A Map of MIT

(Note: This was freely hand-drawn, and on top of that, by memory, so there may be mistakes. As you can see, I had to correct the fact that I couldn’t spell “Vassar”.)mitMap-1




I have recently went through an amazingly unusual sequence of events regarding minesweeper. Actually, much of the unusualness comes from the accumulated sum of these events happening, so I guess it actually is more properly describable as a series of events. Anyway, I have recently joined Minefield, a “‘Massively’ Multiplayer Online” (‘Massively’ in further quotes because given the load the server could actually hold, not actually massively) “Minesweeper” (not actually minesweeper, because here score is associated with marking mines rather than winning associated with finding numbers (one could argue that this is what the word “minesweeper” originally intended)) and one day decided to try to score 1000000 points in one day.

At around 475000, though, something happened and Minefield banned me for using a bot, even though I have not used a bot and am not a bot. I suspect this occurrence was related to lag registering my clicks in a weird pattern, but whatever the reason, this happened. It was especially annoying because the only method of communication they provided for contact was Twitter, and I did not have a Twitter. Because I didn’t particularly want a Twitter, I looked for the developer via other means and tried to contact as such, but the developer didn’t respond. I finally decided to, *sigh*, make a Twitter account. By the way, you should never make a Twitter account. The account making process is ridiculously long and annoying, but I eventually got my Twitter, @lnitak.

I tweeted the Minefield page and was pleased that they swiftly dealt with the issue and allowed me to continue playing Minefield, but just 15 minutes later, the game detected me as a bot again, and so I sent a second tweet over with a suggestion that perhaps bot detection should be less sensitive. (I also had to edit my suspicions the first time about lag being what made the game think I was a bot, as this second time there was no lag and I was just playing a bit fast.) The second tweet never made it over, because Twitter decided to ban me while that was happening. That, of course, meant that I had to look over to the Twitter rules again and see what exactly I might have violated, and I cannot find anything in their terms that I got close to violating, as far as I understand, so I have no idea how, as one of my friends inform me, I have managed to get banned from Twitter faster than terrorist-linked Twitter accounts get banned. (This is sadly reflective on my Twitter handle: Alnitak, ζ Orionis, is a Type-O star and thus one with a particularly short lifetime, like that of my Twitter account named after it. I may have chosen a different handle if not so many have already been claimed. (Firefox spell checker evidently wants me to write “Genital” instead of “Alnitak.” I don’t even know what to say.))

Twitter’s ban appeal process is ridiculously long and complicated, even compared to its account-making process, and I seriously do not want to go through it, so I’m just going to not attempt being able to continue playing Minefield, especially as it has many bugs beside its ridiculous bot detector. (Also, seriously, who puts Twitter as the only means of contact?) Actually, over-sensitive bot detection seems to be very popular in minesweeper games, because on that day I got detected as a bot in two different minesweeper games, although the other just kicked me so that I could reasonably still continue playing.

But anyway, what I came to talk about today was minesweeper and me, and why I have came to consider minesweeper an integral part of my life and why I still continue to intensely enjoy it.

There once was a time when I liked chess. I once really liked chess, during my second and third years of playing chess. But then, my dad decided that he will take over my chess learning experience, and buy me chess books without consulting me about which books I feel I would optimally benefit from, and buy chess software without consulting me either, and make me regularly study chess. A whole lot. And specifically had me study what he wanted me to study. At certain times, maybe if he didn’t make me do it, I would have done that amount of studying, but it does not feel as achieving when my father is moderating my study, specifically as derived from the implicit “you’re this achieved because of me” and the occasional actual verbal utterance of that statement. Anyway, due to this and several other things, chess is permanently ruined for me. At least math was not permanently ruined for me, but it was considerably less enjoyable since starting 10th grade my parents started yelling at me to become better at math and was generally more enjoyable when I got into secretly doing the math that I hid under my SAT book when my parents forced me to study for the SAT. (Also fortunately, due to neither of my parents having advanced science education, I could get away with telling them I’m studying for the SAT II Chemistry when I’m actually on a Wikipedia page finding out why Beryllium-8 is so curiously unstable. (Incidentally, Beryllium-8 being that unstable is actually very fascinating; you should read about it too.)) Music has strangely not yet been damaged that much by parental tyranny, although that may partly be because they didn’t yell that much about it (given that their amounts of music experience and knowledge are 0 and ε, they don’t quite have the right to yell at me to do things with music, but they still occasionally do (this argument also works for other subjects that they direct demands for accelerated improvement in that they also know nothing about)), but definitely I actually have more motivation to keep music close to me.

But minesweeper is something my parents never told me to do more of. In fact, it has always been something my parents have been specifically not okay with: they were one of those parents that exclusively believed that computer and video games were strictly wastes of time. (By the way, my video game collection at home is exclusively DDR, something I could pass by them as “exercise.”)

All that I have achieved in minesweeper, I can fully attribute to work, pattern analyzing, and practice on minesweeper squeezed in during times my parents were not looking. Even with having to deal with the issues of working on something not approved by parents, for example having to immediately quit a game upon parental entrance to the room I was playing in, minesweeper progression was much more emotionally worth it, and I actually felt truly proud of my progress along the way to my current beginner+intermediate+expert summed best time of 66 seconds, at peak 120th in the world. Even though I haven’t improved on this for more than a year, I still find it very much worth it to continue playing minesweeper, because when I’m playing it I remind myself that I have proven that my parents are wrong in believing that my achievements are due to their push. It makes me feel worth where I am given very few opportunities to display so, and is where I can assure myself that I can be free to explore and do well being free to explore.