Microsoft gifts phones the free games all Windows installations receive

There’s nothing quite like a free gift to end the year, and Microsoft is giving Windows Phone owners the pleasure of a time-waster or three for the year’s end.

Since practically as far back as we can remember, Windows has had a few games for its users to play with.

Solitaire has been there longer than most, as has Minesweeper, with Mahjong joining the duo later on, and all three appearing throughout the Windows version base.

In Windows 8, the games weren’t included in the basic installation, but could instead be downloaded through the Windows Marketplace store in the menu system, but Windows Phone 8 users have been left out.

That’s a weird fact, actually, because Windows Phone 7 owners were also left from the free games, even though some of the titles appeared on the Windows Mobile version that came before the reinvented Windows Phone that now graces handsets across the planet.

Right before the end of the year, though, Microsoft looks set to change that, releasing the three games — Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Mahjong (above)  — as freebies for Windows Phone 8 devices, throwing in some game achievements for those of you logged into Xbox accounts, leaderboard scores, and even syncing across devices.

The last one is particularly interesting, and if you use a Windows 8 laptop, desktop, or tablet, you can continue right from where you left off in the games when you get to work or home, just don’t let the boss catch you.

Minesweeper will have different looks, such as an update to the classic basic look, and one that even looks like a mine field. Don't step on the mine!

Microsoft’s games are available now from the Windows Phone 8 app marketplace, while the Windows 8 editions have been available on the Windows 8 Store for some time.