Microsoft's Solitaire: 25 Years of Wasting Time - InformationWeek

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5/19/2015
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Microsoft's Solitaire: 25 Years of Wasting Time

Redmond celebrates Microsoft Solitaire's 25th birthday with an employee tournament the same week it welcomes a creative director for HoloLens.

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If you have ever attempted to get something done on a Windows PC, there's a good chance you are familiar with Solitaire.

The world's most famous detriment to human productivity turns 25 this year. To celebrate the milestone and "the decades of fun it's given us all," Microsoft is holding an internal Solitaire tournament to weed out its top players.

That's right -- employees will battle for the honor of being recognized as one of Microsoft's top Solitaire gamers. They'll even be able to play with co-workers from their PCs.

[Isn't that cool? Read more about great job perks in tech.]

After determining who leads its team, Microsoft will open the tournament to procrastinators around the globe. Anyone with access to the Solitaire Collection (available on Windows and Windows Phone) will able to put those Solitaire skills to the test in early June. 

As with most 25 year-olds, there has been a lot of change to Solitaire since it was introduced in May 1990. Developers built upon the original version to create five more: Spider, Klondike, Pyramid, TriPeaks, and FreeCell. All modes will be included in tournament play.

Solitaire was not included in development of Windows 8, one of the many issues inherent to the failed OS. We'll see its return over the next few months, as Microsoft is building Solitaire into the upcoming Windows 10.

This isn't the only gaming news coming from Redmond this week. Microsoft also announced that Casey Hudson, former game producer at BioWare, is filling the role of creative director at Microsoft Studios. There, he will primarily focus on the creative direction of HoloLens Experiences.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

"I was fortunate to try an early prototype of HoloLens before it was announced, and I was blown away by the technology and what it was already capable of," said Hudson in a post on Microsoft's official Xbox blog.

Hudson notes that HoloLens experiences like "Skyping with a friend who can draw on the walls on my environment" and "sculpting an object in 3D modeling software while a hologram of it sits on a tablet next to me" have convinced him of the technology's potential. He'll be working to evolve the HoloLens experience, ranging from apps and games to the OS and hardware.

[Did you miss any of the InformationWeek conference in Las Vegas last month? Don't worry: We have you covered. Check out what our speakers had to say and see tweets from the show. Let's keep the conversation going.]

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/19/2015 | 3:01:21 PM
Minesweeper!
Spider is clealry the best of the solitaire versions, but nothing will compare with the day I discovered minesweeper. I honestly still remember the day in the college dorm when me and my friends discovered it and actually sat down and worked out the logic for playing it based on the various number patterns. We obsessed about it for a couple of days and I still feel a love for it.

Then we moved on to Scorched Earth. :)
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
5/19/2015 | 4:10:08 PM
Re: Minesweeper!
Loved Minesweeper! That was my fallback when I didn't feel like playing Solitaire. Though Solitaire was always my go-to when I was bored (or when someone was on the phone and I couldn't use the Internet.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
5/22/2015 | 12:41:12 PM
Re: Minesweeper!
@sachinee- Yes, I went through a Mahjong phase, but it never kept my mind as engaged as minesweeper. I think it is more of a zen relaxation game. I pull it out when I want some quiet music playing and some downtime.
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