerglings for zergs, zealots for protoss and firebats for terran (marines are too powerful; so I decided to go for firebats). The entire game was quite easy even with this unit choice handicap. But when I arrived at the last mission of the expansion pack of BW. It was hell. The mission is as follow : You need to kill 3 overminds; each one with a special ability : 1- Your entire base is surrounded by invulnerable sunken colonies. The only way to reach that overmind is through a very long path of invulnerable sunken colonies. 2- Once ever 2-3 minutes a boss ultralisk would spawn and attack your base. That ultralisk takes only 1/2 HP damage per firebat hit, has 800HP and kills the firebat in a single hit. 3- Guardians and mutalisks attacks. Pretty hard to kill guardians with turrets since they have bigger ranger than turrets. I spent 8 hours in that single mission. I mined almost every last mineral of the map (some I couldn't reach because I could not build shuttles). t was absolutely awful, but I couldn't stop there. I HAD to be able to say I finished the entire game building nothing but the most basic units of the game.
  • Daggerfall (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drasil ( 580067 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @03:58AM (#28994503)
    In Daggerfall I used to enjoy finding routes around town that minimised the time I spent on the ground. Why simply walk down the street when you can run along hedges or leap from rooftop to rooftop? Using magic would have been cheating of course.
  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:10AM (#28994551) Journal

    Its fun to be a dick. In games its easier and theres no consequences in it and in single player games you wont be ruining anyone elses game either.

    This is partly why I love physics games too. Its fun to build, destroy, smash and do something unexceptable to see the results. Physics games probably fit this category the best because they're made to play around with.

    Sometimes I also dont want to get into some epic story but just have a bit of fun. Good physics engine + Good and responsive AI and the fun begins.

  • by Hillview ( 1113491 ) * on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:19AM (#28994591)
    Am I really the only one here who remembers Beyond Naked Mages []? (sorry double post)
  • Fallout 1: Pacifist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Filip22012005 ( 852281 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:22AM (#28994609)

    I finished Fallout 1 without a single kill. Turns out the developers had thought someone wanted to do that. There were experience rewards for sneaking or finding peaceful solutions in almost every quest. It is with that mindset that I started playing Fallout 3. I was disappointed...

  • by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:39AM (#28994663)

    A neat trick I used to do with the Apple II was to put two machines side by side on the same power bar, switch both machines on then flipping on the power bar, causing the machines to boot simultaneously. Next, I'd load up a Stock Trading game on both machines and start playing.

    Why do this, you ask?

    Well, the Apple II uses a very simple random number generator that is always the same sequence from the moment the system powers up. So, by booting two machines simultaneously, it put the random number generators on each system in sync with one another.

    In terms of the Stock Trading game, this meant I could use one machine as a sort of crystal ball, allowing me to see into the game's future, and then use the generated results to only buy up stocks that were going to increase in value and sell off those that would decrease.

    As long as the machines booted up simultaneously, this always worked.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @04:45AM (#28994673)

    I think everyone does that to some degree. In civilizations you turn off "domination" victory, beat the last guy to one city, completely surround it with artillery, send in spies to destroy any building and sabotage production of any units, build cities all around it so it has no resources.

    In fallout I am busy trying to kill every non-generic character I can in capitol wasteland. I also do this often with "Way of the samurai." I like games where you can choose to kill almost every character and it affects the story.

    Hey, I don't do it in real life, I'm curious.

  • by tdelaney ( 458893 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @05:58AM (#28994869)

    I've completed both Fallout 1&2 without my character directly killing anyone. I've also completed both using only unarmed combat. And I think I've managed to complete both by killing every single killable character in the game (hopefully I didn't miss any ...).

    Then again, I have completed both games over 40 times each.

    I haven't completed FO3, and doubt I ever will.

  • by WoodenTable ( 1434059 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:30AM (#28994951)

    In Deus Ex, I occasionally rearranged the furniture in rooms for no particular reason. I can only imagine the reactions later: "Oh my god, my ammo and credit chits are all gone! And... someone has swapped my desk chair with the sofa from the break room. And my microscope is now on the corner table..."

    I gave myself bonus points for the one time I did it while a guard was patrolling the room. I wonder if there's some sort of term for this in psychology.

    I also have a riot occasionally setting up Team Fortress 2 engineer-buildings in ridiculous places, such as completely submerged in a lake.

    And don't even get me started on Dwarf Fortress. How long do you want to bet a dwarven settlement, constructed entirely of soap, can survive on a diet consisting solely of horse meat and beer?

