Friday, January 14, 2011

A free anti-suppression solitaire computer program

In 'Vision therapy - week 2' I talked about using anti-suppression playing cards as part of my vision therapy. Remember these?

Well, I really like these cards. They let me play fun games while I'm doing my vision therapy, and I feel like they have helped me a lot. And a while ago I started wondering, why isn't there a version of this for the computer?

So I started looking for a solitaire program that would let me edit the card faces. I found one, put on my red/green glasses, played around with the colors, and voila! Here is the finished product:

The program is called Solkan Solitaire. Here's some reasons why I chose this program:

-it's free
-it has nearly 200 games
-you can change the background of the playing space
-you can change the size of the cards
-it was easy and fast to edit the card faces
-so far it seems to work on Windows XP and Windows 7

It does have a few cons though:

-it didn't work on my friend's Windows 7 64 bit system (it works fine on my Windows 7 laptop, though)
-the background of the card faces has to be the same for all cards. Thus, I can't have some suits have red backgrounds and other suits have white backgrounds, like the original cards. So, I chose a black background for the card faces.
-it can be hard to decide which of the 200 games to play, and some of the games are quite difficult
-I don't know if it works for Mac

All in all, though, I think it's great.

If you would like to download it, you have two options:

Option 1: This is a folder that contains the program and the edited card faces. All you have to do is unzip the folder, put the folder wherever you like on your computer, and click on solkan.exe to play it. Click here to download Option 1

Option 2: This is the installation .exe file and a folder of edited card face files. The .exe file will install the solitaire program on your system and create start menu shortcuts and the like. You will then need to open the folder that I included called "dck files", and copy those .dck files into the folder where Solkan Solitaire installed on your system. You will be overwriting the default card faces with the new ones that I made. Click here to download Option 2

Option 1 is the easiest, but in case it doesn't work, try Option 2.

(Sorry for the ads and pop-ups on the download website. It's the price you pay for free file hosting...)

After you open the program, I recommend changing the background to something non distracting. I chose gray. If you want to change the background to a solid color, go to options --> background --> then hit the "color..." button.

And remember, you need red/green glasses to use this program. If you don't have any, pester your vision therapist until they give you some. Red/green glasses are a basic human right!

I hope you enjoy playing this, and keep working hard to break that suppression.


  1. Josh, sadly, they only make this for Windows users. But my Mac user consolation prize is hoop earrings. Today I bought myself the largest hoop earrings I could find as new motion sensors to let me know when I've got my head on straight. I don't expect you to run out and do the same, lol.

  2. Hahah, that's very creative, Lynda!

  3. Hey Josh! Just wanted to say, "thank you," for the great blog!! I've been bringing my Mom to VT for a few months now and find your posts to be interesting (and witty!!) to the nth degree :) That said, I had a question about this particular post... I downloaded the program, but couldn't figure out how to change the colors of the card faces :/ Could you help me out?

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Which "option" did you download? Then I will know more about how to help you.


  5. My apologies - I actually downloaded the program directly from Solitaire Central; in my excitement I completely missed the links to your customized files. Thanks again for the wonderful site. My mother's vision problems are related to brain surgery/damage and it's hard to find activities she can both comprehend and stay interested in... found a few here, though :)

  6. How nice! It's kind of an ancient and clunky program, but it was the only one that I could find where I could figure out how to edit the card faces. I hope it helps your mother!

  7. If you want to play the card games for vision therapy try this.

    Game modified for Vision Therapy

    Screenshot of the game

    Requirer Red and Blue glasses to play


  8. I forgot to say, you need Firefox or Google Chrome to use it. Internet explorer just show the cards on the orginal colour.

  9. Hi Josh,
    My son is in vision therapy and would like to play your solitaire game.  I was able to download by Option 2 but cannot load the game with the red and blue colors with black background.  Can you please help.
    Thanks so much!

  10. I just came across this post.  This is super cool.  I am also able to run it under Linux using the Windows Emulator (Wine).  It would probably also work with Mac with Wine installed but it might be tricky to set up.

  11. Hi Josh, many thanks for your effort, my daughter is 6 year old and it is difficult for her to play solitaire, is there any different games for small kids

  12. Sadly, even though having Windows 7, the Josh program doesn't work on my computer. Just gives me some error message and suggest to check whether I need a 32 or 64 bit version of the program.

    Your solution seemed easy to use in the explorer but your link is expired. Could you please reupload? Thanks!

  13. Does not play o windows 64 bit systems