I’m an 80’s kid and cut my proverbial computer skills on machines running DOS and COBOL, but my first real world experience on a PC was with good old Windows 3.0. It wasn’t long before Microsoft introduced Windows 3.1 and with it a little game called Minesweeper. Some of you may have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s totally fine. I’m about to teach you a thing or two.
For my generation, Minesweeper was an integral part of the Windows operating system. Whether you’re fooling around in the classroom or killing time in the office, Minesweeper has been the go-to resource for millions. That means I’ll give credit where credit is due. While Microsoft popularized the mine-sweeping time waster, the game and the concept itself have been around since the ’60s and have been written and ported to many operating systems.
In order to? What is Minesweeper?
For those following with me, now that the history lesson is over, feel free to skip ahead. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick overview of how Minesweeper works.
The gist is that you start with an empty square (the size and number of mines are determined by the difficulty setting) and uncover squares one by one. Below that is either a space, a number, or a mine. The numbers tell you how many mines are in the adjacent fields, the mines will kill you dead. To win you must clear the field without touching any mines.
Easy. To the right? For some yes. However, the Microsoft version differs a bit from other builds of the game in the fact that there are often spots in the grid that are completely random. The numbers help you make logical decisions about where a mine might be, but if you have a 50/50 shot, that’s exactly it. Coincidentally. Many minesweeper games have been ruined by a single unfortunate guess gone wrong. Anyway, you get the gist.
Like Solitaire, Mahjong and others, Minesweeper has become synonymous with killing time on a Windows PC. What about playing Minesweeper on a Chromebook? Unfortunately, you can’t install a Windows executable program on Chrome OS, but that’s okay. We live in a wonderful time where web apps are king and Chromebooks can run Linux apps. So I’m here to show you three ways you can enjoy the classic minesweeper experience on your Chromebook EVEN IF YOU ARE OFFLINE!
The first and most Google-typical way to play minesweeper is to simply google the word minesweeper. You’ll be greeted with a search result that offers you a web-based pop-out version of the game that you can set to easy, medium, or hard depending on how much you want to be tortured. Alternatively, you can access Google’s version directly at this link. Among these search results, you will find numerous online options where you can equip yourself with minesweepers of various shapes and sizes. Enjoy
What if you are offline?
That’s a great question. After all, Chromebooks are assumed to be nothing more than a portal to the web, right? Don’t get me started on this. Serious. Regardless, let’s move on. Chromebooks have come a long way in ten short years, and thanks to Android and Linux apps, your Chrome OS device is capable of handling a variety of tasks without an internet connection.
If you can’t use Linux applications on your Chromebook, there are a variety of easy-to-install packages that give you a classic Minesweeper experience that requires the internet to play. The first of these gives you a very Windows-like interface, with a single 30×16 grid that you can play over and over again. It’s called xdemineur and it’s available in Debian 11, which happens to be the flavor of Linux that ships with most modern Chrome OS devices.
Before you begin, you need to make sure your device is set up and ready to use Linux applications. See this command line article on getting started with Linux on Chrome OS. Is everything over? Great. Let us continue. To install xdemineur, just open the Terminal app from your Chrome OS App Launcher and paste the following command. To paste, just right-click anywhere in the terminal after copying the code. Once it’s done, you should find xdemineur in your app launcher. You can also launch it from the terminal by typing xdemineur and pressing Enter. Dead easy.
sudo apt install xdemineur
If you’re looking for a full suite of classic desktop PC games, Ace of Penguins is for you. Not only do you get Minesweeper and classics like Freecell and Taipei, you also get a total of 12 games designed to look and feel at home in Linux with Tux the Penguin as the logo. That being said, these games are pretty much clones of the Windows versions we know and love. You can install the entire suite of games by opening your Terminal app and running the following command. You can find all twelve apps in your Chrome OS app launcher in the Linux apps folder.
sudo apt install ace-of-penguins
For all young people, don’t think I forgot the Google Play Store. If you prefer using Android applications or just want something from this century, there are a variety of minesweeper-style apps available on the Play Store. You can find classic versions that look and play like the original, or you can go all out and download some new versions of the classic like 3D Minesweeper by Kittoworks. See the link below for a large list of minesweeper android applications.