Back in the early '90s, during the golden age of desktop computing (I chose golden only because neither bronze nor ice seemed appropriate), there weren't a ton of games around that were easily accessible. Sure, you could purchase real games at the computer store, or you could borrow your friend's floppy disks for more enjoyment. You could play solitaire or Minesweeper, perhaps even Tetris, and you could switch screens relatively fast to pretend to be working.
With the advent of Flash ads, Shockwave games and random widgets on your favorite social networking website, playing a game or two has become even easier. Yet there are still a ridiculous number of people playing solitaire, according to a recent Slate article. From the story, one Microsoft employee even went as far to say that solitaire is the most-used application on Windows.
Is that even possible? True, there are a lot of useless apps, but to say that more people play electronic cards than use Word is definitely interesting. I suppose it's appealing because most people are familiar with the game; it's pretty easy to pause and do something else, if necessary; and you could play all day (in the background) without your boss noticing.
I would also assume that as the years pass, and we move to the platinum age of desktop computing, there will be fewer and fewer solitaire gamers. Do youngsters know this game even exists? Maybe someone will seal a CD of solitaire in a time capsule that will be found by space creatures 1,000 years from now.