If you’ve ever got your hands on Microsoft Windows, you might have played games like Solitaire, FreeCell, and Minesweeper.
Otherwise, you belong to a minority group for sure. On a superficial level, we’ve all assumed that Microsoft Windows added these games for entertainment, but is that really the real reason? Well the answer is no. Let’s dig deeper to find the real purpose of these Windows PC games.
What is the first game added on Microsoft Windows?
The first game to be introduced in Microsoft Windows was Solitaire. The game was made available on Windows 3.0, which was rolled out in 1990. The game also existed in the offline world in the late 1700s. However, Microsoft popularized its digital version and showed the world that you don’t. don’t need a physical card game to play a card game. Later, Microsoft also added Hearts, Minesweeper, and FreeCell.
Real purpose of Microsoft games
Solitaire was made available in Microsoft Windows with the intention of familiarizing Windows users with command line entry. In Solitaire the player has to drag and drop the cards and Microsoft wanted to teach this to Windows users in a fun way so that they don’t even feel like the users are learning something. Even today we have to keep dragging and dropping and that tells us that Microsoft was indeed a visionary company. According to Microsoft telemetry, Solitaire was so popular among Windows users that it is ranked among the top three most used Windows games and has even surpassed Word and Excel. Also, at one point, Solitaire became a concern because companies were losing productivity as employees played these games a lot, thus reducing their actual working hours.
Minesweeper has also been added to Microsoft Windows PC with the same intention. Originally, this logic-based game entered the scene in the 1960s-1970s and was popularly known as “Cube” and Jerimac Ratliff created the game. Later, in 1992, Microsoft introduced the Minesweeper in Windows 3.1. If you’ve guessed that providing some form of entertainment isn’t the real goal, you’re right. Minesweeper has been added to familiarize users with the left and right click mechanism with precision using the mouse.
Hearts, which is another popular Microsoft game, was added to Windows for Workgroups 3.1 in 1992 to display the networking capabilities of the computer system. Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was the first network ready version of Windows. When playing the game, users could see multiple players playing the same game using the computer network. This is the reason why the game was originally called “The Microsoft Hearts Network”.
Finally, we have FreeCell, which was deployed for Windows 3.1. The real purpose of the game was to test the 32-bit thunking layer. Wondering how FreeCell helped in these tests? If the thunking layer was not properly installed on the Windows device, the FreeCell game would not actually work. So what you thought was a game for entertainment was actually a mechanism to check if the software was working properly or not. How shocking is that?
Why does Microsoft Windows still offer these games?
Obviously, the original purpose of these popular games has already served the real purpose, so why can we still find these games on our Windows PC? The answer is extremely simple; the game still exists because Windows users loved it so much. Whenever Microsoft attempted to roll out a new version of Windows without these games, the company faced a strong backlash from fans of these games. Microsoft has deployed Microsoft Solitaire Collection for Windows 10 developed by Arkadium, Smoking Gun Interactive, and Microsoft Casual Game and published by Xbox Game Studios to at least introduce new features and evolve.
Currently the Microsoft Solitaire Collection includes the following five card games: Klondike – the classic solitaire, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid and TriPeaks with great graphics. Windows users used these games back then, and even now nothing has changed except for the design and themes. The game still exists because they have become immensely popular and people love to have them ready on their work laptops so they can easily play during a break.