Future Tense

Microsoft Solitaire Is 25. Join the Tournament!

A gentleman’s game.

Screencap of Solitaire by Jonathan Fischer and Dan Kois

The best part of encountering an old PC—whether it’s your ancient IBM Thinkpad or your great-aunt’s Gateway desktop—is playing Solitaire on a long-obsolete version of Windows. Change the card art to the spooky castle and go nuts. And for the beloved classic’s 25th birthday, Microsoft is launching two tournaments to identify the ultimate Solitaire addicts.

Microsoft says that the first competition will be internal at the company this month. Then in June it will publicly release the same challenges it gives its employees for an Internet-wide showdown. As Slate’s Josh Levin wrote in 2008, “Though on its face it might seem trivial, pointless, a terrible way to waste a beautiful afternoon, etc., solitaire has unquestionably transformed the way we live and work.”

Microsoft offers a whole Solitaire Collection for download now, but there’s nothing like the original that first awakened pure digital procrastination in each of us. And by the way, if you haven’t played FreeCell in a while, it’s still a nightmare.