The Ace of Penguins is a collection of solitaire and other computer games, mostly modelled after those included in Windows or the Microsoft Entertainment Packs. With some exceptions. The list of games, with links for more information and screenshots, is:
- Canfield solitaire [img]
- FreeCell [img]
- Golf [img]
- Mastermind [img]
- Merlin, specifically the Magic Square game, which is similar to Lights Out [img]
- Minesweeper [img]
- Pegged [img]
- Solitaire (Klondike) [img]
- Spider [img]
- Taipei [img], with a layout editor
- Thornq [img], which is nearly identical to a Yukon-variant known as Geoffrey with some minor tweaks to the layout.
All games have a Penguin or open-source theme for the included artwork. The alternative Mahjong tiles in Taipei are especially unique.
The games are somewhat unusual in that they do not have any mouse-accessible menu or options. Instead, the F1 key must be used to open the help system, and the 1-9 number keys used to select difficulty/layout (when applicable).
The games are generally enjoyable, though rather small on modern displays. Minesweeper rather unfortunately allows you to select a mine on your first move, which a problem most versions prevent. It is also very common to get a non-expanding start, which forces you to guess on the next move. You do get a Penguin wearing shades when you win, though.
Ace of Penguins was primarily developed by DJ Delorie in 1998 with help from Martin Thornquist for Thornq and Canfield.
The following is a video of Thornq, in which I mostly just follow the auto-hint suggestions:
The Ace of Penguins is still packaged in Debian and has its own web site.
More general information on old X games, including build tips can be found in the Old X Games article.
If the above video does not work for you, it is also available on my YouTube channel.