The History of
Solitaire Till Dawn

Solitaire Till Dawn has come a long way. The first series of releases was the original "classic" version, for classic Mac OS 7, 8, and 9. Next came the Carbon series, called "Solitaire Till Dawn X", for Mac OS X up through Snow Leopard. In 2014 we launched the third series, for modern Macs and every version of OS X from Snow Leopard on (and we dropped the "X" from the name again).

This is the history of Solitaire Till Dawn.

Hover over for additional tidbits!

  Solitaire Till Dawn 1.0 is released! It ran in black and white or 16 colors, on any size Mac monitor then available, and offered nine games. The full version came only by mail-order, but a free demo was available. This was before the World Wide Web so while you could download the demo from the Internet, most people found it on floppy disks created by their local Macintosh User Group.

Here's how it looked on a Mac Plus:

Version 1.0 Screenshot

“Sherman, set the Wayback Machine...”
Actually this shot was taken using Mac OS X 10.4 and the Classic Environment. You can tell because the window frame is too modern, although we reduced it to black-and-white to give it that old-timey look.
  Solitaire Till Dawn 2.0 comes out with 15 new games, bringing the total to 24. But more important, perhaps, were two other changes: greatly improved color graphics (up to 256 colors!) with larger cards suitable for larger screens, and no more demo versions -- the fully enabled version became available for download.

With these changes, sales of Solitaire Till Dawn increased by a factor of ten or more!

  We continued to develop the classic version of Solitaire Till Dawn through the following years. We kept it compatible with each new Mac OS release, added new, larger card sizes, and survived Apple's transition from the Motorola 68000 to the PowerPC processor family.

We added still more games, until the classic version topped out at 40 different solitaires. These included the great favorite Grandma's Game, which (to this day, as far as we know) has never been offered by any other computer solitaire; and the games Manx and Tabby Cat which were created expressly for Solitaire Till Dawn.

And we added another feature we haven't seen in other solitaires: the popular Magnetic Mouse . This unique feature allows nearly clickless play. It was intended as a relief for repetitive-strain sufferers, but our customers now tell us they love it because they can play on their laptops in bed without making clicking noises to disturb a sleeping spouse!

In September 1997, MacAddict Magazine rated Solitaire Till Dawn as “Freakin' Awesome!”

  Then in 2001 came the first great change -- Mac OS X! Although many classic applications run well in OS X's Classic Environment, classic Solitaire Till Dawn isn't one of them. But it was time for a change anyway! We took two years to develop Solitaire Till Dawn X, a completely new product. This was the start of the Carbon series.

Solitaire Till Dawn X started with 51 games, and again including some (such as 30 Thieves) designed just for STDX. But better than that, the 2002 release featured all-new graphics, including windows that (at last!) could be as large as the largest monitor, and cards that would resize to fit the largest (or smallest) window.

To handle our ever-lengthening list of games, the new Game Chooser window not only let you scroll easily through all the games; it also showed you a capsule description of each game, let you access the full rules, and even let you filter the list down to specific types of games. But for quick access, we kept a short menu of "Favorites" in the toolbar, and we let you decide which games should be there.

Solitaire Till Dawn X Decor samples

Solitaire Till Dawn X

This version also introduced our mascot, “Ace” the Card Shark! Ace appeared in dialog boxes as well as in the app's icon:

Ace the Card Shark     Solitaire Till Dawn X icon
“Ace” the Card Shark in 2002
  Version 1.1 of Solitaire Till Dawn X arrived in 2003, and brought the return of Magnetic Mouse (which was missing in version 1.0, but you let us know how much you wanted it back!) and a new capability to create your own cardbacks from your own digital photos, clip art, or downloaded artwork. Oh yes, and 60 games!
  We'll jump ahead to Solitaire Till Dawn X 1.3, which let you use your own photos, art, or patterns for your window background, and included 75 games.

Then later in 2004, version 1.4 provided 85 games and the ability to cheat! “Three ways to cheat can help you to salvage an immoral victory from a stuck game!” (Shhh... we won't tell anybody if you won't!)

In December 2004, Macworld Magazine's Dan Frakes gave Solitaire Till Dawn X a rating of in his Mac Gems column.

  The 15th Anniversary Edition version 1.5 offered a full 100 games -- good ones, not just a bazillion nearly-identical clones of Klondike!

At this time, two more great changes occurred: Apple switched to using Intel processors, and Metrowerks discontinued their CodeWarrior development environment for Macintosh. The Solitaire Till Dawn X series had been developed with CodeWarrior, which could not produce a version for Intel processors.

But for a while, it was still possible to run Solitaire Till Dawn X on Intel Macs, thanks to Apple's free "Rosetta" compatibility software.

Version 1.5.1, a small bug-fix upgrade, was the last version in this series.

  It was clear by now that the Carbon series was reaching the end of its lifetime. We began work on a ground-up rewrite, designed for modern Macs and using Apple's own Xcode development environment.

  With the advent of Lion (OS X 10.7), the old Solitaire Till Dawn finally ran out of steam. Apple discontinued Rosetta when they launched Lion, which meant that Solitaire Till Dawn X could not run under Lion and later releases of Mac OS X. We were still working on the new version...

  ...and it took us three more years to finish it! We're truly sorry it took so long, but we wanted to do the best job we could. But now it's done at last! Version 1.0 of the new series was released to the App Store in November 2014, and version 1.1 in November 2015.

Here's Ace in his latest incarnation, the icon for the 2014 edition of Solitaire Till Dawn:

Solitaire Till Dawn icon

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