A Microsoft computer game which a man was playing has been accused of offering a 'hint' that was unhelpful, misleading and, indeed, totally inappropriate if we are to think the facility is provided so that players might successfully accomplish the task set by the game.
The 'FreeCell' solitaire game is one where a 52-card pack is dealt into 8 rows (cascades), and must, by a process of moving them according to black-red rules, be returned to their foundation bases (top right).
The player, Moys Kenwood, 57, had been playing the game for about 20 minutes, when his tiny mind started to hurt. He had, through a process involving around 50 moves, made a right old mess of things, and was struggling to know what to do next.
His brain was frazzled.
He noticed that a card was flashing - this was the game's 'Hint' facility alerting him to the computer's suggested next move. By its very definition, this hint is supposed to enable the player to get closer to his goal of completing the game successfully, but something was wrong.
The game was rebelling.
The game was 'hinting' that the Six of Spades card in Row 8 should be moved to the vacant space in Row 2, but, had the player taken this advice, no further move would have been possible, and the game would have been over.
"I accept that it was down to myself the positions the cards were in, but for the computer to go 'offering help' like that was a bit low, in my opinion. It was no help, and merely 'leading me up the garden path on a wild goose chase'. I wasn't happy, I can tell you."
Remedial action was taken by hitting the 'Undo' button about twenty times, after which only another four hours were needed to complete the game.