People on Planes Playing Solitaire

I’m sitting on a plane right now, typing this with a popular name-brand tablet device. Moments ago, I used the same device to catch up on email, watch an episode of “Sons of Anarchy,” and play a couple rounds of Plants vs. Zombies. After playing this wonderful game from PopCap — makers of such other fine games as Bejeweled, Peggle and Solitaire Blitz — I took a stroll up and down the aisle, as I am wont to do, and observed what other people were playing. A few Angry Birds players, a woman playing Sudoku, and one intrepid fellow playing Civilization 5 on the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen. But, by far, the most common game I saw people playing was Solitaire. Like, the original Solitaire that has been on Windows PCs for 21 years.

I try not to judge. I mean, who am I? Just another monkey with a keyboard. But, really, I just feel kind of bad for those people. It’s like seeing people still drinking instant coffee. It’s 2012, people! We have better options now! We don’t have to drink that instant brown water, nor do we have to play the same game that our great grandfathers played way back when Keith Richards was only on his third set of lungs.

I’m not knocking Solitaire itself. Awesome game. Love the whole alternating colors thing. My problem is that I think some people don’t know that they have other choices. They’ve been playing Solitaire endlessly, mindlessly, with every device they own, simply because it’s the only digital game they know. In my dreams I see long lines of downtrodden, weary people — like those old photos of Russian bread lines — morosely playing Solitaire, waiting, perhaps hoping, for someone to put them out of their misery, for the end to come.

It does not have to be this way. Together, we can educate those less fortunate. We can tell these poor souls about such wonderful games as, say, PopCap’s own Solitaire Blitz, which takes that age-old game and puts a shiny new coat of awesome on it, along with a cute talking worm.

We can also teach them about Peggle. And Zuma. And other wonderful PopCap games, available online or at stores near you. Or, heck, we can be really wacky and tell them about non-PopCap games! Because, really, anything would be a step up from Windows Solitaire. It’s the white bread of computer games. The lukewarm tap water. The According to Jim. And it’s had its day.

So next time you see someone on a plane playing Solitaire, do me this favor: Grab the laptop out of their hands and fling it away. Tell ‘em Jeff Green sent you. Sure the sky marshal may haul you away, and you may find yourself in a lawsuit or with a police record. But your actions will be remembered in glory by me, and all gamers everywhere.

I thank you for your sacrifice.

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