You can now play a retro 90s game while your new Microsoft Surface device
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You can now play a retro 90s game while your new Microsoft Surface device

You can now play a retro 90s game while your new Microsoft Surface device sets up

 

Microsoft has recently introduced a bunch of major updates to Windows 11, and now, it’s even updated how you get the updates. If you happen to be getting one of the new Microsoft Surface laptops or tablets anytime soon, you’re in for a treat.

When you first open up your sparkling new device, you’ll inevitably have to sit through a setup and update process for a little while before you can dive in. Now, Microsoft has made the installation process less lonely by being able to play a game while you wait.

You can also see our impression of Microsoft’s Surface models.

This development was first spotted by Tom Warren of the Verge when he opened and started up the Surface Laptop Studio 2, he was able to play a modernized version of SkiFree, originally an online game created by Microsoft programmer Chris Pirih and released in 1991.

Where else can you find the game?

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has mined SkiFree for nostalgic mini-game distractions – it’s actually been something of an easter egg you could stumble upon in Microsoft’s Edge browser since 2020. You can still access the game by typing in edge://surf in your Edge browser.

If you have pending Windows updates that are available or are restoring settings from a previous Windows Backup, it might be possible to play the game. It’s not totally clear if this is only available during the setup process of new Surface devices or if you can also play the game while updating any existing device with Windows 11. The Verge asked for more information on the topic from Microsoft but the company has yet to respond.

Either way, it’s still a fun tidbit to pass the time and it’s the latest improvement Microsoft has made to make the dreaded Windows update process a little less dull. I think it shows that Microsoft developers do pay attention at more precise levels than people realize to improve the overall user experience. The current setup process is already a big step up even from recent Windows versions, which would have Cortana talking you through the process extensively – something some users found unhelpful or annoying.

Microsoft Surface X Liberty London collaboration, showing Surface Pro 9 tablet with a blue floral print design.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Where Microsoft may have found inspiration

BetaNews goes as far as to speculate that Microsoft actually nabbed the idea from a third-party Windows enthusiast developer, concept designer ‘AR 4789’, who developed his own version of Windows with additional features named ‘Windows Utopia’. Windows Utopia also lets you play games, as well as browse the web, while you install the custom operating system.

This news has seemingly been received quite positively by Windows fans so far, and Microsoft could use the goodwill as it rolls out its very novel AI assistant, Windows Copilot, which has been received with a less enthusiastic response. The appearance of the surfing minigame does show that Microsoft is still very detail-oriented when it comes to the user experience, so I hope that it continues to be that way when it comes to delivering huge new features just as it does with the smaller ones.

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