The benefits of playing Minesweeper

The benefits of playing Minesweeper

Games are intended for fun but, because they require some sort of challenge, an obstacle that motivates players to move forward, they often entail problems and puzzles that require certain cognitive skills in order to be solved. Because it is a logic puzzle game, the benefits of playing Minesweeper reflect this challenging aspect of gaming.

The logic behind this game of logic

Minesweeper carries a classic puzzle game structure, with simple graphics, mechanics, and rules. In other words, the challenging aspect of this game is not in its complexity but rather in the set of skills that players must use to solve the puzzles.

At its core, Minesweeper is a game of logic and deduction. The goal is for players to clear a grid of squares by opening those that are safe and avoiding clicking on those that hide mines. When they open a safe square, a number is revealed indicating how many mines are immediately adjacent to it. This setup encourages players to use logical reasoning to deduce where mines are located.

The benefits of playing Minesweeper

The benefits of playing Minesweeper can be grouped into two categories: those related to cognitive development and those related to motor skills.

1. Promotes the development of problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills encompass a series of cognitive skills that are used when the brain is trying to solve a problem. Overall, it involves processing information, creativity, critical thinking, and decision-making, with all these processes being applied in a systematic way to break down the problem into smaller parts for a more effective approach to solving it.

When playing Minesweeper, the players are making use of these processes, even if they are not aware of doing it. The problem at hand is the unknown location of the mines and the rule that if you detonate one, the game ends. With that in mind, the players must constantly analyze the board for clues, divide it into sections for a more systematic approach, and then make a critical analysis of the numbers to finally make the decision of which squares to open.

To put it another way, while having fun and enjoying this puzzle game, the players are indeed working out their problem-solving skills.

2. Helps develop pattern recognition skills

Pattern recognition is an essential stage of kids’ learning but it is also a process that is highly valuable for adults. In simple terms, it refers to the ability to recognize patterns, be they emotional, intellectual, or physical, understand the connections that said patterns form, and the existing or non-existing consequences of these connections. Pattern recognition is highly associated with the development of verbal, numerical, logical, and spatial reasoning.

In the context of Minesweeper, the patterns are mostly numerical, in the sense that they come in the shape of a sequence of numbers. Although this is a 2D game, these patterns can also be found in the shapes that are continuously formed on the board.

It is up to the players to start recognizing these Minesweeper patterns and later understand what they entail in the game. For example, a sequence of 1-2-1 always translates into a “mine”-”no mine”-”mine” pattern. Knowing this, the players can move on from that section of the puzzle and focus on the areas with more unknowns.

In other words, the better the players are at pattern recognition, the more effective they become.

3. Encourages strategic planning

At first glance, Minesweeper may not look like a strategic puzzle game, but the reality is quite different. This misperception is likely to arise from the fact that logic and strategy are highly intertwined in this game. 

When analyzing the numbers and deciding which squares to open and which to flag, the players are using logic to apply their problem-solving skills. However, when they decide to start the game from the center, for example, instead of the corners, they are using strategy.

Deciding which areas of the board to approach first or in which number to focus is all dependable on strategic planning. Either consciously or subconsciously, the players always tend to opt for an approach that helps them avoid traps and complex configurations.

4. Helps improve fine motor skills

One of the least talked about benefits of playing Minesweeper is how it can serve as an exercise to practice fine motor skills. These refer to the ability to use the small muscles in one’s hand and wrist in a coordinated movement between the eyes, hands, and fingers. 

In Minesweeper, opening a square with a mine results in an immediate defeat, with no second chances. It is thus important the players are able to have full control of their hands when it is time for clicking. Trembling is not an option. The player must be firm and aim for a single square. Likewise, they must have full control over their left and right clicks. Mistaking one for the other can lead to immediate defeat in Minesweeper.

The more players play, the more precise and accurate they become when it comes to controlling their fine motor skills. 

And here is an interesting piece of trivia about the history of Minesweeper: this benefit was one of the main reasons behind the inclusion of the game in the Windows 3.1 software by Microsoft.

5. It is a stress-relief game

Minesweeper is a puzzle game that defies logic in such a simple and straightforward way, that instead of leaving players frustrated, it motivates them to continue playing. They feel that victory is attainable and that their defeat is usually the result of their lack of attention rather than their lack of skills.

In this sense, Minesweeper is positive and brings benefits in two different ways. On the one hand, it is an entertaining game that soothes players rather than frustrates them. On the other hand, it forces players to concentrate and focus their attention on the puzzle to avoid losing. In other words, it takes their mind away from their worries and shifts their focus to a pleasant activity.

That is one of the reasons why players may feel bad that they were procrastinating playing Minesweeper instead of working, but they do not exactly regret that moment of procrastination. There are simply no negative feelings associated with these puzzles.


Minesweeper, a classic puzzle game often relegated to the realm of casual gaming and the reason for countless hours of procrastination, holds amazing benefits and has even potential as an educational tool. Its ability to sharpen cognitive skills like logic, problem-solving, and decision-making should not be underestimated.

Next time someone accuses you of being lazy just because you are playing Minesweeper, you can counterargument and say that you are not procrastinating: you are working on your personal growth and developing your cognitive skills. 

Minesweeper Classic
Classic Minesweeper
by Appgeneration Software
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