That time Bill Gates became so obsessed with high Minesweeper scores that the Microsoft staff had to conjure up one they couldn’t beat.

Journalist Kyle Orland is writing a comprehensive book on the history of Minesweeper (opens in a new tab), which I suspect is a much more fascinating topic than it appears at first glance. Minesweeper is one of those games that feels somehow ubiquitous now, always there no matter what PC you’re on, even though its roots lie with Microsoft in the early ’90s and specifically the Windows 3.0 era. As part of the book launch campaign. Ars Technica presents a chapter on those early days (opens in a new tab)and a particularly big fan of the game.

Minesweeper first appeared on Microsoft’s internal network in 1990, where a number of employees were quickly (understandably) hooked. “It was, of course, a very well-proven piece of software at Microsoft,” said Charles Fitzgerald, product manager for the first Windows entertainment package to contain Minesweeper.

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