Early Microsoft games were used to teach people

  • 24 May 2019

Most people may not be very good with computers but if there's one software that many do use, it would be the Microsoft games.

Did you know that Microsoft did not include the games for the benefit of bored office workers but to actually teach their users back in the day how to use the software and hardware? Mental Floss lists the following purposes of the games:


Solitaire was first introduced in Windows 3.0 in 1990. It is based on an actual card game that has been around since the 1700s. Microsoft added it because they wanted to sooth their customers who might have been intimidated by the operating system and who were not familiar with the graphical user interface.

Solitaire also trained its players to use the mouse, which most people were not used to using back then. It helped them to do the most basic but important task: drag and drop.


The numbers-based logic puzzle was popular in the 1960s and 1970s and were included in mainframe games (mainframe computers were computers used by institutions and businesses. This was before the personal computer was invented). Minesweeper was added to Windows 3.1 in 1992, to teach users to be adept in left and right clicking; and to foster speed and precision in mouse movement.


The game was included in Windows for Workgroup 3.1 in 1992. Windows for Workgroups is an extension that allowed users to share their resources and to request those of others without a centralised authentication server.

Workgroup 3.1 was the first network-ready version of Windows-and used Microsoft's new NetDDE technology to communicate with other Hearts clients on a local network. Hearts was used to get users interested in the networking capabilities of the new operating system.


It was part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack Volume 2 for Windows 3.1 in 1991. FreeCell was bundled with the Win32s package that allowed 32-bit applications to run on the 16-bit Windows 3.1. Its purpose was actually to test the 32-bit thunking layer (a data processing subsystem), which had been introduced as part of Win32s. If the thunking layer was improperly installed, FreeCell wouldn't run. So the game was used as a warning sign when the software didn't work.

Photo Source: Business Insider

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