It's only a great replacement for Minesweeper, but centainly you've got to give it a try.
In this game, you incarnate Indiana Jones, and your task is to complete the quests your friend Marcus gives you at the beginning of the game, which is a classic point-and-click adventure but on reduced scale. Apparently, both of you were on a archaeological field investigation on Mexican pre-Columbian cultures, problems arose, and since you are a hero certainly you could was some dishes in your spare time. The program has a lot of different missions for you to accomplish, and it has a randomizer that assures you that even if you play the same plot again you will have different maps to explore and different puzzles to solve.
The first thing to do any time you launch an Indydesk game (sorry, I wanted to abbreviate) is to find Marcus (that's very easy, he's inside a house on your starting screen) so he can give you your quest and one item you'll need while solving puzzles. The second thing to do is to get into your own house, which is in the starting screen, and retrieve your whip. And the last thing to do once you arrive there is to find the world map (since you start the game with no map at all), which is usually hidden near the starting screen. From then on, it's only adventuring.
The map is extremely necessary and useful in this game. It gives you the complete outfit of the world, tells you if a screen was explored yet or not, and marks all the explored screens that had something important with an icon, so you can recall what was there. A puzzle piece icon suggests a screen with a puzzle. A doorway icon tells you that if you solve the puzzle there you may travel to another location of the world, which is otherwise inaccessible. A starry icon marks the screen where the ending will take place. An outlined, blank icon suggest that the puzzle of that screen wasn't solved yet, and clicking on it may give you a clue about what you need to do so. A filled icon tells you that the puzzle was already solved.
Adventuring is not so exciting as the map feature. It's true that adventure games are mainly about finding objects and using them or trading them, but in Indydesk this feature becomes annoying. Most of the time you will do errands strolling along the whole map. You will trade with X an object for another object that will be traded with Y on the other corner of the world for yet another object that must be carried to... And so on, until you managed to retrieve the two or three objects you really needed for triggering and completing the final screen.
The interface is very easy to learn and to use. There's no music or speeches in the game, except for some sound FX and MIDI versions of the Indy jingle. Interaction with the NPC is text-based, so expect to read a lot.
When you're finished, the program will give you an score rating your performance, expressed in IQ points. That's it. You're finished. Go back to perform calculations with Excel.
Compared with Indydesk, its following clone (Yoda Stories) is a much better game because is not as annoying as the other one. For example, There's no medikits on Indydesk. The only way to cure yourself is to return to the village in order to eat some weeds some Mexican guy hands to you, so is not infrequent that you die and lose while trying to return to the village in order to get cured. In Yoda Stories, you may return to the village to get cured, but you will find a lot of medikits in all of its flavors (First aid kits, roots, fruits, bacta fluid, food, and others), so you probably don't meet the doctor robot ever.
There was a lot of controversy about this game and its clone, and people didn't agree yet if it's a bad game or not. They complain about its graphics, about its Game Boy feeling. I think that we cannot demand those games a complexity that was not their authors' intention. LucasArts designed them as a quick game for you to play in those direst straits of life when you are forced to play only Minesweeper: at a lunch break at the job, or at school, or while travelling (the game even has a boss feature that instantly hides the game from view, which is very useful on those unpredictable boss rushes through the office). In those occasions, Indydesk really rules!!! With only 6 MB, it's a far better experience that Minesweeper or those pathetic and boring Flash web games that seem 8-bit console games fatted with hormones. Obviously, is not a choice when you have the possibility to play something else. If used in the situations it was meant for, it's terrific. And since some abandonware sites have Yoda Stories and Indydesk for you to download for free, you certainly should give them a try.