REVIEW - The UNIX Book of Games


The UNIX Book of Games


Janice Winsor




Prentice Hall ()




Steve Dicks


December 1998



This book is an attempt to show the Windows-loving fraternity that UNIX machines can be fun after work too, with a collection of 10 of the best UNIX/X-Windows public domain games included on the CD-ROM. The games vary from card games (Klondike, Canfield and multi-player Hearts) to board games (Go and Chess) through to a multi-player flight simulator.

The author appears to be little more than the collator of the games; while an interesting collection, her actual contributions don't appear to amount to much more than twee little paragraphs (accompanied by her picture each time) at the end of each game chapter and a massive introductory diatribe on the hazards of repetitive strain injury (RSI). She also manages to fall into the 'master of none' category with the games, so the only perceptions you get are from the author of the game and from a novice; obtaining a good balanced view of the collection is something you won't get from these pages. In fact, it's not at all obvious what the point of the actual 'book' is at all; 18+ pages of the 'go' chapter are covered with board diagrams (19x19, so it gets less than two moves per page and the boards very often cross page boundaries - a little more thought with the font could have made this semi- useful) of a game between the author and the program and as she is a self- confessed 'rank amateur', there seems little point in the exercise. I also find the notes to Canfield and Klondike ('Each game took about an hour to program after the (specialist card game) widgets had been implemented') offensive and misinformed.

Overall, an interesting collection of games and source on the CD-ROM, but the book itself is of little value or interest.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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