Games for 16-bit Windows

Game development for Windows more or less started in 1990, with Windows 3.0, and it really took off with Windows 3.1 in 1992. These early games were all 16 colors, for most PCs had only a VGA card, and sound, if present at all, was optional. They were usually small, several of them fitting on a single floppy, and often sold in game packs.

If they were sold at all, that is. For more than any other platform, 16-bit Windows was the realm of freeware and shareware programmers. You can download nearly all of the games listed here.

On 2010-09-25, I started to build a new site especially for downloads, named, straightforwardly enough, Download Central. It is currently still very much a work in progress, but about the first thing I'm working on there is the section with the 16-bit Windows games. As I am writing this, I have transferred about two dozen of the most popular games, and added two more, Reversi 3.11 (the last version of the Reversi game that came with Windows 1.0–3.0), and WinMind, the cute little Mastermind you see above.

If you try to download any of the games already transferred from its page here, you will be redirected to the new page instead. The Program Manager icons below link to the new locations as well. Most of the complete lists further down don't yet.

Some Popular Windows Games
Same Game Pipe Dream Bang! Bang! Glider
Same Game Pipe Dream Bang! Bang! Glider
 
YATC WinRisk Bricklayer Sokoban 97
YATC WinRisk Bricklayer Sokoban 97
 
Box World Pipeline Bad Toys BreakThru!
Box World Pipeline Bad Toys BreakThru!
 
Bow and Arrow Comet Busters! Graditor Jewel Master
Bow and Arrow Comet Busters! Graditor Jewel Master

The Complete Lists

Game Packs
Windows games from the early 90s were usually small, several of them fitting on a single floppy, and often sold in game packs. Here are some of the more important ones.
16-Color Games
Game development for Windows more or less started in 1990, with Windows 3.0, and it really took off with Windows 3.1 in 1992. These early games were all 16 colors, for most PCs had only a VGA card, and sound, if present at all, was optional. They were usually small, several of them fitting on a single floppy, and often sold in game packs (see above).
256-Color Games
In 1993/94, there was a big change in the world of Windows. Previously, it had been mostly an office thing. Now, Multimedia was the catchphrase. This strongly influenced the type of game that was developed for Windows.
Tetris Clones
Interesting enough there were not all that many. Allthough this list contains all the relevant games, be they classic Tetris, Columns, Dr. Mario, or unique variants, it is surprisingly short. Tetris and its spin-offs was always more at home on DOS than on Windows.
German Games
There are not all that many 16-bit Windows games from Germany, but development there started earlier than in other European countries.
Japanese Games
These games, either with an English interface to begin with or translated in the country, were the first Japanese games to reach the rest of the world without a middleman.
Early Games
Balance of Power strat 85 US  
Reversi (Windows) Othello US Came with Windows 1.0-3.0
Klotz Tetris 89 De Wolfgang Strobl
Tetris for Windows Tetris US Dave Edson

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Last modified 2013-05-27