Mondo Redux

For those of you eager to get to work, here’s why I reviewed the update to Mondo Solitaire even though I just reviewed it on Friday:

  • Still no games for cats
  • You can turn off snarky comments about whether you really deserved to win
  • Allows would-be reformed cheaters to delude themselves into thinking they’re honest when they’re really just ignoring the real problem
  • You can now reset the scores when you disagree with the digital scorekeeper (which I often do)
  • Claims to fix a pesky but infrequent bug

In addition, I do some snarking myself about rude people who project their own rudeness onto you, discuss the difference between genuine and faux honesty, mention the correct pronunciation of one of the words in the title, and commiserate with readers about members of the family who appoint themselves to be enforcers of the moral codes.

Finally, just when readers think I’m going to give the upgrade an equally positive rating, I will expose my last minute discovery of a fatal bug fix.

Playing Blog/Update Tag

Immediately after slaving for days to write Friday’s post reviewing Mondo Solitaire, and giving it Jenny Manytoes’ highest rating I might add, I found the little icon indicating the App store had a new update for me. Before I explain, I might add that if you were familiar with the way formula fiction and TV shows work, you would be able to guess that I am actually setting you up for an ironic plot twist. If so, congratulations.

I clicked on the app store, went to updates and discovered that Mondo’s developers posted an update at the very same moment I was uploading my blog. The update promised to fix a bug I discussed. It felt like they were just waiting for me to make an ass of myself so they could come off looking like Mr. Clean.

Because I am honest and diligent, I immediately updated the blog with a notice that Ambrosia had released an update to fix the bug. The next morning I sat down to play the new Mondo Solitaire and discovered the update addressed a number of other comments I made as well. It’s as though they read my mind.

With that in mind, I updated the update to announce that I would revisit Mondo Solitaire today and examine those changes. Hence the title “Mondo Redux.”

Now many Americans (okay, US Americans; not Canadian or South Americans) think the word “redux” is pronounced to rhyme with “ducks.” Perhaps this is because of the “dux” at the end of the word. In fact, however, the word is pronounced to rhyme with, well, nothing in American really rhymes with “redux” because the French twist their vowels around the tongue when followed by consonants. The closest rhyme would be “dew,” but its really more like “dee-uh” but all mashed together into a single sound.

I was once doing a professional development seminar in visual design for high school teachers and just happened to segue into this very piece of trivia. After the seminar, a woman approached me and said, “You’re really rude.” When I asked why, she told me, “You made a big huge deal about how to pronounce redo as if we’re all morons.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to suggest that you didn’t know how to pronounce it.”

“I didn’t know how to pronounce it,” she said. “But I resent the implication.”

The only reason I mention any of this is because I wanted to save readers (and those students) the embarrassment of mispronouncing “redux” to a French snob who will correct you in front of the entire room. Which, if she’d bothered to ask, I would have admitted is exactly how I learned. In no way do I mean to suggest that my readers need to improve their pronunciation of words derived from French.

By the way if I were really rude, I would have pointed out that “big huge deal” is redundant.

That being said, let’s look at the updated Mondo Solitaire, which made a couple of improvements, or claims to.

My biggest complaint remains unresolved:

There are still no solitaire games for cats

What’s with you guys? Do you really not want to see a heartwarming video of Jenny Manytoes playing solitaire on the iPad? Are you really going to concede all the recognition to that stupid video of a cat playing a spiral keyboard?

Since the upgrade, whenever Jenny Manytoes sees me playing Mondo Solitaire she merely walks away incensed.

Jenny turning her nose up
at the feline unfriendly Mondo Solitaire upgrade
(Note her fifteen front toes, eight on one paw).

You can disable “tainted” wins

Friday I complained about the grandmother hidden away in the scorekeeping, keeping track of wins you earned by cheating and wins you earned without cheating. To recap: If you even undid one card play, even a play you didn’t intend to make, the game would count the win as “tainted.” I felt that it there was something disturbing about making it clear to users that cheating is allowed, and then labeling them cheaters.

We all have a family member who does that. You can guess the moral arbiter in my family was my grandmother. In your family it might have been an aunt, or the drunk cousin, or, if you’re extremely unlucky, a parent. My point was that we shouldn’t have to pay good money to bring another one of those members into our digital family.

Mondo’s developers anticipated my complaint and added a new feature in the settings menu. You can now tell Mondo Solitaire to “show” or ignore tainted wins.

This is an improvement, but I have to point out that grandmother’s still there. She no longer reminds you every time you play that you chose to play by a looser set of rules. Rather she leaves the message in the settings menu to remind you that you’re still cheating, even if you choose to deny it.

You may think I’m being picky, but anyone who was reared in a Baptist or Catholic family and weaned on passive aggressive reminders of guilt will understand. The message is clear: “I may stop reminding you, but in your heart of hearts you will still know you’re a cheater.”

