When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

A quick look back at one of the most popular games of all time, Microsoft Solitaire

Microsoft Solitare

A little over 24 hours ago, Microsoft finally closed the deal to purchase Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion. The acquisition gives Microsoft access to some hugely popular game franchises, including Diablo, Overwatch, and of course Call of Duty.

However, the truth is that back in 1990, Microsoft, perhaps inadvertently, created one of the most well-known and most-played games of all time: Microsoft Solitaire. It's a game franchise that continues to this date, in a somewhat different format.

We can thank a person named Wes Cherry for the creation of Microsoft Solitaire. He was an intern at the company back in 1988. According to Business Insider, he wrote a version of the Solitaire card game for Windows 2.1 in his spare time, because he enjoyed a similar game made for the Apple Macintosh. He put the game on a server at Microsoft, and a company program manager saw it. He decided to add it to the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990.

In a chat with Great Big Story a few years ago, Cherry said that the official reason for adding his Microsoft Solitaire program in Windows 3.0 was to help people learn how to use the mouse with the OS. However, the real reason was that Microsoft just wanted to give people who had Windows 3.0 something to do. He also said that Microsoft co-founder and then CEO Bill Gates played the game before the launch of Windows 3.0 and his only complaint was that it was too hard to win.

It may have been too hard to win in Gates' eyes, but the release of Microsoft Solitaire as part of Windows 3.0 became a huge hit. It helped that the PC revolution at both home and work really went into overdrive in the 1990s, and therefore there were tons of people using their Windows PCs and sneaking in a quick round or two of the game while at the office.

Cherry even came up with an Easter Egg for people who were playing the game at work. With a quick key press, the game was supposed to change to a fake spreadsheet in case your boss started to walk past your cubicle. Unfortunately, Cherry said that Microsoft asked him to remove that "feature" before it shipped out.

Microsoft solitare

Cherry said that Microsoft didn't offer him any payment for creating one of the most popular games of all time, since he was an intern. He's joked that if he had a penny for everyone who played the game he would be rich and that just 14 people have actually sent him money. He later became a full employee at Microsoft but years later he departed. He now is the owner of an apple orchard and makes cider in Washington state.

According to the book The Friendly Orange Glow, at one point Microsoft Solitaire was in the top three most used programs on Windows, according to Microsoft's own telemetry.

The game continued to be included in every Windows release until Windows 8, when the company decided to release the Microsoft Solitaire Collection in the Windows Store. It combined Solitaire with other card games as a free, but ad-supported download.

In 2015, Microsoft launched Windows 10, and the Microsoft Solitaire Collection was once again bundled with it, and that's continued with Windows 11. In 2016, the game launched for iOS and Android devices. In 2019, the original Microsoft Solitaire was inducted into The Strong's World Video Game Hall of Fame.

In 2020, Microsoft noted the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Solitaire and added that the Collection version still had 35 million players every month. However, we think it would still be cool to just play the original free version on a Windows 11 PC. We think it would still be a huge hit.

As an Amazon Associate when you purchase through links on our site, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Report a problem with article
halo infinite forge
Next Article

The upcoming Forge editor update in Halo Infinite will let you put in AI enemies in maps

lg monitor
Previous Article

Amazon Prime members can get this big LG 42.5-inch PC monitor for an all-time low price

Join the conversation!

Login or Sign Up to read and post a comment.

14 Comments - Add comment