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Bill Gates was obsessed with one of the simplest games ever, but a trick just as simple cured him – WhatsNew2Day


If you believe a former colleague of Bill Gates, he was temporarily addicted to Minesweeper.

Games can absorb us so much that we forget about everything else around us. Even IT greats like Bill Gates are not immune to this, as an interesting anecdote from Microsoft’s Strum and Drang phase proves (via Arstechnica).

What is it about? At the beginning of the 90s there was probably an internal fight for the best result in the minigame minesweeperlike then Microsoft employee Bruce Ryan in one Book by gaming journalist Kyle Orland told. This game was later also an official part of the Microsoft operating system, more precisely from the Windows version 3.1 up to Windows 7.

Ryan’s colleague Melinda French, who Gates would later marry, was seriously concerned that Gates might be neglecting important tasks due to his minesweeper obsession. So she approached Ryan with the following request:

Please don’t tell Bill about the progress on the minesweeper record (…). Bill has a lot of important decisions to make, and it shouldn’t take up his time!

This undertaking was probably not that easy, which is also proven by Gates’ extremely good result of only five seconds until the end of the game. So Ryan had to come up with something special. In the end, a single click was decisive, even if it took many, many more clicks before that.

What is Minesweeper about? The principle of the game is extremely simple: Uncover all fields of an area of ​​different sizes with a mouse click as quickly as possible, without clicking on one of the fields under which a mine is hiding. Hence the name.

If there is no mine on a clicked square, it will display a number instead. It reveals how many mines are on the adjacent fields. In addition, several fields are automatically revealed at once if there is no mine there.

In addition to left-clicking to reveal a field, you can right-click to mark a field with a flag. This is intended for fields behind which one suspects mines. It also prevents you from accidentally clicking on such a field.

The simple solution to the Gates minesweeper problem

To cure Gates of his obsession, Ryan has taken advantage of a rare Minesweeper quirk. If the randomly placed mines are well distributed, you can solve the game with a single click in one of the corners of the playing field.

This has nothing to do with logical thinking, but it still ensures an unbeatable record of just one second. But how do you reach him?

The answer was very simple: via macro programming. Ryan has the simple tool macro recorder caused the computer to automatically click in a corner of the Minesweeper playfield and then immediately restart the round if the game wasn’t over.

There is a free version of Minesweeper in the Microsoft Store, but it quickly gets annoying with advertising and references to the paid premium version.

There is a free version of Minesweeper in the Microsoft Store, but it quickly gets annoying with advertising and references to the paid premium version.

In his case, it took about four hours to achieve victory like this with a single click within a second. And Ryan then rubbed this unbeatable record under the nose of his boss Gates via screenshot and email with the following words:

Sorry your five second record is finally broken because I don’t think you can break a second.

Ryan didn’t expect a reaction from Gates, but it came anyway. In it, the Microsoft founder ironically expressed his disappointment at having been replaced by a computer. From today’s perspective, however, his following words are probably more relevant than ever:

This technology thing is going too far. If machines can do things faster than humans, how can we still maintain our human dignity?

Regardless, if you want to see for yourself whether Minesweeper can really be that addictive, there’s a quick way to get there: a free one browser version. We wish you a lot of fun – you’ve been warned now!

Do you have your own memories of playing Minesweeper? If so, did the game cause you a certain addiction at the time? And what was your record for uncovering the playing field in the standard size? If not, do you still find the game idea appealing? Or can minesweeper no longer be lured out in front of the oven from today’s point of view? Feel free to write it in the comments!

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