App of the Week: Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Name: Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Developer: Microsoft Studios
Price: Free!
Platform: Windows 8, Windows RT

If you've owned a PC, or at the very least have had access to one, odds are pretty good that you've played a game of Solitaire/Klondike.  It could be argued that Solitaire is the most played game of all time.  With hundreds of millions of Windows PCs in the wild and plenty of downtime at the office, school, or home, it's nearly impossible to avoid.

With the advent of Windows 8, the staple Windows games (Solitaire, Minesweeper, Chess, etc.) weren't immediately available.  As an IT service provider, I've put my fair share of Windows 8 machines into service.  One of the top questions from my residential clients is "Where's Solitaire/FreeCell/etc.?"  The Microsoft Solitaire Collection is the answer and always one of the first apps installed from the Microsoft Store.

This collection of games includes Klondike, Pyramid, Spider, TriPeaks, and FreeCell.  Each game includes a much appreciated tutorial for those wanting to learn a new game.  There are daily challenges to complete and and a handful of achievements to earn.  Like previous card games from Microsoft, the decks can be customized.  This latest iteration takes it a step further and allows customization of the game board, the card faces themselves, and various effects like snowflakes or cherry blossoms falling.

Since completely moving over to Windows 8, Solitaire Collection has been my go-to app for killing a couple of minutes.  If you've had a loved one recently upgrade to Windows 8 or if you're wondering what the hell happened to the staples of Microsoft card games, here they are.