With the somewhat misleading title of Mind Games Entertainment Pack for Windows, this collection of nine classic board games suffers from uninteresting graphics and maddeningly hard gameplay. While games like chess and Go and have stood the test of time in their real-world forms and been translated to computer screens many times over, Mind Games Entertainment Pack for Windows takes all the fun out of them, making them a waste of time.
Games should provide challenges for all levels of players but these are incredibly difficult even at the beginner levels. There's not even a training mode to show possible moves, making the less-common games confusing, and even though a hint option is provided, it's slow and irritating to use. After losing a few times and falling victim to the computer's unfair speed of gameplay, chances are slim you'll want to continue. The computer plays too quickly to allow you to study moves or see mistakes. It's remarkable that traditional games like checkers can stop being fun but Mind Games Entertainment Pack for Windows manages the feat.
While the classical music used for the introductory screens and animations are no doubt included to give a touch of class to the cerebral intent of the collection, it doesn't really work with these simple games. The designers seem more interested in style over gameplay, as seen by the marble backgrounds and 3D effects. Although not unattractive, the graphics add little to the games and don't constitute a reason to play. Besides, when you're constantly losing, you won't care.
The help files are sparse and the manual only provides overviews of the games. Even though trial and error is sometimes beneficial in learning how to play a game, the computer takes advantage of lower skill levels and most players will simply give up before they fully learn the rules. Mind Games Entertainment Pack for Windows doesn't entertain or teach, merely frustrates.
This collection demonstrates all too well the fact that advancing technology doesn't improve everything. Playing these games in the real world against live opponents would be a much better time investment. Additionally, although the box states there are ten games in the collection, bridge isn't included as advertised.
Graphics: The graphics are no more than average at best and add little to the gameplay experience.
Sound: Other than the music during the introduction, there are few sound effects in the game.
Enjoyment: The games are too frustrating to be fun and the computer plays at a speed far too fast to allow novice gamers to learn or enjoy.
Replay Value: Losing quickly and often will dampen any enthusiasm for replay.
Mind Games Entertainment Pack for Windows is a great collection of 10 classic board games from Oxford Softworks. This is essentially a 1995 update of the company's earlier Intelligent Strategy Games 10 package. All the games from that early release are still here: Go, Renju, Connect Four, Othello, Gomoku, Backgammon, Chinese Chess, Chess, and Bridge. In addition to updating the graphics to SVGA and the interface to a user-friendly Windows GUI, each game in the pack comes complete with rules (although a bit too short), and a variety of options including hints and replay. The game overall boasts a strong AI that is the hallmark of all Oxford Softworks titles. Each game here is not good as the best stand-alone game, but as a compilation, Mind Games is one of the best and most polished you'll likely to find. Highly recommended.
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Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection, Intelligent Strategy Games 10, Favorite Games for Windows, Hoyle Classic Card Games, Mille Bornes, Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 3, Pirates! Gold for Windows, Master of Orion 3
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