The Minesweeper game in 80 lines of Javascript

Let's bring the 1989 Minesweeper game back to life! Actually the game is much older, but it gained worldwide fame after it was bundled with Windows 3.1. It probably led to millions of hours of productivity wasted when people played it at work. If you're younger than 30, let me teach you the rules. If you're older than 30, let me remind you the rules, since at our age memory no longer serves us well:

The board consists of rows and columns of tiles, some of which contain a mine. Initially all tiles are covered. The point of the game is to uncover all the tiles except the ones containing the mines. When you click a tile, its content is revealed. If it's a mine, you lose. Otherwise, the tile will show the sum of mines in the eight neighboring tiles. Blank means zero. Based on the revealed numbers, you calculate which of the neighboring tiles contain mines, mark them with a flag and click on the safe ones to reveal them. You repeat the process until all safe tiles are revealed. Right-clicking on a tile toggles between uncovered, flag and question mark. You place a flag when you are sure the tile has a mine. This reduces the count of mines remaining. A question mark is placed if you suspect a mine might be there, but you're not certain. This allows you to simulate different scenarios - you can place a question mark and then verify if the neighboring tiles have the correct numbers.

Play the game by clicking the tiles on top of the page!

The algorithm

Coding this game in Javascript is a lot of fun, since it is a relatively short and easy algorithm, but at the same time quite interesting. The mechanism of uncovering all tiles with zero value is a good exercise in recursive functions - the function calls itself multiple times.

We will create two main arrays:
- "board", which will contain: 'M' for mine or a number 0 thru 8 which is the number of mines in the eight neighboring tiles.
- "tile", which will consist of dynamically created image (IMG) objects, on which the player will click. The image can be:

0.png thru 8.png - number of mines in neighboring tiles (blank means zero)

x.png - covered tile

f.png - flag

q.png - question mark

These two are only shown after the game is finished:

m.png - a mine

e.png - a place where a flag was incorrectly placed

First we'll randomly place the mines.
When the player left clicks on a covered tile, we'll reveal its contents. If the value of the tile equals zero (which means none of the neighboring tiles have a mine), we'll also reveal all the surrounding tiles. If any of the surrounding tiles' value is zero, we'll reveal the tiles surrounding that tile... And so on and so on... The function 'reveal' will call itself recursively, until all the neighboring zero tiles are revealed. That's probably the most interesting part of this code.

The game ends when the player clicks on a tile that contains a mine (lose) or all non-mine tiles are revealed (win). In either case we display all the mines.

The code


function check(x1, y1)        // this function returns the value of the tile using the (x1,y1) coordinates. (0,0) is in the upper left corner.
        if((x1>=0)&&(y1>=0)&&(x1<columns)&&(y1<rows)) //Verify if coordinates do not fall outside of the board.
                return board[x1+y1*columns];

function picture(index)        // This function returns the name of the image of the tile (uncovered/flag/question mark).
                        // To be more precise, it returns the last but four letter of the filename of the image.
                        // It would be more elegant if we created a separate array to indicate it, but I chose this clunky way to shorten the code a bit.
        return tile[index].src.substr(tile[index].src.length-5,1);

function init()        // initialize the board
        document.getElementById('status').innerHTML=('Click on the tiles to reveal them');
        rows=4; columns=20;        // Set the number of mines and the size of the board.
        remaining=mines;        // The number of mines remaining to be found.
        revealed=0;                // The number of revealed tiles.
        for (i=0;i<rows*columns;i++) // Create the tiles.
                tile[i] =document.createElement('img');        // Each tile is an HTML image.
                tile[i].src="x.png";                        // Initial picture: uncovered tile.
                tile[i].style="position:absolute;height:30px; width: 30px";
                tile[i]*30;        // Place the tile vertically
                tile[i].style.left=400+i%columns*30;                // and horizontally.
                tile[i].addEventListener('mousedown',click);        // Function 'click' will be executed when player clicks on a tile.
                tile[i].id=i;                                        // The id of the tile is its index.
                document.body.appendChild(tile[i]);                // Add the tile to the DOM.