  • Re:Explorer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RalphSleigh ( 899929 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:36AM (#28994971) Homepage

    Were there any non trivial reward everyone would go there...

  • by aecolley ( 467094 ) <aecolley@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:41AM (#28994983) Homepage Journal

    There's a Starcraft mission where you, playing Terran, get overrun by the Zerg right after you kill off the Protoss. I left one Protoss building standing until I was ready for the Zerg. "Ready" meant that I'd poured all remaining resources into planting siege tanks, bunkers of marines and a few turrets in the area where the Zerg usually attack. I finally knocked over the last Protoss building to win the mission. The story animation -- explaining that Kerrigan was being left at the mercy of the Zerg army -- lasted longer than the Zerg army did. If you didn't do something similar, you haven't played the game properly.

    GTA3 had a cheat to make all pedestrians hate (and attack) you wherever possible. It made playing through the game much more of a challenge. There was another cheat to give the pedestrians weapons (including rocket launchers), which made it a bit too difficult for some missions.

    And in all GTAs, it was possible to do a substantial number of the boring side-missions before the main story. Getting that 100th hidden package in GTA3 involved some tricky flying, but it had to be done. I still regret that there were 4 unique jumps in Vice City that I couldn't get at the start of the game.

    In the Thief games, I liked to stack bodies (of course). I also liked to blackjack every human / kill every monster in an area, and then run around waving my sword for maximum visibility, setting off all the alarms.

    Now I feel like I've shared too much.

  • by david_craig ( 892495 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @06:55AM (#28995039) Homepage
    That was one of the things that was truly great in the first two Fallout games, the game would allow you to deviate greatly from the path the designers had anticipated and still keep going. They were great for playing the game totally in character. I still remember getting so annoyed by the president of Vault City that I decided to kill her, then ended up having to wipe all the inhabitants and I was still able to complete the game. In Fallout 3 someone in Rivet City kept passing me in the corridor and calling me a thief. After the third time he did this, acting in character, I shot him for his impudence. I could only knock him unconscious, and he kept getting back up regardless as to how many bullets I implanted into his skull. It was at that point for me that I realised that Fallout 3 was not the sequel I was looking for.
  • by Norsefire ( 1494323 ) * on Saturday August 08, 2009 @07:02AM (#28995053) Journal
    It's WoW's client-server model that allows that to happen. The client tells the server where your character is, so if you hack the client to tell the server that you're 50 mile in the air then it really thinks you are 50 mile in the air, but on the plus side really bad lag doesn't stop you from moving. The trick you mention has been being done for a couple of years now, a gold-selling site had a contest where they would pay some amount of money ($1,000 maybe?) for the best gold-selling advertisement idea (after Blizzard implemented all the anti-gold spam measures), that was the winning idea. GMs usually bury the corpses soon after it happens though.
  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @07:49AM (#28995163)

    Short of hacking your save file, it's a good way to beef up your resource counters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08, 2009 @09:02AM (#28995401)

    For some excellent examples of metagaming, check out the Speed Demos Archive [], where videos can be found of speedruns for many games, under various self-imposed conditions: 100%, minimal%, etc. These are not tool-assisted, these are pure player skill!

    For metroid fans, I also highly recommend the Metroid 2002 [] site, which has video and text explanations of an incredible array of sequence-breaking tricks for nearly all of the metroid games. Picking up items out of order, exploiting engine quirks to jump farther or higher than is supposed to be possible, and using tricks to get past areas that are supposed to require an item, without having it yet. Speed runs of metroid games are amazing to watch, because they rely heavily on these tricks. Unless you've played the game a lot, you might not even recognize that the speed-run player is doing something that is supposed to be impossible!

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Saturday August 08, 2009 @09:07AM (#28995431)

    I did the same in pretty much every game. I have to kill every monster, collect every powerup, and do everything possible. And I can tell you the causes of this with a very nice example. (I have forgotten the details, so I will fill in my own.)

    There is an old movie, where there is a imminent nuclear explosion. And the women in the household, just starts to clean everything in the house to total perfection. Because her mind can't stand the "chaos". She feels the extreme urge to order that chaos. So instead of running to a bomb shelter, she dies ironing shirts in the living room.

    Find out what gave you the urge.

