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Minesweeper (Game): 25 Fun / Interesting Facts (History, Stats,…)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Depending on when you got your first computer, you might remember a game known as Minesweeper. Since its inception, Minesweeper has been a popular time-filling type of game. But how much do we know about the old school game that most of us never understood as kids but eventually learned to love? Below are 25 fun and interesting facts about Minesweeper.

Microsoft’s Minesweeper is a popular pastime, so popular that there are Minesweeper world championship tournaments. Microsoft developed it in 1990 and included it in all operating system releases until Windows 8. There are common and rare numbers and recognizable patterns.

Minesweeper is a highly addictive time filler, but was that its intended purpose? Who developed the game? Who are the highest-ranking individuals? And is Minesweeper still available? Let’s find out. 

1. Who Created Minesweeper?

Robert Donner and Curt Johnson were the masterminds behind developing the minesweeper game. Johnson was the game’s original designer, and he created it for the International Business Machines Corporation’s operating system, OS/2. 

Donner later ported Minesweeper to the Microsoft operating system (Windows). Donner and Johnson were both Microsoft employees at the time. 

2. What Year Was Minesweeper Created?

Minesweeper-style games trace their origins back to the 1960s, but the Microsoft Minesweeper version we know and love was first released in 1990 for the Windows Entertainment Pack 1. It was then re-released in 1992 on Windows 3.1 as a standard feature for that and following versions of the Microsoft operating system.

3. The Original Purpose For Minesweeper 

Although many of us think of Minesweeper as a time filler, the original intention behind its development was to increase user familiarity with a computer mouse. Prior operating system versions of Windows were text-based. 

4. Minesweeper Was Originally Called Mine

Before Microsoft incorporated Minesweeper into the Windows package, it was called Mine and was a game amongst friends. To attract people to purchase the Windows operating system, they added Minesweeper (after rebranding and tweaking it) to the Entertainment Pack.

5. Microsoft Did Not Stop At Minesweeper

Microsoft’s goal of educating the masses did not stop at Minesweeper. Solitaire, a card game released at around the same time as Minesweeper for Windows, was designed by Microsoft to teach computer users to drag and drop. 

These two games were Microsoft’s way of helping new users learn to use their computers more effectively/efficiently. Good job Microsoft; you tricked us into playing educational games!

6. Minesweeper Replaced Reversi

Minesweeper gained critical popularity from the start; it also replaced “Reversi” as part of the Windows package.

7. Minesweeper Board Setups Generally Follow A Pattern

Although not all rounds follow these patterns, the two most commonly found patterns in Minesweeper are 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1. Once you’ve clicked and the tiles begin to reveal how many bombs are in the area, they’ll often follow a 1 next to a 2 next to a 1, or they’ll have a 1 next to a 2, 2, and a 1. 

These patterns help players move quickly and accurately through a round, provided they correctly recognize them.

8. Minesweeper Has A Skill Element 

No matter if there is a pattern, playing Minesweeper requires an element of skill. Aside from testing your observation skills, you’ll need to use deductive reasoning to determine where the mines are.

Practice is the fundamental ingredient. The more you improve, the quicker and more accurate you become.

9. Minesweeper Also Has A Luck Element 

As much as skill is a fundamental factor in Minesweeper, luck is a small element. Sometimes it’s impossible to observe or deduce with 100% certainty whether a mine is under a particular tile or not, and an educated guess becomes necessary.

10. What Are The Rarest Numbers In Minesweeper? 

The rarest numbers are seven and eight.

According to StackExchange.com, getting a number 8 in Minesweeper is roughly 6X10 (to the power of negative 8) or a 0.0008219 chance of getting an 8.

Getting a seven is slightly more feasible, with a 0.02716 chance. 

11. What Are The Most Common Numbers In Minesweeper?

The numbers 0 to 3 are the most commonly found in Minesweeper. Most games will have these numbers as their “backbone,” with the occasional 4, 5, and 6. The frequency of these numbers decreases the greater the value.

