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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer


Why you must at least consider becoming a Minesweeper addict

Halfway into my third semester, I encountered Minesweeper again. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my life hasn’t been the same since.

So you’ve decided to become a Minesweeper addict. As a seasoned veteran, I’m here to share my journey and tips so you too can become a pro. But before I start, I would like to congratulate you on taking the first step and welcoming Minesweeper into your life. Minesweeper is a game of great fun! Weird Al even sings about it in his parody “White & Nerdy.” But what’s great about Minesweeper is that you don’t have to be white or nerdy to play. Minesweeper is for everybody! 

My own Minesweeper journey began at a ripe young age. It was through my father that I learned about the game. He would sit at our desktop computer rapidly sweeping mines and occasionally cursing when he hit one. I was enthralled and began playing (and by playing, I mean seeing how many cells I could click before I exploded). I loved the thrill and risk of the game and surely had the makings of a juvenile gambler. Unfortunately, rather than exploring a future as a high roller, ripping cigs and hitting slot machines on the Las Vegas Strip, I ended up the opposite: a Notre Dame student.

Yet, halfway into my third semester here, I encountered Minesweeper again. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my life hasn’t been the same since. This time around, I scraped my gambling-like strategy and began playing with intent, honing my craft. Thankfully, Minesweeper came naturally to me. As the great-granddaughter of an actual coal miner, minesweeping is in my blood. I attacked my new passion with the tenacity of a voracious honey badger, unrelenting in the face of a challenge. At dinner, in class or hanging out with friends: no matter where I was, I was sweeping. I swept so much, one might have thought I was a maid!   

As I played, my skills grew exponentially. The once-complex patterns became clear before my eyes. I felt like an archeologist deciphering ancient Sumerian tablets. My brain was wired to think only in terms of Minesweeper. Every time I closed my eyes, Minesweeper appeared. The night before Christmas, visions of Minesweeper danced in my head. Eventually, just the blink of an eye would induce images of the game. 

So that’s my Minesweeper journey. If, by this point, you are taking my experience as a cautionary tale, you shouldn’t. I stand before you today not to warn you about Minesweeper but to share this remarkable game. If you’re enticed, please continue reading. If, for some reason, this does not interest you, go ahead and flip to the next story. Just know, you will always wonder what could have been.

Now that you’re on board, I would like to give you a few pieces of advice to make your transition as seamless as possible. First, make sure you’re using the right platform ( If it looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 90s, you’re at the right site. Second, look up the basic techniques and patterns. Get to know them. Wine and dine them perhaps. They are essential. Also, consider purchasing a mouse. Playing Minesweeper using a touchpad is like playing the Stairway to Heaven guitar solo with one of those rubber band tissue-box guitars — it just doesn’t cut it. 

Next, it’s time to talk to your friends, family, teachers and anyone else you give attention to. The mature thing to do is to have sit-down conversations and let them know that you are embarking on a Minesweeper addiction and that you hope they will support you through this journey. Minesweeper is an individual game but a group effort. I was lucky to have supportive friends who went as far as to buy me Minesweeper merchandise. Let your peers know what this addiction entails. From now on they will only be getting 14% of your attention, as the other 86% will go to Minesweeper. Also, in case you are wondering: Yes, it is acceptable to play Minesweeper during these conversations. And if you don’t have time to do it in person because of Minesweeper commitments, a mass email will suffice.

Finally, you need an exit strategy. A Minesweeper addiction is not sustainable in the long run. Luckily, I have a foolproof de-addiction strategy — just play Minesweeper nonstop for days on end (preferably over a period when you don’t have a lot of work commitments). Eventually, you will grow tired of the game. But fair warning: Do not try this strategy with other kinds of addiction! I was able to use this strategy over our winter break to successfully break my Minesweeper addiction. 

That is, until I started writing a column for The Observer about Minesweeper, and now I have the urge to play again. 

But that’s neither here nor there, and I really don’t have time to dwell on it because I’m going to play Minesweeper now. Happy sweeping!

Allison Abplanalp is a Sophomore Finance and Accounting major. If she could change one thing about the English language, she would make “a lot” one word. Her least favorite month is March because every year she is devastated when she fails to pick the perfect march madness bracket.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.