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Microsoft taps free Windows 7 Touch Pack

The free pack of six games and apps is designed to show off the capabilities of multitouch-capable screens.

Windows 7 PCs with multitouch screens now have a new series of apps focused on play.

Microsoft released on Wednesday its Windows 7 Touch Pack as a free download for any Windows 7 user with a multitouch-capable monitor.

The Touch Pack offers three games and three Microsoft Surface apps, all designed to show off the experience of moving, pinching, and twirling your fingers on a touch screen.

The Windows 7 Touch Pack isn't new. It was first announced almost a year ago, but it was previously available only to computers makers that opted to install it on new Windows 7 computers, such as Sony's Vaio L or Hewlett-Packard's TouchSmart 600 all-in-ones.

But now anyone with a multi-touch monitor who upgraded to Windows 7 can play with the pack.

Blackboard Microsoft

What's in the Touch Pack? On the game side, Blackboard challenges you to solve a puzzle by creating your own unique machine on a blackboard. Garden Pond is a peaceful game that asks you to move an origami shape around a pond by touching the screen to create tiny ripples. And Rebound prompts you to use your fingertips to move Tesla balls (which respond to touch with an electrical light show) and try to catapult a game ball into your opponent's goal.

On the Surface side, Surface Globe lets your explore the geography of Earth in 2D or 3D using your fingers. Surface Collage helps arrange a gallery of photos with your fingertips. You can save them as a collage or display them on your Windows desktop. And Surface Lagoon asks you to move your fingers around the water to see how fish react.

Microsoft Surface Collage
Surface Collage Microsoft

Microsoft has been touting multitouch as one of the cool benefits of Windows 7. So far, however, there have been few killer apps that take advantage of multitouch screens. To read more or download Windows 7 Touch Pack, click here.