A former Microsoft employee recalled the tycoon’s obsession with a remembered Windows game.
Bill Gates, one of the technological references of this era, had his weaknesses and strengths. What few would have imagined is that one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet has had video game addiction from his factory.
Since the early versions of Windows, Microsoft incorporated a series of titles for users to entertain themselves in their free time. One of the best known is the minesweeperstrategy game that captivated everyone when it appeared in version 3.0 of the operating system.
The video game was created by American Curt Johnson for OS/2 and ported to Windows by Robert Donner. It was first released as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack.
However, it was later integrated permanently into Windows 3.x, replacing the traditional Reversi. Minesweeper continued with the operating system until the Windows version 8.
Many of these anecdotes are told in the book minesweeper by Kyle Orland, who was Microsoft’s chief entertainment officer. In one of his chapters he tells how the game marked the life of Bill Gates.
Hypnotism for this game reached so much that a Microsoft employee she had to trick him into leaving him. Bill Gates was about to lose his entire company because of the Minesweeper.
The tycoon became obsessed with mastering the Minesweeper game and reaching as little time as possibleso much so that, during his workday, he ignored his responsibilities to dedicate himself to the minigame.
In an attempt to “detox” himself, he uninstalled the game from his computer. It was then that he began using the machine of Mike Hallman, a senior executive at Microsoft.
Microsoft CEO he stayed every day after the office to play Minesweeper. Even without the game installed on his machine, he spent his weekends at the office to beat every record that came his way.
Through an email he boasted that this change of work station had brought him luck, since in this way he had managed to lower his personal record from 8 seconds to 5 seconds.
The hidden addiction of Bill Gates in the 90s
The tycoon’s addiction reached a point that Melinda French called Ryan to ask him not to share the Minesweeper time records with her husband. Such was Gates’ degree of need that she had begun to miss work meetings. The game was ruining it.
To discourage this obsession, Bruce Ryan decided to share “impossible” scores with his boss. To intimidate him he used an automation program that could launch millions of games and seek to win with a single click.
Far from resigning, he kept trying to find a formula that would reduce the time even more. But he couldn’t beat the mark of his friend.
Afterwards, Ryan had to reveal his cheat and tell him that it was an AI system that was achieving those results. Gates was so impressed that he assumed that could not compete against an artificial intelligence.
“My critical abilities are supplanted by a computer. This technology thing is going too far. If machines can do things faster than humans, how can we maintain our human dignity?” Gates thought.
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The unusual and hidden addiction of Bill Gates that almost led him to ruin