12. What Is the Average Time A Beginner Round Takes To Complete?

According to the consensus on Quora, a good average time to complete a beginner round is 15 seconds. A fantastic time to complete a beginner round is 6 seconds.

13. What Is The Average Time An Intermediate Round Takes To Complete?

A good time to complete Minesweeper on the intermediate difficulty is 50 seconds. A better time to complete intermediate levels is 35 seconds.

14. What Is The Average Time A Expert Round Takes To Complete?

A good time to complete expert-level rounds is 120 seconds, while a superb time is 99 seconds.

15. Minesweeper Has A “Shortcut” Function

Chording is what you do after placing all the flags where you think the mines are. By pressing both mouse buttons simultaneously, you open all unflagged tiles.

If you’re correct, you’ll get an “instant win,” if you have a mine unflagged, you lose.

16. There Is A Cheat Code In The Original Minesweeper

You read correctly! Minesweeper (Windows 3 version) has a “cheat code.” Open Minesweeper, type in “xyzzy,” and press the left shift key.

Although it’s not a “Mario Bros” Skip to the end of “World Five” type of cheat code, what it does is indicate with a tiny white pixel that the tile your mouse cursor is over is “clean,” while a black pixel indicates a mine under the tile.

17. Minesweeper’s Popularity Is Timeless

At Minesweeper’s inception into the PC world, it became an instant hit, and from 1992 until 2009, Microsoft included it in every Windows operating system release (from Windows 3.1 until Windows 7). Millions of people played Minesweeper globally, probably closer to hundreds of millions.

However, since 2012, Microsoft has decided to withhold Minesweeper from the operating system installation package. The updated game is still available for download from the Microsoft Store.

18. How Has Minesweeper Changed Over The Years?

Although Minesweeper saw some alterations over the years, the game has remained fundamentally the same. In 2000, Microsoft made a few adjustments to the difficulty levels. Microsoft contracted Oberon Media to “overhaul” minesweeper for the Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems (OS). 

19. The Original Version Of Minesweeper Is Still Accessible

Newer versions of Minesweeper tend to lack the appeal of the original (especially if you grew up playing the old style). While some of the updated versions are okay, sites like Archives.org provide access to the originals to get back to the classic feel. All you need to do is download it.

20. There Are Many Renditions Of Minesweeper

If the classic Minesweeper is not to your liking, there are many similar games, including: 

  • BeTrapped
  • Crossmines
  • Catch and farm
  • Zombie Minesweeper

21. There Is A Group Of People Against Minesweeper

Interestingly, some people (like the International Campaign to Ban Winmine from 2001) don’t appreciate the “minefield” theme of Minesweeper. They argue that landmines are a real issue many people deal with in war-torn areas. 

Due to the controversy, Microsoft started producing a “flower” edition of Minesweeper. 

This step satiated some people, but unfortunately, not everyone.

22. There Are Actual Minesweeper Tournaments 

The first tournament was held in 2005 in Budapest. Since the beginning, each year, they hold a competition of sorts.

There are World championship events and national level events.

23. Who Holds The Record In Minesweeper

Ze-En Ju broke the previous record of Kamil Murański in Expert level minesweeper. 

In 2010, Kamil set four world records, including: 

  • Intermediate: 7.5 seconds 
  • Expert (unflagging): 35.15 seconds
  • Intermediate (unflagging): 8.19 seconds

24. What Is The Fastest Time For Beginner Rounds?

As incredible as it sounds, the fastest time to complete the beginner’s difficulty is 1 second. A feat many people boast about. 

25. What Is The Fastest Time For Intermediate Rounds?

The world record for the intermediate difficulty is 7.5 seconds. 

Conclusion

Minesweeper remains addictive in its simplicity. Although some find fault in it, there are thousands of devout players. With so much diversity in the versions, we can assume that Minesweeper will be popular for decades to come.F

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.