Bill Gates came up with the idea of creating Xbox thanks to Minesweeper.
Minesweeper, a computer game released in 1989 that is much more than a simple game. This title created by Curt Johnson and Robert Donner was quite a phenomenon at the time, so much so that probably most of the people who were in the beginning of pc gaming I’m sure they remember it perfectly.
Although it was a relatively simple game, its gameplay and rules had something unique that kept you entertained for a long time. However, what many do not know is that the rise of Minesweeper had a significant impact on Xbox history. If you still do not know why this title has had such an impact on Microsoft projects, then we will tell you the details related to Minesweeper and Xbox.
Minesweeper and Solitaire were the first step in creating Xbox
According to the ArsTechnica report, in the 1990s, Microsoft was dedicated solely to producing operating systems, but little by little it entered the video game industry by add titles like Solitaire and Minesweeper in your projects. Mainly, they were games created to entertain and teach the user better skills with the mouse and keyboard, but to the surprise of Bill Gates (co-founder of the company), these games became very popular in offices and many parts of the world.
In fact, it was such an impact that the manager of the first Windows package, Charles Fitzgerald, confirmed that Bill Gates had become addicted to the game for its logic issues. Meanwhile, Minesweeper developer Robert Donner was providing help to users who claimed there was a bug in the game, when in fact they were logic glitches.
“Every time someone claimed to have found a bug, I would ask them to send me a screenshot, and then I would have to point out their logic error.” -Robert Donner.
This is where the memory of Bruce Ryan, the product manager of the entertainment package, comes in, who explains that minesweeper was quite complicated, because many people claimed that the expert mode was impossible to overcome and some did not understand how to play Minesweeper. That didn’t stop Gates though, as he was the one who emailed Ryan stating that he had cleared Minesweeper Beginner mode in 10 seconds, but that wasn’t the most shocking.
Gates’s obsession with Minesweeper increased exponentially to the point that he outdid himself and got an impressive record. According to Ryan, one day he was called by Gates and told that he had passed the mode Minesweeper Beginner in 5 seconds in the office of Mike Hallman (Microsoft’s president at the time).
“This was early at night. So we went there, at seven at night. Hallman was a former Boeing executive, and he wasn’t a funny guy, so… the idea that Bill is sitting there after the work, going to the president’s office so I could play Minesweeper, it was just a weird sight.” -Bruce Ryan.
Minesweeper was the decisive factor for Bill Gates and Microsoft to decide to take it very seriously, starting a new implementation of games on their operating systems. In 1990, finally, Windows 3.0 was released, the first system that came with a pre-installed copy of Reversi and Solitairethe latter being one of the most successful projects of all time for Microsoft.
The topic of games evolved to such an extent that they took the initiative to specialize in this type of market, thus reaching the xbox idea. While Microsoft computers back then could provide the ability to play games, a console would change everything and would give way to what we know today as one of the best video game brands in an industry where many wonder: where to buy Xbox Series X.
Although many people do not know that minesweeper was the key For Microsoft development, it’s clear that without this small but hugely important game, we would never have enjoyed the success that Xbox is today. So next time you play Minesweeper or Solitaire, remember all the good things you’ve brought to Microsoft.