Lately, Microsoft has had a bit of a nostalgia thing going when it comes to Internet Explorer. The company’s latest throwback is a new addition to the IE Test Drive site, a benchmark built around the classic Minesweeper game that’s been entertaining and frustrating Windows users for years.
This time around, however, Microsoft has ditched the muted grays and opted for a more… let’s call it “eye catching”… color scheme. The icing on the cake is the animated search lights that spin around the background. The whole presentation is a gaudy display of Internet Explorer 10′s hardware acceleration muscle and improved standards support. You can play a round of Minesweeper in your browser, of course, but the real purpose here is to show off IE10. Choose Island or Checker from the benchmark drop down and Minesweeper springs into action to solve itself. A word of warning to those who have yet to master the puzzler: the benchmark clears the board every single time without tripping a single mine.
So how does IE10 compare to the competition? It’s better, of course. Just because you’re offering up a benchmark built using standard code doesn’t mean you won’t cater to your own browsers’s strengths. On my test system, IE10 beat all other browsers handily. Firefox came close on the Island test, finishing in 7.9 seconds to IE10′s 3.9. Chrome lagged way behind and clocked in at 12 seconds, and it couldn’t even properly display the search light animation.
What’s really important here isn’t which browser performs best. It’s the fact that Microsoft now offers a web-based version of Minesweeper that runs in any standards-compliant browser. As long as you don’t mind the purple hues, it’s worth adding to your time waster bookmarks.