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The Mystery Creator of Windows Solitaire

By Emily - 09/23/2022

If you've worked with the Windows operating system in the last 32 years, you've probably come across Windows Solitaire. Since the game was first pre-installed on Windows version 3.0 in 1990, it has been played over 20 billion times through their Windows Solitaire Collection, and even more times through various online options, such as our solitaire game.

Undoubtedly, Solitaire is one of the most played computer games worldwide. But it didn't get to this level without some mystery surrounding the game. The story behind the creation of Windows Solitaire is fascinating. Surprisingly, the story begins with a bored intern named Wes Cherry.

A bored intern

Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most talked-about Window games was created by a bored intern. The reason it was created was that Wes Cherry wanted to familiarize himself with the Microsoft programming environment. He wasn't sure whether it'd be good. He was bored and wanted to learn more about the system.

There is much speculation around this game's origin. Microsoft said the game was developed to teach people how to use the mouse, but Wes Cherry says otherwise. In an interview with the Great Big Story, he said, "In reality, it was something just to have fun with."

In this interview, Cherry also mentioned that Bill Gates, the owner of Microsoft, tested the game before it was released. Though Gates was intelligent and innovative, he described the Klondike Solitaire game as "too hard to win."

As the game was released, Cherry suggested it was so addicting that it was linked to the world recession in 1990. Because the game was on all computers running the Windows operating system, he believes that employees played endless amounts of solitaire to help pass the time.

So, what was Cherry’s response to this? He created a new feature called the "Boss key," allowing players to click a button to make a spreadsheet appear. This would make it look like the person playing the card game was working. But, as you can imagine, Microsoft swiftly made him remove this function.

With the game being such a popular go-to option for many users, surely Cherry must have made a fortune. Well, according to him, it's the complete opposite. Because he was an intern, he made nothing, even 32 years after its initial release.

How's life now?

Upon graduating, Cherry transformed his internship into a full-time position on the Microsoft Excel team. He worked on this team for around a decade, leaving in 2000 to pursue other interests.

Today, Cherry works with apples. Not Apple, the company, but apples, the fruit. His career took a steep turn, and he now runs his own cidery.

So, although Cherry was insanely talented with coding, he still worked towards something he enjoyed.


Windows Solitaire changed the way we look at computers. At the time, it was highly addictive and people worldwide played the game.

The moral of the story here is that you never know what's possible when you're bored. After all, you could even create a game like Klondike Solitaire.