Perhaps one of the biggest time waster in the office since the advent of the water cooler would have to be solitaire on Microsoft Windows. Originally a simple one player card game, it made its transition to the digital world as part of a package with Microsoft Windows. But it begs the question. Why did Microsoft include solitaire with the Windows operating system?
When Windows was first released it was a radical change from previous operating systems. One of the biggest revolutionary changes was the introduction of the graphical interface, more commonly known today as the mouse. As we know today, the computer mouse can do more than just point and click. One feature includes the ability to drag and drop. Although it seems relatively simple and second nature today, initially drag and drop was a completely alien feature. That’s why Microsoft included solitaire with Windows. Giving the users a fun way to learn a new technique was a way to allow it to be quickly adopted and adapted to.
While the game itself is about as exciting as watching paint dry on a cloudy, damp day, it wasn’t included for fun as much as it was for education. By including solitaire in the new operating system, Microsoft effectively built up user familiarity and confidence in using the new graphical interface.
The obvious downside was the countless hours of lost work in the office. Compared to drafting boring reports or even more boring pie charts, it’s actually not that bad a game. It’s silent, challenging (unless you are playing one card at a time), and back when it was introduced in digital format, pretty darn exciting. You no longer had to buy a deck of cards and risk losing or damaging one. Even better, there was no more physical shuffling. Perhaps the reason it’s no longer included in the current releases of the operating system is because of the time wasting factor.