The man who made a version of Space Invaders that deletes files from your computer every time you shoot an enemy has added a new mode to his excellent mobile solitaire game Sage Solitaire. It's called True Grit. Lose while playing True Grit too many times and you can never play that mode again.
The designer, Zach Gage, isn't trolling. He just thinks people will appreciate having to make some hard choices. His new update to Sage Solitaire introduces a new "gambling" mode called Vegas Mode that lets players wager fake dollars on their single-player matches in the game. If you lose all of the virtual dollars in your in-game bank, you can pick an option to replenish them. No big deal. No extra cost. True Grit is a twist on that.
"If your cash total falls below zero you can never play it again," Gage told me. I played some. It's tough. I kept losing my virtual dollars, but I haven't hit bottom yet.
If that's not enough, Gage is going to tempt players to nearly zero out their True Grit account. Maybe that's what I'm doing, yeah? The game gives out achievements to players who get really low bank accounts (under $100, under $50) and then recover. "You have to actually be brave to try and get them because you're risking essentially exile. I've never really seen achievements like this in a game, and I'm really excited to see what this kind of mode brings out in people."
Got that? True Grit mode will reward you if you nearly zero out your fake, unreplenishable bank account, but you will lose access to the mode if you zero out completely. And it's all subject to how well you play and how much fake money you dare wager on each game.
"I feel like gambling is this deep amazing experience that cuts right to the heart of us as humans," Gage told me. "But the majority of the exploration into gambling is about how to get the most money out of users. Because of that there are huge swathes of people who avoid gambling, or just aren't interested in that kind of risk. I've wanted to try to explore some new spaces with gambling, and this is kind of my first push into it."
The new modes are available in Sage Solitaire today, though be warned that you have to clear the game's single deck mode three times to begin to access Vegas Mode and then need to amass $800 (virtual) in the game's bank before True Grit unlocks. That alone is very tough. Good luck. Sage Solitaire is available for free on iOS with an Android version forthcoming.