It's hard to imagine, but it really wasn't that long ago when we stared at computers all day without email, Twitter or even the internet in general to distract us. How on earth did anyone procrastinate effectively?
Solitaire, of course. Artist Evan Roth, one of the key thinkers behind the famous Eyewriter, has memorialized the famous .exe file found on every Windows 98 computer. The longtime salvation of the bored-at-work, Solitaire helped people while away the time while feeling somewhat intelligent and thoughtful.
Designed in a limited edition of 500 for the Cooper Hewitt (and now sold out), the cards physicalize the original pixelated designs of Susan Kare. The decks have completely sold out, reflecting a clear nostalgia for the original video game. And unlike, say, Angry Birds and other popular pastimes, Solitaire.exe was based on a real world version. Roth is repurposing a repurposing. As Co.Design's Mark Wilson notes:
There's certainly a satisfying Ouroboros effect, too, as the computer game simulates reality, which in turn just creates a game to simulate the computer. While I can't academically pin down what any of it means, I do know that I like the tingly paradox the deck activates in my brain.
But perhaps what's most compelling is that this game which has occupied the desktop software of millions now exists in the physical world. Few people today use Windows 98, and even fewer play video Solitaire—I, for one, forgot it existed. But by making the work physical, Roth has given the game another chance to live on a little longer.
The only bummer, I think, is that the cards are now sold out, and there will be no further editions. Time for a Minesweeper version?