Gaming has come a long way since 1988. Hits have come and gone. Devices have evolved towards realistic looking visuals, phones have given everyone portable gaming devices, and virtual reality is becoming a standard. Looking back on PC history specifically, there was one game that had captured the attentions of then PC enthusiasts and hobbyist’s in the late 80’s. To this day many all recall of the classic card based game known as Solitaire.
Back in 1988 Microsoft intern Wes Cherry was in the midst of technological revolution. Microsoft was pushing the graphical user interface for Windows at a time when PC’s were dominated by text based operating systems. In order for the general public to become trained to use a mouse with all its functions(click and drag), Microsoft would bundle a Solitaire with Windows 3.0. But how and why did Microsoft come up with the popular card game? Turns out it wasn’t as profound as many would believe, Cherry created Solitaire for the PC due to boredom.
In an interview with The Great Big Story, Cherry admits that Solitaire was a game he built the game in his spare time interning at Microsoft. The cards themselves were designed by Apple employee Susan Kare. While many would think this unlikely team up is out of this world, back in the pre graphical user interface PC era Apple and Microsoft wildly collaborated on the Macintosh. The result would take over the early days of PC gaming as Cherry states many businesses would often have employees goof off by enjoying a game of Solitaire. Cherry even admits that at one point there was a “Boss Key” in the game that would cleverly display a spreadsheet to hide the game from potential roaming bosses. Of course that feature would never make it out to the public as Microsoft would have that featured removed. Public frustration with Solitaire wasn’t too uncommon from executives at big business’s, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates too felt that the game was too hard to win.
While not as popular as it once was, Solitaire still continues to provide gaming experience’s to this day. With the launch of Windows 8 and Windows 10 came a sleuth of new device’s offering new input methods and experiences. Once again becoming the trojan horse of Microsoft education, Solitaire was reinvigorated with Microsoft Solitaire Collection. The old Solitaire game was remade as a Windows Store app and was no longer bundled with Windows. The reasoning for this is because Microsoft wanted to teach users how to download apps on its digital storefront. Not only that but with the arrival of its first PC tablet hybrid, the Microsoft Surface, Microsoft opted to make the new Solitaire touch friendly in order to teach touch based gestures for Windows 8 and 10. So whether it’s mouse and keyboard or touchscreen and stylus, Microsoft has kept its card based game in front of any device.