Microsoft Solitaire has been a popular game for years as one of the games most commonly played and bundled with the Windows operating system. Usually Microsoft / Windows Solitaire is refereed to as just “Solitaire” as a program. Unless otherwise stated, Windows Solitaire is always the Klondike variation of solitaire.
The first version of Windows Solitaire was written by Wes Cherry.
The first version of Windows Solitaire was programmed by Wes Cherry originally for Windows 2.1 during the summer of 1988.
At the time, Wes Cherry was an unpaid intern at Microsoft, and got no royalties. Instead Wes Cherry was compensated with an IBM XT in exchange for the software, which he has said he was happy about then and is still happy about today.
As a joke, people have paid Wes a penny for their Windows Solitaire playtime royalties owed. Don’t feel too bad about Wes — he later wrote a version of Pipe Dream for Windows in exchange for a few thousand dollars in stocks (which he used to buy a boat).
According to Wes Cherry, his version of Solitaire was based on versions he had played on a Mac! Of course the variation of Klondike is much older than the existence of any software, and would have logically been implemented by anyone eventually.
His girlfriend at the time Leslie Kooy designed several of the the iconic card backs (rainbow shell, haunted castle, beach scene, robot, hidden ace) (Susan Kare did the more traditional designs and is often incorrectly attributed with designing all of them). Leslie Kooy was a procrastinating art major at the time who enjoyed drawing the card backs one pixel at a time in her dorm room. The beach scene came out of her daydreams/college trips to San Felipe.
Windows Solitaire is one of the most popular Windows software ever.
Windows Solitaire is one of the top three programs ran on the Windows operating system. FreeCell is in the top seven of standard executables. Word and Excel are both less commonly ran than Solitaire!
Solitaire has been bundled in some form with many versions of Windows including Windows 3.0, Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
The cards.dll file used to be distributed with Windows. There was a 16bit version which had the same images as was in the original Windows Solitaire, and a 32bit version which had different images. The cards.dll file contained the card bitmaps and did all of the drawing of the cards. Its API had the following routines: cdtInit, cdtTerm, cdtDraw, cdtDrawExt, cdtAnimate
Windows Solitaire Cheats
You could “cheat” in Solitaire for Windows 3.0 by holding down Shift-Ctrl-Alt while clicking the deck to draw a single card instead of 3. This cheat worked for other versions too such as XP and 7, but no longer works in the Microsoft Solitaire Collection version of Klondike.
You can instantly win by holding down Shift+Alt+2. This works in the XP version but not the others (afaik).
In XP and 7 versions right clicking would automatically move available face up cards to the four foundations if they would be the next to add.
There’s more interesting facts about Windows Solitaire to discover. See you next time!