This article originally appeared in Pyramid #1

Pyramid Pick

Quick Pick

Solitaire's Journey

Designed by Andrew Viscer, Bruce Williams
Published by QQP Software
Sugg. Retail $59.95 (Amiga, IBM)

Solitaire, as a computer game, is generally something you obtain through shareware or freeware -- that, or it comes with another program. However, Solitaire's Journey is much more than a simple solitaire program.

For starters, it has over 100 different versions of solitaire. That's right, over 100. I don't know about you, but I thought my grandfather was cool because he knew about 10 different ways to play. Although many of them are simply obscure variations of common games -- there must be at least 40 different versions of Klondike -- quite a few of them are really interesting and unique. Vanishing Cross is one of my favorites.

The graphics are as good or better than any other solitaire program, and the interface is very friendly; point and click, with pull-down menus. All in all the package is very professionally put together -- a class job on a subject that isn't that easy to make interesting.

But what makes Solitaire's Journey different from any other solitaire game on the market is that playing solitaire isn't the whole purpose. The designers have provided two "frames" to make this a game within a game. The point isn't just to play lots of solitaire and have a good time, it's to complete a journey, rack up points and compete with your previous scores (or others').

One of the "frames" offered is the Quest, during which you wander from room to room in a house, playing a game of solitaire in each room. There are four different houses to choose from, each a little bit harder than the last. If you win the game in one room, you get some gold bars, and the computer lets you know what to expect in adjacent rooms (number of gold bars offered and which type of solitare you'll have to play to get them). If you lose, you have to try again or try a different direction. To win the game you have to collect a minimum of gold bars and get to a specific room in the house, usually far from where you started.

The other background is called a Journey. And during your journey, you travel from city to city on a big map of the United States. Like the other background, you have to play a game of solitaire in each city, but instead of gold bars, you collect money. You need the money to afford bus tickets to the next city. When you get to the final destination, the more money you have, the higher score you end up with. As an interesting design note, the program provides a little historical or cultural information on each city you visit.

This is not the type of game that eats your brain for 10 hours a day, but it's not meant to be. Instead it's a game that provides a new twist on a very old pastime, and does it admirably.

-- Jeff Koke

Article publication date: June 1, 1993

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