Abandonware DOS title

Browse abandonware and retro games by keyword

Every old PC game listed on Abandonware DOS is defined by one or more keywords or themes such as "cyberpunk", "fantasy" or "dungeon crawler". Find the games you're looking for by clicking on a keyword from the list. 
The number inside the square brackets indicates the games related to that theme.
  • 19th century (29)

    The 19th century was the age of steam, railroads and remarkable discoveries. It was the age of literary marvels like Sherlock Holmes stories and Jules Verne. It's easy to see why some developers chose the 19th century as the setting for their games.

  • advergame (11)

    What is an advergame? Simply put, it's a promotional video game software, nothing more, nothing less. Advertising a popular brand is the main purpose of an advergame, fun is usually - not always - comes second.

  • Africa (7)

  • alternate history (12)

  • ancient Egypt (12)

  • ancient Greece (8)

    Zeus, Apollo, Eros and the other olympian gods are perhaps part of the most popular ancient pantheon among video gamers. Just think about one of the most successful video games ever made for PC: Populous 2.

  • ancient Rome (8)

  • anime, manga (18)

    In the 80s and 90s the Japan influence on western culture started to grow exponentially. Publishers and designers noticed that trend and produced some of the earliest anime (animation) / manga (comics) video games for DOS and Windows.

  • Arkanoid (5)

  • ASCII, text only (83)

    In the past, lots of games used ASCII characters (text) to represent the game world. These text-only video games may seem primitive and outdated and, in fact, the genre almost died with the fast evolving graphics of modern games.
    A few genres traditionally linked to the beautiful world of ascii characters still survives: roguelikes (nethack, angband, etc.) and interactive fiction, for example.

  • Asteroids (5)

  • auto mapping (59)

    Some games (usually the less older ones) include an auto mapping system that helps the player by showing parts of the map already discovered. Auto mapping systems are usually found in role playing games like the Might and Magic series, or first person shooters like Doom or Duke Nukem 3D.

  • aviation (53)

  • based on a board or card game (23)

  • based on a cartoon (14)

  • based on a movie (50)

  • based on a novel (53)

    A lot of old games were based on a book, being it a novel or even a short story. Some novels that inspired developers to create video games are The Lords of the Rings (by J. R. R. Tolkien, Rendez Vous with Rama (by Arthur Clarke), The Mist (by Stephen King).

  • based on a TV game show (6)

    Games based on TV game shows were popular in the early days of DOS video gaming on older PCs. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that every major game show of the eighties was translated into a video game.

  • based on a TV series (16)

    The 70s and the 80's were the silver age of TV series. It was inevitable that the early game companies decided to make games out of them. Let's forget a moment about Star Trek, which received a huge amount of adaptations and think about other TV series: Mission Impossible, Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues. Even Beavis and Butthead got their own videogame.

  • based on comic books (21)

  • boat racing (2)

  • car racing (40)

  • China (10)

  • class-based (84)

    A class based system forces the player to choose a specific "class" during the character generation and customization process. It's obviously used in games based on RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, where the classes can be warrior, mage, thief, and so on.

  • coin-op conversion (71)

    Arcades were extremely popular in the 80s and the 90s. Before poker machines and things like that, people used to go to pubs or arcades to play video games called coin ops (coin operated machines). Almost all of them were converted to consoles or home computers.

  • cold war (23)

    There was a time when the two major political superpowers were at war, but nobody knew. U.S.A. and the former U.S.S.R. used spies, subterfuge, blockades, political and military influence all over the world. The so called "Cold War" era lasted decades and ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall.

  • collection of games (19)

    There are a few games that, in fact, are a collection of many video games. There's no better way to put it. The Fool's Errand, for example, is a collection of brain teasers with little or no relation between games. Many casino games are just a collection of card and chance games.

  • crime and mystery (58)

    A murder to solve! A criminal to apprehend! AbandonwareDOS has the recipe for a perfect crime story. Mix police investigations with organized crime, add some gunshots in a dark alley and a bit of thrilling car chases, shake vigorously and serve.

  • cyberpunk (18)

    Cyberpunk was born in the 80s thanks to authors like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. What is cyberpunk? Well, take a grim vision of the future, mix it with drugs, hardcore informatics, artificial augumented humans and there you are. Gibson's masterpiece novel Neuromancer became a videogame, but it wasn't the only cyberpunk game to come out back in the day. Titles like Syndicate, Bloodnet, the point and click adventure DreamWeb are some of the many cyberpunk games published in the past.

