Minesweeper: Explosive Minimalistic Puzzle Game

Minesweeper the video game
Mines!

Here’s one that’s baffled us over the years. Minesweeper is a minimalistic puzzle game where you try not to click on mines. Nasty!

Minesweeper the Video Game

Here’s one of those games that takes a hellish thing (mines) and turns it into a brain scratching, beard stroking puzzle game.

The goal of Minesweeper is to click on square boxes across a rectangular board, although some of those squares contain a mine.

Click on the mine and it’s game over. So, where do you even start? There’s luck and risk involved, sure, but you get some clues to help you along.

The numbers you see are hints about mines adjacent to the squares around you.

It’s fair to say we didn’t understand this at all as kids. Minesweeper was a free game bundled with PCs and in the 1990s we died many a time because of it.

However, some folks are really, really, really good at it. Behold! Here’s a speedrunning world record.

Yeah, so it’s a very basic looking video game. Kind of like Tetris, some of the best puzzle games are just openly minimalistic.

The key to a great title is the addictive quality. Clearly, lots of folks are super addicted to Minesweeper.

Primarily for the risk element. The game makes you think, but you’re never 100% certain if you’re going to avoid clicking on a mine.

As for the history of the game, it came about on computer mainframes in the 1960s. It’s believed Jerimac Ratliff’s Cube was the major inspiration.

Microsoft Minesweeper has become the most famous version of the game. Curt Johnson created it and many home computers with Windows had the thing on it. That’s how we came to play it around 1998 for the first time.

So, it’s something of an iconic part of Microsoft’s technical history. Even if these days you’re more likely to get a free chess game with your computer.

But for folks in the 1990s, Minesweeper throws up many fond (if baffling) memories.

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