I have no idea what this "Minesweeper" is (and this Microsoft Windows), what are all you people up there even talking about?. The real Minesweeper was an arcade game released by Amutech way back in 1977, long before all this Windows foolishness.

The story

There were many titles released in the 1970s that were nearly identical in gameplay (like Bigfoot Bonkers, Comotion, Checkmate, and Dominos). You controlled a boat that moved around the screen, leaving a trail of mines behind you. The object was to get your opponent to crash into your mines before you crashed into theirs.

This basic game is remembered by most people as being a part of the Tron video game (the Light Cycle sequence), but Tron was merely copying a much older idea.

The game

This game was two player only, you must have a real live person to play against, or else the other players boat will head directly for the bottom wall, which doesn't make for a very interesting game.

Each player moves their little boat around leaving a solid line of mines behind them. All moves are made on an invisible grid, so you can only turn at 90 degree angles.

To win you must last longer than your opponent before hitting something (first person to hit something loses). One good strategy is to try and box your opponent in to a small section of the screen, and then just move carefully until they crash. Pushing backwards on the stick will cause you to crash into your own mines, so avoid that at all cost.

ASCII Screenshot
♦                                                    ♦
♦            1                                       ♦
♦                                             ♦      ♦
♦     ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦                                ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦                                ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦               <♦♦♦♦♦           ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦                    ♦           ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦                    ♦           ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦                    ♦           ♦      ♦
♦     ♦      ♦♦♦♦♦♦>              ♦           ♦      ♦
♦     ♦                           ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦      ♦
♦     ♦                                              ♦
♦     ♦                                              ♦
♦     ♦                                              ♦
♦                                                    ♦
♦                                                    ♦

The number imbedded in the border at the top of the screen is the number of rounds you have to win to beat your opponent. The machine flashes each player's individual score everytime someone loses a round. The graphics are displayed in black and white monochrome, there may have been a color overlay (probably blue), but I was unable to find an actual machine to verify that information on.

The Machine

I wasn't able to find a photograph of the machine that this game came in, let me know if you locate one.

The game used an 8080 CPU, and was controlled with buttons rather than joysticks (this was cheaper to produce, and most of the other similar games of the time used buttons as well).

Inserting a coin started the game at once. Both players got to play for a single coin. The game ended after one player chalked up six wins, but this was operator adjustable down to as low as three. The operator can also turn the sound on and off with internal switches as well.

Where to play

MAME supports this almost perfectly. So you can play it on your home computer. There have also been clones of this title for every platform known to man (under various names), so you can probably play this no matter what kind of hardware you have (E2's own yerricde wrote one for the NES).

I do not suggest buying this one for home use (unless it is really cheap), because you need two people to play. A game that require two players never gets much use, which is an advantage if you collect game just to have them (rather than play them). If you do buy one of these, don't pay a lot for it, and make sure that everything works on it (and don't blame me if you get bored, I already warned you).