Solitaire: How boredom led to the creation of the most popular game ever 

Solitaire has remained one of the most-played digital card games of all time since its inception in 1990. It’s a fun way to pass time in the office, and it’s just as enjoyable to play at home. Ironically enough, a game that’s long been known to cure boredom was initially created by an intern at Microsoft who was dying of boredom himself. 

The creation of Solitaire

Meet Wes Cherry, the creator of Windows Solitaire, who decided to code a game in his downtime. “There weren’t many games at the time, so we had to make them,” says Wes. So that’s exactly what he did. 

After a while, the game caught the attention of well-known graphic designer, Susan Kare. Kare was best known for the icon design for the first Apple Macintosh computer, and she was eventually added to the Solitaire project to help with card designs. Kare was not the only big name who saw the game’s potential, however. After Bill Gates got a hold of the game, he was quick to offer his praise. In fact, his only complaint was that it was “too hard to win.” 

Microsoft originally coined the game as a way to teach users how to navigate the computer mouse, but most people simply play it for entertainment purposes. Speaking of originality, Cherry had integrated a “boss key” into the game that allowed office workers to pull up a fake spreadsheet when they were slacking on the job. Microsoft eventually dismissed the “boss key,” however. Perhaps too many employees were caught playing cards during work hours. 

Although Solitaire has seen widespread success for many years, Wes Cherry was never compensated for its creation. He said he was “not paid a single cent.” This is actually a common practice in the world of gaming. The creator of Tetris has a similar story (although he was eventually paid royalties after some time). Now, Cherry owns a cider production company.

The growth of the game 

This classic game of Solitaire is designed for players to win by matching card suits, and the grand prize for winning is a splurge of cards. In today’s world, there are many different versions of the game online. Some allow you to play for money while others stick to the traditional approach centered on fun and entertainment. 

The best known is Klondike Solitaire, but there are other versions, such as Spider Solitaire, FreeCell, and Mahjong. The latter is a game that takes out the cards and replaces them with tiles. Players match symbols instead. 

The popularity of Solitaire has grown so much that there’s now a national day to commemorate it. Microsoft founded National Solitaire Day, which takes place annually on May 22. How do you celebrate? Play a game of Solitaire, of course! 

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