Computer Game Dustup Prompts Mass Game Removal

April 2, 2008 ( - Complaints by some workers at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services that new computers lacked popular games has prompted the agency to strip games from the computers used by more than 3,000 employees.

An Associated Press news report said workers assigned to the Child Support Enforcement Division raised a stink after getting new computers without online games such as solitaire, hearts, and minesweeper that typically come with Microsoft operating systems. The upset employees pointed out other workers in the agency had the games.

“I said if they want them, we’ll put them on,” said Lonnie Olson, division administrator, in the news report. He added that he wanted to make sure all employees in the department are treated the same.

After reporters inquired about the dispute, the AP said the agency stripped the games off of every department-owned computer. “It sends a clear message that computers are not to be used for non-work activities,” department Director Joan Miles said in a newsletter.

Sheryl Olson, deputy director of the Department of Administration, said her agency, which oversees the state’s mainframe computer, adopted a no-games policy in 2001. “To me, the broader policy is nobody should be playing games on state computers,” Olson asserted according to the Associated Press. “We’re at work to work. Why is this even a question? Who has time to play games?”