Puzzle games have been around for a while, and while some have advanced quite a lot over the years, some kept things simple. Minesweeper is one of those.
Mostly popular as the little bomb finding game included in every Windows installation, this game has roots dating back way before that era. The general idea behind Minesweeper is a series of games that first started to appear around the 60s, and it became popular around the 80s.
The Minesweeper, as we know today, was born by the end of the 80s. Developed by Robert Donner, the game was something like a pet project for him that initially got distributed within Microsoft for his colleagues to play it. The game was first introduced as a part of the Windows operating system in 1992 with Windows 3.1. Interestingly enough, the point of the game was for the users to learn to use the right-click.
So, you have one of the most popular games globally, but do you know how to play it? The game wasn’t released with any tutorial when you start it. The window opens, you see the grid and smiley face, and the first thing you do is click on a box in the grid, and the game starts.
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The goal of the game is simple – identify all the bombs on the grid without clicking on one. It sounds simple, but it requires some thinking and a little bit of luck.
The layout of the game is simple, and it hasn’t changed over the years. Above the grid, you have the number of bombs on the filed and the timer, which starts running when you click on the first box from the grid. The yellow smiley face tells you if you have completed the game or not. If you see the shades, then you won. You can also use it to restart the game.
Minesweeper has three predefined difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, and expert. For each level, the size of the grid is different, just as is the number of bombs, so you have 10, 40, and 99 bombs. There is an option to customize the grid and determine the number of boxes and bombs on the grid. Let’s start the game.
Most people think of Minesweeper as a game of tactics, and for that reason, the first box that you open can be important. The best way to start a game is from the center and work your way to the borders. With that, you will avoid getting stuck in a corner and having to “begin” from a new part on the grid. Depending on the difficulty setting, when you click on the first box from the grid, you will either see the box show a number, or you will see multiple boxes turn into unclickable ones and show some numbers. If your luck is not great, you may hit a bomb on the first try, so don’t disappoint and restart the game. Each of the numbers you see represents the number of bombs in the adjacent boxes. For example, if you see the number 2, it means that in the eight boxes surrounding that number, there are two bombs. This is where you need to think and do some guesswork to determine where the bomb is.
In some cases, determining the locations of the bomb will be simple. If you have eight boxes with the number 1 and one unopened box in the middle of them, then that’s where the bomb is. When you are sure that you have located a bomb, right-click the box, and you will see a flag, which will inform you that you think there is a bomb.
In other cases, you may find yourself in a situation where you will need some luck because you will need to take a guess. You may have 2 and 3 next to each other, but you may have more unopened fields around them. Both numbers don’t mean that you have five bombs in the vicinity; it just means that there are two bombs adjacent to the number 2 and 3 bombs on 3. Check the number of unopened boxes around both numbers and see how many are next to them. Depending on the situation, you may have three unopened fields around them, so it won’t take any guesses to determine that all three contain bombs. If there are more, you will need to rethink your strategy and even start praying on Lady Luck.
The game will end at the moment when you open all boxes except the ones with the bombs. It means that the number of flags only plays a role in your marking, so if you have mismarked a bomb, the game will not be over. Apart from the flag, there is also an option to add a question mark on boxes that you think are suspicious. To add it, you need to right-click twice on a box. Even though it may seem useful, after a few games, you will find it obsolete and will never use it again. To remove a question mark or a flag from a marked box, right-click once or twice accordingly, and the box will be blank.
You may have thought that Minesweeper is easy and simple, and you are partially right. Even though the rules are simple and the game is easy to play, it takes some time to learn the basics to master it. To understand it as best as you can, try from the beginner levels and work your way from there. Win a few before moving on to the next.