        // Place the mines:

                i=Math.floor(Math.random()*columns*rows);        // Select a random tile.
                if (board[i]!='mine')        // Make sure the tile doesn't already have a mine.
                        board[i]='mine';        // Set the mine
                        placed++;        // and increase the count.
                } while (placed<mines);        // Repeat until all mines are placed.

        for(var x=0;x<columns;x++)        // For each column
                for(y=0;y<rows+1;y++)        // and each row:
                        if(check(x,y)!='mine') //if the cell is not a mine:
                                board[x+y*columns]= // the value of the cell is the sum of mines in the eight neighboring tiles:
                                 ((check(x,y+1)=='mine')|0)        // down
                                +((check(x-1,y+1)=='mine')|0)        // down & left
                                +((check(x+1,y+1)=='mine')|0)        // down & right
                                +((check(x,y-1)=='mine')|0)        // up
                                +((check(x-1,y-1)=='mine')|0)        // up & left
                                +((check(x+1,y-1)=='mine')|0)        // up & right
                                +((check(x-1,y)=='mine')|0)        // left
                                +((check(x+1,y)=='mine')|0);        // right.

function click(event)
        var source =;
      ;                        // The ID of the tile clicked by user.

        if(event.which==3)        // On right click:
                        case 'x':tile[id].src='f.png';remaining--; break;         // If the tile is uncovered, set a flag.
                        case 'f':tile[id].src='q.png';remaining++; break;         // If it's a flag, set a question mark.
                        case 'q':tile[id].src='x.png';break;                        // If it's a question mark, set it to uncovered.
        document.getElementById('status').innerHTML="Mines remaining: "+remaining;                // Update the count of remaining mines.

        if(event.which==1&&picture(id)!='f')        // On left click if the tile is not a flag:
                if(board[id]=='mine')        // if the tile is a mine:
                        for (i=0;i<rows*columns;i++)
                                if(board[i]=='mine') tile[i].src="m.png";        // show all the mines,
                                if(board[i]!='mine'&&picture(i)=='f') tile[i].src="e.png";        // show a strike-through mine where flags were placed incorrectly.

                        document.getElementById('status').innerHTML='GAME OVER<br><br>Click here to restart';
                        if(picture(id)=='x') reveal(id);        // otherwise reveal the tile.

        if(revealed==rows*columns-mines)        // If all tiles revealed:
                {document.getElementById('status').innerHTML=`YOU WIN!<br><br>Click here to restart`;}        // you win!

function reveal(index)        // Uncover the tile
        if(board[index]!='mine'&&picture(index)=="x")        // If it's covered and not a mine:
                revealed++;                 // If it was uncovered, increase the count of revealed tiles.
                tile[index].src=board[index]+".png";        // Uncover the tile.

                var x=index%columns;        // Convert index into (x,y) coordinates.
                var y=Math.floor(index/columns);
                if(board[index]==0)        // If the value of the current tile is zero, check all the neighboring tiles:
                if(x>0&&picture(index-1)=="x")        reveal(index-1);                                        // left

                if(x<(columns-1)&&picture(+index+1)=="x") reveal(+index+1);                                // right

                if(y<(rows-1)&&picture(+index+columns)=="x") reveal(+index+columns);                        // down

                if(y>0&&picture(index-columns)=="x") reveal(index-columns);                                // up
                if(x>0&&y>0&&picture(index-columns-1)=="x") reveal(index-columns-1);                        // up & left

                if(x<(columns-1)&&y<(rows-1)&&picture(+index+columns+1)=="x") reveal(+index+columns+1);        // down & right

                if(x>0&&y<(rows-1)&&y<(rows-1)&&picture(+index+columns-1)=="x") reveal(+index+columns-1);                // down & left

                if(x<(columns-1)&&y>0&&y<(rows-1)&&picture(+index-columns+1)=="x") reveal(+index-columns+1);                // up & right


<body onLoad = "init()" oncontextmenu="return false;" >
<label id="status" onclick="init()"></label>

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