Minesweeper (also known as Microsoft Minesweeper, WinMine, and Flower Field) is a puzzle game developed and published by Microsoft for Windows PCs in 1990 (as part of Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows). It was later bundled with all consumer installations of the Microsoft Windows operating systems from Windows 3.1 to Windows 7.
Loosely based on some logic puzzle computer games of the 1960s-1980s (such as Mined-Out and Relentless Logic), Minesweeper has players uncovering tiles on a tiled board while avoiding hidden landmines (whose locations are deduced by the player, as uncovered tiles show how many mines surround it).
Originally released as part of the first Microsoft Entertainment Pack, it was included in Windows 3.1 as a tool for learning the mouse. It was then included in subsequent Windows releases (along with other games, namely Solitaire, FreeCell, and Hearts), where it gained in popularity. The version of the game included in both Windows Vista and Windows 7, developed in part by Oberon Games, features enhanced graphical updates and the added ability to save and restore in-progress games.
Some versions of the game in other regions were given the title of Flower Field, with exploding mines replaced with blooming flowers, due to complaints about it being offensive to minefield victims. This was later added as an optional theme to the Windows Vista and Windows 7 versions, where it serves as the default in affected regions.
Beginning with Windows 8, the game itself is no longer included in Windows installations. However, it received a free-to-play successor with Microsoft Minesweeper. Like other pack-in games that are kept when upgrading the Windows operating system, the base installation of the pack-in version of Minesweeper is removed completely once an April 2018 update of Windows 10 is applied.
Along with numerous unofficial ports and adaptations, including the game of the same name for the Game Boy and PC Engine CD-ROM², the game was included in the Game Boy Color port of The Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack, and received an official mobile adaptation for Windows Phone 7. It also received a browser-based multiplayer-focused spin-off called Minesweeper Flags, which later had a console adaptation for the Xbox 360 (with the original game included).
The game consists of squares arranged in a rectangular grid. Some of the squares have mines hidden under them. If you left-click on a square with a mine under it then you lose. If there isn't a mine, then a number appears indicating the number of mines under adjacent squares. If there are no mines in any of the nearby squares, then it automatically clears those squares. The object of the game is to clear every square that doesn't have a mine. To make this easier, you can mark squares that you believe to have a mine with a flag. Also, some versions of the game allow you to place a question mark as an option. The game tells you the number of mines left that you have not marked. Also, the game clock records the speed with which you have completed the game. If you complete the game in a record amount of time for a given difficulty, then it saves your time and alias.
The game includes three standard difficulty modes and a custom difficulty. The difference between the different modes is the size of the rectangular grid and the number of mines.
- Beginner: 9x9 grid (8x8 in Windows 98 versions and earlier), 10 mines
- Intermediate: 16x16 grid, 40 mines
- Expert: 16x30 grid, 99 mines
Using the Custom Mode, you can make the mine count as high as 667 with a 24x30 grid on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Many people have scored 1 second on beginner, which is the minimum score possible.
The record time for intermediate difficulty is 7.27 seconds, set by Kamil Muranski of Poland. Video
The record time for expert difficulty is 31.133 seconds, also set by Kamil Muranski of Poland. Video