Minesweeper is often in the news and this page collects these moments. All articles discussed can be downloaded in the Newspaper Articles collection.
A search of Google Books returns 43000 results for "minesweeper", with about 1000 results for the game.
The Curious Incident
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" (2003) is a novel by Mark Haddon about a boy with autism. On page 21 the boy writes, "Then I turned my computer on and played 76 games of Minesweeper and did the Expert Version in 102 seconds, which was only 3 seconds off my best time, which is 99 seconds".
The inventor of minesweeper, Robert Donner, told the owner of this site that Bill Gates had played minesweeper. In 1990 Bill scored 4 seconds on Beginner, the earliest known minesweeper record. "Bill sent email to me and a program manager inviting us to verify it for ourselves. He said it was sitting on Mike Hallman's machine. I was too busy to go, but the PM [Project Manager] verified it." At the time, Mike Hallman was company president. Minesweeper was officially released in October 1990 but beta versions were being passed around the office several months earlier.
This is confirmed by an article in the Washington Post by Joel Garreau, dated 9 Mar 1994 on page C1 and entitled, "Office minefield: Computers make work a lot easier. They make play easier too." According to a Usenet post the article claims Gates scored 3 seconds, but we have not yet located a copy of the article to resolve the difference.
The weekly newsletter from B3ta, Issue #118 on 16 Jan 2004, interviewed Windows Solitaire author Wes Cherry. In response to the question, "Do you play Minesweeper?" he answered, "I did. I actually learned a strategy from Bill Gates to win at Minesweeper: Click as fast and as randomly as you can." Given the humour in his replies, the seriousness of the answer is debatable!
The author of Harry Potter plays minesweeper. On 15 May 2004 she posted on her site, "In the bad old days, when I wanted a few minutes' break while writing, I used to light up a cigarette. I gave up smoking in the year 2000 and now chew a lot of gum instead (hence the state of my desk). However, chewing a bit of gum does not give you an excuse for a nice little brain-resting break, so instead I like to escape the complexities of the latest plot by playing a quick game of Minesweeper. Since giving up smoking I must boastfully inform you that I have become rather good and that my current best time for expert level is 101 seconds."
In December 2004 she added, "Just thought you might like to know that my personal best for Expert Level Minesweeper is now ninety nine seconds. This goes to show how much time I have been spending at this computer, typing 'The Half-Blood Prince'. To those who suggest that I might get on even faster if I stopped taking Minesweeper breaks, I shall turn a deaf ear. It's either Minesweeper or smoking, I can't write if I have to give up both."
The newspapers in Scotland, where she lives, reported the story with many mistakes. The Daily Record said to join the Top 100 she needed a sum of 95 but only had 101. Rowling had 101 on Expert (not in total) and needed a sum of 99 (not 95) to join the world ranking. The Scotsman then claimed Rowling was only 6 seconds away from being among the best 100 minesweeper players, and other papers repeated these mistakes.
On 30 Sep 1999, BootLog.co.uk was asked about the fastest minesweeper time. Rick Maybury searched the web and replied that Expert had been completed in 120 seconds.
Richard Kaye (UK) wrote a paper in 1999 showing that solving Minesweeper efficiently was a P=NP problem. It was published in 2000 in the Mathematical Intelligencer. When the Clay Mathematics Institute (USA) announced seven math problems and offered a million dollars to anyone who could solve or disprove one, Ian Stewart (USA) connected the dots. He wrote an article called "Million Dollar Minesweeper" in the October 2000 edition of Scientific American pages 94-95. On 1 Nov 2000 he gave a lecture at the Institute about how solving minesweeper could win the prize for the P=NP problem. Many newspapers reported the story, including the Boston Globe (USA, 1 Nov) and The Register (UK, 6 Nov). Ian Stewart later published the story in his book "Math Hysteria: Fun and Games with Mathematics" in Chapter 20 (2004).
In 1999, Sergio Chiodo (Italy) created the International Campaign to Ban Winmine, and argued that Minesweeper was offensive to landmine victims. He suggested replacing the mines with flowers, and the campaign eventually led to Microsoft releasing Prato Fiorito (Flower Field) in Italy - see Windows Minesweeper for more information. In 2001 several newspapers picked up the story. It seems the first report was by the Italian newspaper Libero which was later republished at EnterStageRight.com on 18 Jun 2001. It was then reported in the UK by The Register (21 Jun) and in the USA by Geek.com (29 June) amongst others.
On 15 Jun 2002, Peter Fitzsimmons wrote in his column at the Sydney Morning Herald that he was probably the best player with 61 seconds on the Intermediate level. He asked for his readers to submit their times. On 22 Jun 2002 he admitted defeat, linked to Authoritative Minesweeper and said that David Barry was the Australian champion with 15 seconds.
One of the large newspapers in France, Le Figaro, used to suggest interesting websites to its readers. On 19 Feb 2003 they recommended Planet Minesweeper. A rough english translation is "On the train, plane, at the house or at work, minesweeper remains a great classic when having a break. This game, extremely simple, consists of finding all the mines hidden under a grid without making them explode in a given time. Internet users can even find information on how to cheat. A list of records is open to all submissions."
Minesweeper is mentioned in over 100 articles on the web that complain playing games at work lowers productivity. Most of these do not discuss minesweeper in particular so are not listed here. One that does is a crn.com.au article on 17 Aug 2009 which lists the Top 10 ways to waste time at work. The opposite view is given in a bbc.co.uk article on 7 Nov 2003, where Professor Jeffrey Goldstein describes a company that allowed workers to play Solitaire and Minesweeper for one hour each day. Employees were happier and seemed to be more productive. (Many sites then copied the BBC article).
In The Senate
In 2005, Republican Austin Allran, a senator in North Carolina, introduced legislation to remove all free game modules from public computers. It was targeted at Solitaire, Minesweeper, Hearts and Freecell. It did not pass. Reported in USAToday.com on 18 Mar 2005.
On 14 Jul 2005 Vladimir Orlov wrote an article about minesweeper for the Russian website computerra.ru.
Roman Interview 1
After winning the Budapest 2006 minesweeper tournament, Roman Gammel (Russia) was interviewed by a Russian magazine. The two page story "Проверено, мин нет" (Checked, No Mine) was featured 24 Apr 2006 on pages 10 and 11, Issue 3 (2006), of "Мир & КапиталЪ" (World & Capital) magazine. This is a publication of Capital Insurance, and they were proud the world champion was an employee at the company. Roman told them about the history of world rankings and tournaments.
Roman Interview 2
A few months after his first interview, Roman was interviewed by Proplay.ru on 29 Jun 2006. It asked many of the same questions, and Roman talked about how he started playing, how he prepared for the tournament, the state of international play and his desire to host a Russian Championship.
Budapest 2008 Review
The Budapest 2008 competition took place at a games show sponsored by Microsoft. The event was reviewed on 25 Oct 2008 by the online magazine Index.hu. They mentioned minesweeper and briefly interviewed the winner, Thomas Kolar (Austria).
Most Popular Game
On 5 May 2009, Techradar.com published an article called "The Most Popular Game Ever: A History of Minesweeper". It briefly describes how to play, the XYZZY cheat and the Landmine controversy.
On 6 Mar 2010, www.focus.de reviewed Minesweeper online. It gives a brief history, links to a tutorial and mentions the International Campaign to Ban Winmine.
Kindle Has Mines
Matthew Humphries, writing for geek.com on 30 Sep 2010, revealed that the Amazon Kindle has a hidden version of minesweeper! Users can press SHIFT + ALT + M to access the game.
On 20 Mar 2011, Laura Michet interviewed Aryeh Draeger for 'secondpersonshooter.com'.
On 25 Aug 2011, Kamil Muranski wrote an article for pcworld.com on how to play minesweeper.
Kamil Muranski was interviewed on 23 Nov 2011 by babol.pl.
Retro Gamer magazine (UK, issue 124, 9 Jan 2014) published an article about Mined-Out and quoted the author of this website.
On 1 Sep 2004, a television station in Germany called TV! GIGA broadcast a 5 minute story about minesweeper. They played a 1s Beginner video by Jon Simonsen, a 10s Intermediate video by Matt McGinley, and a 43s video by Lasse Nyholm. At the time the world records were 1-10-41. The presenters joked that they should hire Lasse.
Season 1, Episode 2 (Uncertainty Principle) showed math genius Charlie Eppes playing minesweeper and using the P=NP problem to locate a group of bank robbers.
A popular station in Germany called Galileo is planning to show a 15 minute program about minesweeper. They contacted Authoritative Minesweeper on 31 Mar 2009 asking for contact information of the best German players and for a program that could solve the game. The filming took place in Berlin in April and the company paid travel costs. They filmed Robert Benditz (Germany) playing in his house, and Manuel Heider (Germany) playing on his laptop in a park. Then they filmed a competition in an old factory where Robert and Manuel competed against a Cheater using a solver program. It is expected 2 to 3 million viewers will watch the program when it airs.
In Season 2 (2014) Episode 19, Scully and Hitchcock beg Boyle not to tell anyone they brilliantly solved a case, because their computers would get upgraded and they "would lose Minesweeper".
The 2008 'Stop Landmines' campaign by the UN featured posters of the world as a minesweeper game.
Action Mines Canada
Action Mines Canada released a minesweeper poster in April 2008 to bring attention to landmines.
On 3 Oct 2006, Andrew McCauley (Australia) uploaded the current Expert world record of 38 seconds by Dion Tiu (Australia) to YouTube. Only a few people watched it, then Andrew noticed on 5 Feb 2007 it had suddenly been viewed 14,000 times after appearing on the first page of Digg.com. Three days later it reached 100,000 views and another five days later it hit 500,000 views! The video had gone 'viral'. It reached 1 million hits on 17 Aug 2007 and is currently nearing 4 million. Another video, Dion scoring 37 on Expert, was posted 12 Apr 2007 and is currently nearing 1 million views. Apart from 'Million Dollar Minesweeper', this is the most publicity ever given to the game.
White and Nerdy
Weird Al Yankovic released an album on 26 Sep 2006 with a song called "White & Nerdy". In the song he raps, "I'm a whiz at minesweeper I can play for days" and the music video shows him playing minesweeper - on a Macintosh computer! The song made the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA and various copies of the music video have been viewed by millions.
See Articles for research papers and presentations about minesweeper. This section lists times when minesweeper was taught in class. This list is by no means complete, as it is a popular computer science topic.
Students taking CS32 in 1998 were made to program a C++ version of minesweeper for UNIX.
Queen Mary, University of London
From 1998 to 2001, students in the "Introduction to Programming" course were made to study the 600 lines of code in a Java version of minesweeper.
University of Berkeley
A question about programmming minesweeper was used on a midterm test for CS61B in 1999.
In 2007 students in CS241 were given a lab assignment to create a Java application of minesweeper. Bonus points were awarded for designing a GUI.
Hobart & William Smith College
In 2007 students in CS225 were made to modify a Java version of minesweeper to practice recursive programming. Students taking CS124 in 2009 were made to program a minesweeper Java applet.
University of Arizona
In 2007/08/09, Alex Jerabek gave his CS227 students a task to create the game code for a Java version of minesweeper without making the GUI. In 2008/09 he gave a similar assignment to his CS127B class. His successor, Rick Mercer, gave a similar project in 2010 to the CS391 class. Code from a Java version was used in 2009 for CS335 and CS352.
National University of Singapore
In 2008 students in CS1102 were given a tutorial that asked questions about code from a Java version of Minesweeper.
Michigan State University
Students in CSE231 were given a project to write a version of minesweeper in Python using classes in 2008.
Rose Hulman Institute
In 2009/10 students in CSSE220 were made to program a version of minesweeper.
Students in 2010 taking CSC305 were made to improve the GUI of a Java version of minesweeper.
University of Texas
Students taking CS307 in 2010 were given code for a Java version of Minesweeper to study.
Students taking ECE 4760 in 2010 built a computer mouse that moved by tilting instead of sliding. As part of their experimental set-up, they made a version of minesweeper to test the effectiveness of the mouse.
On 13 Mar 2003, Emmanuel Brunelliere (France, 1-12-53) had only 2 pupils attend class so he taught them how to play minesweeper!