Windows 7 Multiplayer Game Basics

Windows XP shipped with several multiplayer games that allowed you to play opponents on the Internet. These disappeared with Windows Vista. In Windows 7, they’re back. You can once again play Windows multiplayer games over the Internet. They’re free and visually compelling.

There are three multiplayer games in Windows 7: Internet Backgammon, Internet Checkers, and Internet Spades. You can access them all from the Windows Games Explorer. Each of the games follows a similar rhythm:

  • When you start the game, you set your own skill level — beginning, intermediate, or advanced.

    You can change your skill level self-assessment at any time: Just choose Game→Skill Level. You’ll need to close and reopen the Games Explorer before it takes effect.

  • Your computer connects to the Microsoft server, which matches you with a partner on the Internet who gave herself the same skill level. When the matchmaking is done, you see the game screen.

    Windows 7’s multiplayer games feature a Chat function, but it’s lame. You can only choose from a limited list of canned and extremely inoffensive exclamations.

  • If you give up, you can click the Resign button and your opponent is informed of the win.

    If you (or your opponent) wait too long time to respond to a move, Microsoft takes over, and you (or your opponent) end up playing against the computer.

You can see your own win-loss record (choose Games→Statistics) and change the background (choose Game→Change Appearance).

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