If you’ve ever owned a PC with Windows installed, chances are you’ve enjoyed one of the most famous timewasters of all time, Microsoft Solitaire. Before anyone ever soothed their boredom with Pinball on Windows or Snake on their classic Nokia phone, we were all dragging and dropping playing cards on a screen.
A Brief History of Solitaire
Over the past few decades, millions, if not billions of people, enjoyed the animation of cascading cards that plays whenever I win. But have you ever wondered where it all began?
Who Came up With the Original Card Game?
Well, there’s no way to know who invented the card solitaire (better known as “patience” in Europe), but the records show that card solitaires first came about in the late 1700s. A German book published in 1788 refers to the game “patiencespiel.” The game also appeared in Swedish, Russian, and French literature around the 1800s. In 1870, Ednah Cheney published the very first book about card solitaire in the United States, titled Patience: A series of thirty games with cards.
The version of the game we’re most familiar with now is known as “klondike,” which people started playing around 1902. It seems to have been named after the Klondike gold rush of the 1890s. It probably has something to do with the idea of winning big money with the game. Nowadays, the usual reward you can get from winning the game is the satisfaction of those cards bouncing across the screen.
Klondike was also known as “canfield” in Britain. Richard Albert Canfield was an extremely wealthy saloon owner in the 1890s who sold playing cards amongst his many other pursuits. The most popular version of this game ever is the one included with Windows. Fortunately, the history of this game is a lot less obscure.
Who Came up With Microsoft Solitaire?
The origin of Solitaire as a computer game is something that will resonate with anyone who has ever been an intern. Microsoft intern Wes Cherry developed the game in 1988. His girlfriend at that time, Leslie Kooy, designed the card backs. Interestingly enough, Microsoft never paid him for this particular effort.
Cherry said that the most challenging part at first was making the card dragging go smoothly. This feature was essential because one of the primary purposes of the game was to help users get used to dragging stuff around the screen using their mouse. It’s easy to take this for granted now, considering kids seem to be born knowing how to drag icons around their touchscreen devices, but in the ’90s, people were not yet used to the Windows interface.
To celebrate Microsoft Solitaire’s 25th anniversary in 2015, Microsoft had a Solitaire competition on the Microsoft campus. Nostalgic viewers everywhere got to watch on the streaming platform, Twitch. On Solitaire’s 30th anniversary, 2020, Microsoft estimated that 35 million people still play this game. Not bad for an old-timer.
So How Can I Play Solitaire Now?
Let’s assume you just felt the need to look up Solitaire on your computer. If you want to play it on Windows, you’re not going to navigate to Start > Programs > Accessories > Games like you did ten years ago. You get it from the Windows Store.
However, you don’t have to go through all of that or suffer through the ads in the Windows 10 version of Solitaire. You can play it right on your browser in this website! It’s much more convenient since there’s no need to install anything. All you need to stroke your nostalgia for this game is a browser, so have fun and keep an eye on the time!