    I have a well-proven method to find it: When you are doing the "landscape raping", stop for some seconds, and concentrate on the bad feeling that that gives you. Try to do as much as possible to strengthen that feeling. (Create congruence.) Like adding other things to the situation (or removing them). Jump right in the middle of the feeling. And get it to the absolute maximum.
    Yes, it will hurt. and your subconscious will fight it tooth and nail. Which is why it's much easier, when you have someone who can keep you on that path, while not bringing in his own (possibly twisted) influences. Also it means that you have to be in an environment, where you can really act out the stuff. It must be OK, even if you flip out, destroy half the room, do "perverse" things, or cry like a baby. (Shame is the natural enemy here.)
    This usually re-activates old (=weak) neural associative pathways, that once were created when the original source of the problem happened. Which means those old things suddenly pop up and reappear in your mind.
    Now beware that more often than not, there are many steps to re-activate, and the first thing is usually not the original source. Which means that you can only be sure to have reached the real source, when after a long time, you still don't get to a next step. Which is unrealistic, because it takes very long. But prepare for your first "final source" to not actually be the final one, and having to do the whole thing even deeper, when you find out that it's still not really solved. (These intermediate "sources" usually are re-traumatizations that added something to it. Often they also are *partial* "final sources", because there is more than one final cause.)
    Anyway... when you have reached that final source/cause, you usually see a huge range of things in your life, that are very twisted, and have nothing to do with how you thing it would make sense to react. WRITE THEM ALL DOWN! (In a tree-like mind-map. I recommend paper, or the FreeMind mind-mapping software [open-source] []) This again is a process where you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for those "twisted" things. To really get them all.
    Once you have that map of your not-so-rose-colored glasses, you can start to re-train yourself. Which means that every time you get to such a situation, you (usually) automatically notice that what you would do now, is something that makes no actual sense, but only in the context of that "twist". So you do what you *actually* think makes sense.
    This again is a hard process, because you fight against age-old habits. So reward yourself generously, get as much mental strength / love from your loved ones as possible, and just expect it to hurt to fight it, until you are over the top of the mountain (a more accurate description than "out of the woods"). And don't let this stop you. :)
    It will take time to re-train yourself. And the stronger the new impressions, the more you learn, and thereby the faster it goes. But keep your personal balance between "too hard" and "too easy", to keep the acceleration at a maximum. It's no help when you get completely off the "road" because you were too fast.
    Allright. Good luck. And try it with a professional, if needed. (Just beware that most professionals actually can *also* get to a level where it's too much for them. They are only human, even if they are trained to stand it. But that is their fault, and you do not have to take this into consideration. If needed, find a better/stronger/stabler one. After all, you're paying for it.)

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @09:24AM (#28995505) Journal

    Oh my. This topic brings back great memories such as:

    ATARI- Asteroids. Playing "chicken" with the boulders.

    ATARI- Asteroids. Eliminate all the boulders except one, and then take-on the UFO in a one-on-one gunfight.

    ATARI- Berzerk. Hide behind a ball, fire at it, and watch the robots walk into it. I imagined that my laser fire was magnetizing the wall and drawing-in the metal beasts.

    ATARI- Pitfall 2. Go the highest possible level. Jump. Watch Pitfall Harry fall for 2 minutes.

    ATARI- Freeway/Frogger. See how many times I could make my chicken or frog get run over by cars.

    C=64 - Beach Head 2. Get behind a machine gun and kill the little soldiers so I could hear them scream "Ahhhh I'm hit," or "Help! Medic!"

    C=64 - Elite. Wait until I was superpowerful, attack the landing station, and then have fun killing-off the weak pathetic police ships.

    AMIGA- Firepower. Take my tank and run over soldiers so I could hear them go "squish" and spill their blood all over the landscape.

    AMIGA- Stunt Car Racer. Ride to the top of a "hump" in the track, moving at full speed, and fly into the air. Watch car get destroyed.

    PS1 - Final Fantasy 7 or 9. Strip all the materia off my characters, and then run into a boss fight. Enjoy the slaughter.

    PS2 - Dirt-to-Daytona, Nascar Heat - Run my car on Talladega in the reverse direction, and ram directly into the "pack" of cars.

  • Re:Explorer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bertok ( 226922 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @09:44AM (#28995573)

    That's why I stopped playing WoW.

