Windows 3.x card games
March 13, 2011
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Yesterday I created a seperate section on Download Central especially for Windows 3.x card games. The reason I did so is the same as why I listed Tetris clones separately: There is such an inane amount of them.
The interesting thing is that with card games, this is true for one platform only: 16-bit Windows. Sure there were lots of card solitaire games on the Commodore 64, at least the list looks impressive, but it’ less than one percent of the total number of known C64 games. There were only a handful on the Amiga. Even though the extended IBM character set contains the four card suits, there were few card games, solitaire or otherwise, on the PC before Windows. And then, suddenly, it becomes the most popular genre. How that? There are several possible reasons:
- Microsoft’s Solitaire
- Starting with Windows 3.0, it was part of the Windows distribution, and was popular and addictive. Since it had only one solitaire game, klondike, the motivation was high for any fledgling programmer to try to implement another rule set.
- DLLs with card graphics
- There were a number of them, AFAIK one even came with Visual Basic (it would seem to me that the percentage of games written in VB was higher among the card games than among the Windows games in general). So it was easier for a programmer with no graphic skills to create a decent-looking card game than any other type of game.
Apart from that, Windows is generally well fit for card games, just as it is well fit for board games, or Mah Jongg solitaire. All these games play a lot better with a mouse interface, require only abstract geometrical or highly standardized graphics and little or no animation, and can be played during a short break. This last point is of course not a technical issue, but that was the kind of game that was popular on Windows during the 3.x era.
In any case, enjoy the card games. At the moment there are only eight, the four that were already up and four new ones. But a lot more will come. In the past weeks I had deliberately not added any card games because I was already determined to create this section. Nothing’s stopping me now. 🙂