History of Minesweeper

The concept of Minesweeper is thought to date back to the earliest mainframe games of the 1960’s. A game by Jerimac Ratiff named the Cube is often referred to as a predecessor of Minesweeper, although the similarities of the two do not really extend beyond the fact that both games have mines as focal point. The “hide and seek” element to Minesweeper is probably more akin to games such as “Hurkle” which involved locating a creature in a ten-by-ten grid or Relentless Logic in which the player’s job was to navigate their way safely through a minefield.

The game of Minesweeper that we know today was created by Windows for Windows. Robert Donner and Curtis Johnson, who worked for Microsoft, wrote and developed the game for release with the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows 3.1 in 1990. It was then upgraded in 1992 to feature in the in-game pack, replacing Reversi in the process.

Minesweeper offered Windows users something different to the other popular game of Solitaire; mainly the fact that it was less obvious and required a lesser a degree of concentration, allowing users to spend hours uncovering mines without putting brain power under too much pressure.

Like many of the Windows feature games, Minesweeper was designed with an ulterior motive - to teach users how to use a mouse. In the early days of PC’s, controlling games was text-based, at the time a mouse was still a rare thing. The simplistic controls of Minesweeper, with a left click for the mines and a right click to put down a flag, gave users the chance to get familiar with a device that would soon become an essential feature on all PC’s.

Third-party versions

Like any successful game, Minesweeper has spawned many a spin-off, with game developers hoping to cash in on the success of the original. Today there are hundreds of different shareware versions, offering a slightly different take on gameplay.

The windows version of Minesweeper remains as popular as ever, and unlike many other games that are twenty years old, has not become dated in the slightest. You can rest assured that however advanced computers become, Minesweeper will still be a feature.