    My strategy has always been the same: I liked to find the ultimate 'combo' and push my character far beyond what the original designers intended. For example, in WoW I played an Alchemist Paladin - the theory being that by using Paladin shields and spells, I could survive just long enough in high-level zones to pick some uber herb, make uber potions, and then use said potions to turn myself into the Ubermensch. I could pull it off too. I was able to go into zones 10 levels above me, and walk out with bags full of herbs. I did things like jump off cliffs on low-level zones into corners of high level zones while shielded, so I would be able to pick the one herb that was there out of range of any monsters. I carefully waited for patrols of elite mobs to wander past, and I'd carefully sneak past them into high-level zones.

    My strategy would have worked, except that Blizzard put in totally artificial limits into the game, so that if you did manage to cleverly set your character up like that, it wouldn't actually do you any good at all. The best strategy (in terms of efficiency) by far was always to grind roughly equal level mobs while doing boring quests (kill X of Y mobs). That pissed me off. The game actively forced you to play in a boring, linear, repetitive manner. Creativity was not only discouraged, but in many cases virtually impossible.

    I'm sure they did it to prevent 'twinking', or 'exploiting', or whatever, but it made the game deadly boring for me. I much prefer games like Nethack, where you can find a wand of wishing after playing the game for 3 turns, and still die four turns later. (Yes, it happened to me. I now know that I shouldn't wish for artifacts that blast the wielder with their power when picked up if I'm still at level 1.)

  • Re:Daggerfall (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @10:01AM (#28995673) Journal

    The Daggerfall engine wasn't the best though... I remember getting climb up and it ended up hurting my game more than helping. I would climb up doors in dungeons and end up in "The Void."

  • by CyberDong ( 137370 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @10:13AM (#28995717)

    A friend's son was a huge fan of building a large park with no exits and some cool attractions. Once the park was filled, and the customers had no way to exit, he would turn a tiger loose in the park. The carnage was fun to watch. Bodies would be flying through the air after being shaken silly by the tiger, people would be screaming.... I was amazed that they'd built such things into the game.

    I believe the title was Amusement Park Tycoon.

  • by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @12:29PM (#28996381)

    When the author praised halo as a landmark game because it gave the player regenerating health. Thats dumbing down a game not making it better, part of the fun of fps's when i used to play them regularly was trying to stay alive and avoid getting hurt. frankly i wonder when retail mainstream games will reach a point where they dumb them down enough that all you have to do is hit a little button on the menu screen to beat the game..

    What happened to part of the fun of playing the game being the effort and skill needed to play it?

  • by TheGeniusIsOut ( 1282110 ) on Saturday August 08, 2009 @05:41PM (#28998645)

    It makes me wonder if there are parallel worlds created where this sort of thing happens all the time.

    Yes, there are.

    Any conceivable universe exists in some parallel. Every story written, game played, world imagined, and possibility contemplated exists somewhere in the multiverse.

    That is one of the things I enjoy keeping in the back of my head as I play games like Fable, Oblivion, Fallout, and Neverwinter Nights, and pretty much any game in which you have a world you can influence. Played Black & White? You are a god to some civilizations out there, just not in this aspect of the multiverse, so don't get your ego too inflated.

    This can lead to interesting philosophical questions. If the world I was just running around Bowerstone Old Town summoning up Lvl5 Undead with safety mode off and letting them roam around slaughtering everyone really exists, does that have an effect my karma? Does the world where I am loved by all and have vanquished every last scrap of evil couterbalance it? What happenes after I save and quit for the final time, does the world go on without me, or does it wait for the day I might return?

  • Inverse Freecell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AndyCanfield ( 700565 ) <andycanfield AT yandex DOT com> on Sunday August 09, 2009 @07:14AM (#29001509) Homepage

    I play a version of Freecell, with the same rules but a different goal. But you need to turn off autodrop, so you can't play it in Microsoft Freecell. Pysol works well.

    The new goal is to get all the cards in four long streams, king down to whatever, with as few cards as possible in the output stacks. Your score is negative - the best you can do is nothing at all in the output stacks which gives you a score of zero. An Ace counts one, two counts two, three counts three, etc. If the output stack contains an ace and two of every suit that's a twelve; not bad. I can usually get below ten, which is better.

    It requires you to generate long streams of cards and be creative in moving them around. You have to decide the tradeoffs - can you get the stream from here to there or do you have to put an ace in the output stacks, costing you a point? And remmember that if you put the ace and two of spades in the output stack you'll be short a black two when you want to stream up the last red ace, so you'll have to put the red ace on the output stack also and your score will be four, not three.

    It's a challenge; requires a lot more look-ahead than most versions of Solitaire.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan