Video Game: Minesweeper

"Each time you dig, you will find a number. That number will tell you exactly how many mines are adjacent to your square..."

Minesweeper is a nice little puzzle game packed with every version of Microsoft Windows. When you start the game, first you must select the difficulty: beginner, intermediate or expert. The levels will affect the size of the board (9×9, 16×16, 16×30) and the number of mines (10, 40, 99) respectively. The level is randomly generated. By left-clicking any square on the grid, you will either open a new area, detonate a mine or find a number. That number tells you the number of adjacent mines. Right-clicking places flags where you think there's a mine.

Minesweeper is known to have quite a few little strategies:
  • If you have a 1 on a corner, it's a mine. Why? Because there's only one available tile adjacent. Be very careful, because while this technique is useful (and integral), if you fail a spot check and don't see that there's already a mine diagonal to your 1, you will probably die.
  • A 2 at the very edge of a wall adjacent to two hidden tiles means they're both mines.
  • 3 on a wall: they're all mines.
  • If you see the numbers "2 1 2" on a wall, the spaces adjacent to the 2s are both safe and the space adjacent to the 1 is a mine, and similarly if you see "1 2 1", the space in the middle is safe and both spaces adjacent to the 1s are mines. You may intuitively expect "2 1 2", averaging to 5/3, would imply more mines tend to be found adjacent to those three squares and "1 2 1", averaging to 4/3, would imply less, but you would be wrong.
  • A generalization of 3 along a wall: If you see two numbers that are adjacent (not diagonal, but sharing a side) to each other and they differ by 3 (such as 4 and 1, or 5 and 2), then all three squares on the other side of the larger number are mines and all three on the other side of the smaller are safe.

The world record for Expert difficulty is currently 31 seconds (previous record).

Examples of tropes used in Minesweeper: