The game joins "Mortal Kombat," "Super Mario Kart," and the text-based title "Colossal Cave Adventure" as the latest inductees to The Strong's World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Modern gamers may snooze at the thought of playing solitaire. But for old-school PC users, Microsoft Solitaire was a go-to game in the 1990s when free-to-play software was sparse. Solitaire's easy-to-learn mechanics also helped pave the way for the casual gaming market, according to The Strong's National Museum of Play.
"The game proved that sometimes analog games can be even more popular in the digital world and demonstrated that a market existed for games that appeal to people of all types," said The Strong's assistant vice president Jeremy Saucier.
Microsoft Solitaire debuted in 1990 on Windows 3.0 as a free title bundled with the operating system. A company intern named Wes Cherry developed it because the Windows OS had no real games at the time. In an interview in 2017, Cherry said he wasn't paid a cent to create the game, even though it quickly became a popular distraction for office workers.
At one point, he even created a special key that would allow the player to switch between the game and a spreadsheet. "It made it look like you were doing real work, but Microsoft made me take it out," he said in the interview.
Since its debut, the game has been distributed to more than a billion computers, and localized into 65 different languages, Microsoft said. "It's incredible to think that one of the most played video games in the world got its start in 1990 as a way for Microsoft to teach users how to use a mouse," said Paul Jensen, studio manager for Microsoft Casual Games, in a statement.
According to the company, people in more than 200 markets still play Microsoft Solitaire today, despite all the current computer game offerings.