Whenever I had a computer lab class in school, I'd inevitably spend most of my time on one of two things: Microsoft Solitaire or that Space Cadet pinball game you'd get on Windows XP. I'd wager I'm not the only one; everyone has played Microsoft Solitaire at some point, either to kill time or just to see the dazzling cascade effect that plays when you win. So it's heartening to see the world's best time killer get the recognition it deserves. As The Strong game museum announced today (opens in new tab), Microsoft Solitaire has officially been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame.
"Microsoft Solitaire meets all the criteria for the World Video Game Hall of Fame: influence, longevity, geographical reach, and icon-status," the game's official entry (opens in new tab) reads. "And yet it is often overlooked - perhaps because it’s a digital version of a centuries-old game, and because it so common as to seem commonplace."
Microsoft Solitaire was first released in 1990 with Windows 3.0. It's since been released on nearly every mainline version of Windows, with the most recent being Windows 8.1. It was replaced by the expanded Microsoft Solitaire Collection on Windows 10, but the classic game is still playable. The collection is also available on smartphones, so while The Strong reckons it's been installed "on more than a billion computers," it's likely appeared on many more devices.
"It’s incredible to think that one of the most played video games in the world got its start in 1990 as a way for Microsoft to teach users how to use a mouse," said Paul Jensen (opens in new tab), studio manager for Microsoft Casual Games. "We are humbly honored to have the opportunity to work on a game that has such broad appeal, is localized into 65 languages, and played in over 200 markets around the world, including Antarctica."
Jeremy Saucier, assistant VP for games and interpretation at Microsoft, added that "in many ways, it helped pave the way for the growth of the casual gaming market that remains so popular today."
Microsoft Solitaire is one of four 2019 Hall of Fame inductees. It's accompanied by the original Mortal Kombat - a timely addition given the recent release of Mortal Kombat 11 (opens in new tab) - and Super Mario Kart, as well as the lesser-known Commodore 64 game Colossal Cave Adventure. These four games will join the ranks of Final Fantasy 7, Grand Theft Auto 3, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, Doom, World of Warcraft, and plenty others. Incidentally, my review for all of these games is: They're not Microsoft Solitaire.
They can't all be Microsoft Solitaire, but these are the best free games (opens in new tab) to play right now.