Mondo Solitaire is now, officially, a cheating enabler

This is because you can now disable cheating all together. Just go to the settings menu and choose, “Don’t let me cheat.”

Now why on earth would the Mondo developers do that? It reeks of compromise. I can imagine a discussion in a planning meeting where everyone agreed it was time to stop worrying about tainted wins. That is, everybody agreed but one, the person who insisted on counting tainted wins in the first place. And in their determination to remind us that cheating, while written into the rules of Mondo Solitaire, and therefore perfectly ethical, it is still something you shouldn’t want to do.

It’s like saying, I’m a better player than you because I play by a tougher standard.

Hey, get over it. We’re not talking steroids and Major League Baseball here.

My question is, why have the option? After all, people who really don’t cheat, won’t cheat. If you have to make yourself disable the option to cheat to keep from cheating, then you’re not being honest. You’re simply cheating at not cheating.

This can lead to dire consequences. Anyone raised in a private religious school knows that if you simply remove temptation, you don’t stop the behavior; you merely bottle those impulses up until they explode in embarrassing ways. This is how preachers get caught in hotels with hookers and politicians end up trolling men’s rooms or flying to Cambodia with their private masseuse.

I’m only saying this for your own benefit. I don’t want to any of my readers locking themselves in a closet with Mondo Solitaire secretly switched back to cheat mode in the hope that no one will find out. I certainly don’t want any reporters to find readers holed in hotel rooms sprawled naked on the bed and covered with iPads playing Minnie Ripperton on the iPod and running Mondo Solitaire in cheat mode because they just can’t resist temptation any longer.

You can now reset your win-loss record

I suspect this feature is the developer’s response to my constant emails nagging them about Mondo Solitaire’s inability to keep my scores straight. You can read Friday’s blog if you want the whole story, but once I figured the best way to play Yukon I had a perfect record, only the game doesn’t want to admit it.

When the game started assigning losses I didn’t earn, I had to delete and resync from my laptop (which is really annoying). Now at least I can start all over with a switch in the settings menu.

I spent all night Friday night playing the new improved Yukon, which didn’t make Carol happy because I spent all Thursday night playing as well, but at least I was able to run up a decent undefeated record again.

I’m including it below, just to let you know I’m not joking. I made it through 75 consecutive (with some tainted) wins before I decided not to risk it anymore and took the screenshot.

So far I’ve gone undefeated since the upgrade.
With luck I’ll go another seventy five before the scorekeeper
adds a loss just for the hell of it.

They also fixed the only other bug I knew of

To be honest, for anybody to deliver an app with only two known bugs on product launch is a remarkable feat. I have nothing but praise for these guys.

Well, other than my snarking in the last fews paragraphs, I have nothing but praise for these guys.

Friday I reported a bug where the cards disappear from the screen. It wasn’t a big deal. If you restarted the game you could see the hand exactly the way it was dealt. But these guys fixed that bug before my blog even got posted.

Or so they say. I mean, it’s a pretty rare bug, so I couldn’t really tell you if its been fixed until I play for a few weeks. And by then we’ll all have forgotten this review anyway. And besides, even if it doesn’t happen we still won’t know for sure. Not seeing something so far doesn’t mean we won’t see it happen in the future.

I learned that in college when we studied David Hume.

Fixing the bug that wasn’t a bug

With all this said, Jenny Manytoes and I were going to sign off on the Mondo Solitaire upgrade with love. But this morning my wide asked me how I did that cheat thing that allowed me to keep all of the cards face up while I finished the game.

This was an important moment in our marriage. I dare say the highlight of twenty-five years. For the first time Carol actually asked my advice. In the past, she’s been the snarky one, reminding me my wins were “tainted” while hers were “pure.” This, plus the fact that she always made twice as much money as me and held the same job all her life and didn’t have a latent gaming addiction. (Oh, and having your parents tell her she really could have done better for herself). But after proofreading the first Mondo blog and then this one, a moment transpired and she had a revelation: “Sometimes it’s fun to cheat.”

So I preceded to show her how to unlock the cards, and I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s right. The scorekeeping grandmother snuck in the back door to steal away the ultimate cheating option, showing all the cards. No doubt she rationalized it as an undocumented bug fix.

Guys, that was no bug fix that was the dying man’s last lifeline. You took Mondo Solitaire from a perfect game with a few minor quirks and bugs and forced honesty down our throats. And there’s no forgiving that.

I want my bug back.

In the meantime, I, and my newly converted wife, will be restoring the older version on our iPads.

Jenny rates Mondo Solitaire HD version 1.whatever

Although she’s irate about not being able to play, Jenny has to admit that it’s even better with the upgrade, at least with players who don’t take pride in their ability to manipulate the game. She’s assuming most of you will count yourselves in that category and will all be making biscuits.

This family’s downgrading.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

iPad Envy is created entirely using apps from my iPad


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
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