Minesweeper Flags (lost Windows Live Messenger game; 2000s)

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Minesweeper Flags on MSN Messenger.

Status: Lost

Minesweeper Flags is a lost multiplayer game that was available exclusively via the Microsoft instant messaging application Windows Live Messenger (commonly known by its former name of MSN Messenger).

The game was based upon minesweeper and involved locating the flags ("mines") on the map, with the goal of locating more than your opponent. The game could be launched by challenging any Windows Live Messenger contact from the message window.

Minesweeper Flags was added to Windows Live Messenger in the 2000s (exact year unknown), and remained available in Windows Live Messenger platform until the service was discontinued in 2013. As all Windows Live Messenger games loaded via Microsoft's servers, the game became permanently unavailable and lost at that time.


Windows Live Messenger, launched as MSN Messenger in 1999, was a highly popular instant messaging platform available via Windows, Mac and Linux, and later via some mobile platforms. At its height in the 2000s it was the world's most popular instant messaging application. It remained highly popular until the turn of the 2010s, when services such as Facebook Messenger severely dented its popularity. The platform was switched off by Microsoft in 2013.

The application included a number of games that users could play with their friends on the site. The most popular of these was Minesweeper Flag's, based on Microsoft's popular Minesweeper game. It was added to Windows Live Messenger in the 2000s, branded initially as part of MSN Instant Games, and remained part of the platform until it was switched off in 2013.

After the switch-off, Minesweeper Flags was never made available via any other Microsoft application, such as Skype, nor as a standalone game. This rendered the game instantly lost and inaccessible as soon as Windows Live Messenger was discontinued.

Since then, a number of other games have used the Minesweeper Flags name. Some of these games bear little resemblance to the original game, while others follow the rules but are nonetheless different versions. One game on Amazon] appears on the surface to be an attempt to make a like-for-like copy of Minesweeper Flags, but still has notable differences, is complicated to run from a network standpoint and, according to the reviews, does not actually work.[1] Another recreation by Stephane Bruckert, JMines, exists on GitHub.[2] A further recreation using blockchain was released in 2019.[3]

Offline Version

An offline version may also have existed, based on a screenshot of the game when it was branded as part of MSN Instant Games. This screenshot refers to a "Deluxe Download" for an offline version at the top of game window. It is unclear how this offline version would have worked, given the game's multiplayer nature. This version is also considered lost.


Minesweeper Flags is currently completely lost. It is unclear if it was possible to save the game while Windows Live Messenger was still an active application, as the game loaded at least partially via Microsoft's servers, rather than being part of the program files. However, it is not impossible that a user may have, in some way, been able to save all of the required files, although this is assumed to be unlikely.

Even if the files were available, the discontinuation of the Windows Live Messenger platform would make it very difficult to make the game work, and would require developer effort.

It is unclear if the files of the lost offline version may assist in creating a working version of the original game.

The unofficial Windows Live Messenger successor app, Escargot MSN, allows users to chat via Windows Live Messenger again (albeit with a new account). Escargot MSN does not include working versions of the games, however, as the developers have stated that it would require files that are unavailable since Microsoft switched off the servers.

Other than a user having a version of the files and the means to make them work, the only other possible way of bringing the game back from lost status would be for Microsoft to re-release it. No plans to do this have been made public.


A contemporary video of a Minesweeper Flags game in progress, uploaded to YouTube in 2008.