Dungeons & Dollars Redux

Dungeons & Dollars Redux
High Speed High Roller

Kyle Orland | 12 Dec 2006 11:04
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I tentatively tried my hand at a few new games to find one that would unlock my earning potential, but none of them seemed like a perfect fit. Blackjack-based Catch-21 required too much luck. Scrabble-based WordMojo required too much vocabulary. Match-three-based Bejeweled required too much color coordination. With $5 left to my WorldWinner name, I finally stumbled across the game that I quickly determined would be my path to riches.

Mean Greens Mini-golf is different from the other WorldWinner games because it seems perfectible. While all the other casual games on the site require some mixture of reflexes, quick-thinking and planning ahead, conquering the mini-golf course is as simple as figuring out the correct angle and power needed for each hole. I decided to give it a go.

After a few hours of practice games, everything fell into place, and I made my first wager on mini-golf. A couple lucky bounces on holes 7 and 8 left me with a score of 16 - my lowest yet and a score I was confident would win me some money. I opened the results page, only to find that I had tied for first with someone going by the handle of gussiedgd2.pgo. (There's that ".pgo" extension again.) I couldn't believe it. Here was practically the best performance I could muster, and all I had to show for it was a tie for first place. What's worse, thanks to the vagaries of the competition's prize structure, a tie actually meant I lost a little money.

It was about this time that I realized that the only real winner in these competitions is WorldWinner.com. While individual players can and do indeed win money from individual competitions, the house always takes a cut that makes real, long-term winning nearly impossible. A $1 bet on a three-person match nets the winner $2.25 and WorldWinner $0.75 in profit. A $5 one-on-one match nets the winning player $8, the company $2. It may sound hard to build a successful business on such minuscule amounts, but when you consider that WorldWinner operates more than 11 million games a month, you can see how each little slice contributes to a really big pie.

I continued to putter around (pun intended) at Mini Golf for a while, but after a few days of ups and downs my $5 had again dwindled to next to nothing. I finally gave up the ghost and realized I wasn't going to be able to retire on my millions of dollars of Minesweeper winnings. I also came to realize that playing these games for money turned a fun way to pass the time into a tense, nerve-wracking quest for digital perfection. Skill or luck, I found that when it comes to gaming, mixing the two definitions isn't any fun at all.

Kyle Orland is a video game freelancer. He writes about the world of video game journalism on his weblog, Video Game Media Watch.

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