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About Freecell and NetCELL

(For a full list of Frequently Asked Questions, try here.

The original Freecell game was created by Paul Alfille in the mid 1970's. It was written in TUTOR, a programming language specifically designed for the University of Illinois' Plato environment. The original Freecell environment was very rich, featuring variant game parameters, weekly tournaments, and all manner of statistics related to scores. There were large numbers of people who played, and the list of streaks was truly impressive.

jim and denny
Jim Horne and Denny Cronin
Freecell's worldwide popularity, however, is due to the version that Jim Horne wrote as a pet project at Microsoft. It found its way into Windows and the rest shall we say is history.

NetCELL, the online version available here, was written by me, Denny Cronin. I've played Freecell since the early '80s where I encountered Paul's original Freecell game on the Plato system at the University of Illinois. I always admired the game, and missed playing once I no longer had access to a Plato terminal. So I implemented a character-based version of the game for Unix systems sometime in the mid '80s and made this version available in a limited distribution as freeware.

The current NetCELL programs running on your web browser are all new, with one version written in Java, the network-aware programming language from Sun Microsystems, and the other version written in Javascript and DHTML. All moves are stored and score keeping is done back at a server system. The server code is a descendent of my old Unix version and is written in C. It talks via HTTP to large numbers of simultaneous Java and DHTML clients across the net.

You can find out more about Freecell and Freecell history on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Hall of Fame

Some players here have distinguished themselves as far above average.

rgk holds the current record for highest all time streak in 8x4 of 19793 games. He also holds the record on WinnableSolitaire.com for the highest streak as well.

mickyiw is one of the fastest players and is probably the strongest overall tournament player. Tournaments require a combination of speed and ability to solve all the variants.

Past Freecellers

A number of folks have graced us with their presence here but then passed away, leaving only their stats. To remember these folks, just go here: Freecell Memorial Board (fmb.minuteboard.com).

Freecell Links

Links for more info about Freecell...
  • freecell.org Freecell.org
    Lots more excellent Freecell links
  • Michael Keller's Freecell FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Contains pointers to solutions for all Microsoft Freecell games except the well-known unsolvable 11982.
  • The Austega Freecell Challenge - features a list of hard deals, plus tips, tricks, and cheats for Microsoft Freecell.
  • The Tallahassee Democrat did some excellent pieces on Freecell which I hope they'll keep online, first and foremost because Paul Alfille, the original creator of Freecell, got some long overdue mention. But you'll also find our humble site mentioned a couple of times replete with quotes from my goofy 12 Step Program stuff.

    It's cheap. It's legal. It's not even fattening. So how bad can an addiction to the computer card game called FreeCell be? - By Kathleen Laufenberg DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER

    FreeCell's creator just wanted a little fun, and now he's done - By Kathleen Laufenberg DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER

    Oops. It appears these articles have been placed in their archives. I am trying to track down Kathleen Laufenberg to see if she can help...
  • Salon Magazine on NetCELL
    "NetCELL means never having to play with yourself again."
  • Unsolvable Instance

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