Jack Welsby's Minesweeper Page
Here since early 1996, updated once in a blue moon, but at least the design is now "fashionably retro"... (ugh!)
This page contains all sorts of information I've collected relating to Minesweeper, the fun game you get with Windows. I like Minesweeper, but I don't get that much time to play it these days, what with one thing and another.
Oh, and I know these pages aren't the Web's most attractive, but it's information that counts! (So you can't be bothered to learn any new bits of HTML then Jack?)
Well, for what it's worth, my best times are now 6, 40, and 176 seconds on Beginner, Intermediate and Expert respectively.
Yes, these times aren't brilliant (so don't e-mail me to tell me so!). If your times are better than these - congratulations, you either have more time to practise or better luck.
6 seconds? That's ridiculous!
Yes, I know. To get times this low, Minesweeper becomes a game of chance rather than of skill. Everything depends on the distribution of the mines (it's far easier to achieve quick times on some boards compared to others) and clicking in the right place.
This is most pronounced on the Beginner level, less so on Intermediate. I reckon that given a reasonable first click I can complete most Beginner boards within 15 seconds and most Intermediate within 60 seconds.
Please don't waste your time trying to get a Beginner score lower than about 10 seconds or an Intermediate score lower than 50. You could do all sorts of other things, like writing your first novel, going for a walk, or monopolising the world computer industry.
That said, there are people out there who do like shaving another second off their Minesweeper scores, and you can meet and greet them on www.metanoodle.com/minesweeper Damien's page. Bear in mind though that you're no-one if you haven't done Beginner in 1 second yet :-)
Could you complete every board?
No. Although in practically all cases you can work out logically where the mines are, there are a few situations where you just have to guess. One (probably the simplest) is illustrated below.
Unusually, there is a ray of hope in this particular situation. You will notice that you never click on a mine with your first click - kind programmers! If you do click on a square that originally contained a mine, the computer will move it to the top left-hand corner of the board, or the first available square to its right. Hence the mine is more likely to be behind the top square.
In other situations, you just have to guess quickly! Further down the page you'll see that you can actually discover which square the mine is behind - but of course, that's cheating.
Some tips for faster times
How can I make Minesweeper more challenging?
- Jim Liddle writes to say that he doesn't mark mines at all while playing. I find this adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay if you've never tried it before, and furthermore it's fun! Evelyn Ng claims a time of 140 for an Expert board without marking any mines.
- Both Greg Smalter and Eric Hendrickson suggest that you use Minesweeper's "Custom" option to add one extra mine at a time to a standard-size board, completing it before adding another, and seeing how many mines you can get on in total. Greg claims 83 mines for an Intermediate-size board (16x16), and Eric 136 mines for an Expert-size board (16x30).
How to cheat at Minesweeper
There are three ways that I know of.
- The first, and easiest, is to click on a square to start, then hold down both mouse buttons and press Escape. This will stop the clock, and if you're careful you can go on to complete Expert boards in just one second. (Thanks to Kirsh Wells for bringing this to my attention.)
- The second is to edit WINMINE.INI in the Windows directory. It's a fairly self-explanatory file to modify, and you can then get that all-important "0 seconds" in your Best Times window.
- The third and most complicated is the cheat built in. This cheat doesn't work in Windows 95 or Windows 98, but it's been brought back for Windows 2000... hmm... anyway, here's what to do.
(Why "xyzzy"? Find out wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/foldoc.cgi?xyzzy here!)
- Turn the Windows background black by using Control Panel. This is not absolutely necessary, but it does make it easier.
- Open Minesweeper. Type "xyzzy", then hold down Shift and click on the Minesweeper board.
- A single white pixel will appear in the very top left hand corner of your screen. As you move the mouse over the board, the pixel will change to black when your mouse pointer is over a mine.
It's as simple as that. Why not try boasting about being psychic and demonstrating it by locating all the mines without clearing any other squares?
Or why not use this cheat to mark all the mines first, then click, click, click on those empty squares? Slash those times in half and then take a screen dump to "prove" to your friends how good you are!
A dinky little thing...
Open your WINMINE.INI, and at the end, add the line "Sound=3" (or any small integer greater than 3, I think). After saving, Minesweeper will play a siren sound when you lose a game, and an ascending one-octave scale of B major when you win.
Thanks to www.hlpinc.com/faq.shtml HLP Associates whose page I got this off.
If you have any Minesweeper-related information that's not listed here, please mail me at the address below and tell me about it! If it excites me sufficiently (and it usually does) I'll get round to putting it on this page eventually.
Some other Minesweeper pages
The top Minesweeper pages you should visit (aside from this one, of course) are...
Last revision 10 September 2000. Produced by Jack Welsby