Friday, August 14, 2015

Odd Socks Anyone?

There's a Facebook-connected game called Odd Socks which I play a lot. To get the truth out there, I have made getting on for 40,000 moves in this low-skill game over the last year or so.

If you haven't seen it don't worry. There is a washing line with socks on it. Touch two that match and they disappear. Random socks then appear from a washing-machine. You can swap socks from other players' discard piles and also with a gamebot called Susie. Swapping with Susie can only happen once a minute.

After discarding five socks you have to use game points to clear the bin. These points are built up 10 at a time by each matching. Clearing the bin costs 250 points. It is a well-designed and delicate game balance. If you don't want to pay real money to continue (I don't and never have) you will get about ten minutes play twice a day. Or one minute twenty times a day.

Why am I telling you this?

Back in the early days of PCs offices were full of people playing Minesweeper, Solitaire, Freecell and the like - during lunch breaks or while waiting for slow printers to work.

A chance chat with a colleague led us both to realise that we were using the games differently. Those games - and Odd Socks is the same - use just enough mental activity to keep your mind keen. But they also allow a lot of free left brain to ponder and think about other things.

I use these games, Odd Socks being the current help, to solve other problems. Whilst playing my mind is wandering over the day to come, anticipating things to look out for, stuff to say and tasks to do. I don't like surprises so try to avoid them. There may be something of the lawyer about me.

It is neither distraction nor displacement.

All non-players mock. They call me a time-waster. They joke that they would never have time for such a thing. Nobody who doesn't get it, gets it.

But I am a better-equipped person for playing. I almost don't expect you to believe me.

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