Microsoft Monday

By now you’re probably aware of some of the features that are new and specific only to Windows Vista like Aero or Sidebar Gadgets, but you may not be aware of changes that Microsoft has made when it comes to games.  New with Windows Vista is a special Games Explorer (included with all versions of Vista), and three games which we’ll be talking about today.

What is Vista’s Game Explorer?

Vista’s Games Explorer is a special folder just for all of your games. It displays the games that a person has installed on their computer, and not just the ones that come with Windows by default. Anytime a user installs a compatible game, a shortcut will automatically be added to the Games Explorer. This can be seen in the image below. I just installed Peggle Deluxe and a shortcut automatically got added to the Games Explorer which also included the games that came with Vista by default.

To access the games explorer, just click the start menu and search for “Games Explorer.”

games 1

Information Provided by Games Explorer

Not only is a shortcut added to the Games Explorer, but Vista also goes and downloads the game’s box-art and the content rating information. For the game Peggle Deluxe, no rating was provided so you won’t see it pictured. Additionally, Vista now rates each computer, and that information is used to determine how a game will perform on your computer.  My system’s rating is 3.6, and it tells me that the required rating is 1.0. The recommended rating is 2.0 for the game, but either way, I know that I’ll have no problem as far as performance goes.

games 2

If a game doesn’t appear automatically…

If by chance a game doesn’t appear automatically in the Games Explorer, you can manually add it by dragging a shortcut for the game to the explorer. The only thing you won’t have then is the box-art and the information for the rating.

Sorting and Grouping Games…

We’ve written about groups, stacks, and sorting in Vista before so you should be familiar with this. The Games Explorer has the same options and allows you to sort the games based upon different things like the game last played, publisher, developer, rating, or name. You can also group the games as well, and it works exactly the same as we have already explained. The image below shows what the Games Explorer looks like when I have the games grouped by name:

games 3

Also note that you can access parental controls from this screen.


Games New to Vista

While we’re on the subject of games, I thought now was the perfect time to introduce you to three games new to Vista. Chess Titans, Mahjohng Titans, and Purble Place have never been included with a version of Windows before. Screenshots for each will be included below.

Purble Place is an educational game geared for young children.  It helps them to recognize patterns, shapes, and colors. Mahjong Titans is a form of solitaire that uses tiles instead of cards. The object of the game is to remove all of the tiles from the board by finding matches for each one. Once you clear the tiles, the game is over. Chess Titans is a game of chess that is designed for Windows Aero with a glass-like view. It takes complete advantage of the graphical user interface that Vista offers.

purble place

mahjong titans

chess titans