  • dark fantasy (7)

    A subgenre of Fantasy, Dark Fantasy is a grim version of the popular genre. Dark Fantasy games usually involve one or more of the following: a darker scenery like a serious medieval Germany (Darklands), evil antagonists and mobs like demons or zombies (think about Diablo), gruesome deaths and serious themes, sometimes bordering horror.

  • Donkey Kong (5)

  • dungeon crawl (45)

    Dungeon crawlers are a simple RPG variant in which the player explores a dungeon - or a similar environment - fighting monsters and looting treasures. No open world, no complex storylines, (almost) nothing else but good old dungeon exploration.

  • Dungeons & Dragons (30)

    Dungeons & Dragons is a pen and paper role playing game designed by Gary Gygax e Dave Arneson in 1974. It's perhaps the most popular RPG system of all time and spawned a plethora of video games based on one of the many fantasy campaigns available: Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, etc.

  • dystopia (38)

    Dystopia is the lesser known opposite of utopia. Dystopian societies are undesirable environments under one or more aspects: pollution, despotism, social decline, etc.
    Cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic games are both a good example of dystopian themes.

  • educational (31)

    Educational games (sometimes called edutainment) are games created to simply teach something to the user. Some of them are created with a young audience in mind, a few educational games managed to break the age barrier and appealed to adult gamers too: the Carmen Sandiego series is a perfect example.

  • Engine: AGI (15)

    The AGI (an acronym for Adventure Game Interpreter) engine was an adventure game engine developed by Sierra, used for their earlier games.

  • Engine: AGOS (4)

  • Engine: Build engine (4)

    The Build engine was a game engine created by 3D Realms and used for first-person shooters. The Build engine is not a true 3D engine because the geometry is 2-dimensional with an added height parameter.

  • Engine: Delphine Cinematique (2)

  • Engine: DGDS (3)

    The DGDS engine was developed by Dynamix and stands for Dynamix Game Development System. Dynamix used the DGDS engine for their point and click adventure games.

  • Engine: Doom engine (id Tech 1) (6)

  • Engine: Freescape (6)

    The Freescape engine, developed by Incentive Software, was one of the first 3D game engines. Incentive used Freescape in games such as Driller, Total Eclipse, Castle Master. The earliest game created using Freescape is Driller, in 1987.

  • Engine: Genie (3)

    The Genie engine was developed by Ensemble Studios.

  • Engine: Gold Box SSI (11)

    The Gold Box engine was used in a series of role-playing video games, all of them produced by S.S.I. and based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The "Gold Box" name comes from the gold colored boxes in which the games of the series were sold.

  • Engine: ICOM MacVenture (4)

    The MacVenture adventure games is a series of games developed by ICOM Simulations. MacVenture games were notable for introducing a menu-based point-and-click interfacein which object are dragged and dropped directly from the environment to the inventory.

  • Engine: Infinity Engine (1)

  • Engine: Infocom InfoComics (4)

  • Engine: Legend Interactive Fiction (7)

  • Engine: M.A.D.S. (3)

    The M.A.D.S. engine was developed by Microprose and stands for Microprose Adventure Developement System.

  • Engine: Magnetic Scrolls interpreter (4)

  • Engine: Might & Magic 3 (4)

  • Engine: SCI (25)

    The SCI (an acronym for Sierra's Creative Interpreter) engine was an adventure game engine developed by Sierra, used for their latest games.

  • Engine: SCUMM (12)

    SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) is an engine developed by Lucasfilm Games for their point and click adventure games. SCUMM was first used in Maniac Mansion and later evolved.

  • Engine: Virtual Theatre (3)

    The Virtual Theatre engine is a video game engine designed by Revolution Software for a few point and click adventure games. The Virtual Theatre engine allowed non-static NPCs that could wander the gameworld and interact with the environment.

  • Engine: Wolfenstein 3D engine (5)

  • erotic, adult (36)

  • espionage (30)

    James Bond is the iconic embodiment of the spy genre (or 'espionage'), but he is not alone in the colorful world of old video games, there are plenty of spies still around on AbandonwareDOS: Apogee's Secret Agent, Spy vs Spy and Mission: Impossible and more!

  • Europe (43)

  • fables and fairy tales (11)

    Before fantasy, stories involving magic mirrors, evil orcs and witches from every corner of the world were simply called fairy tales. After Tolkien, every fairy tale suddenly became "fantasy". There are still a few video games true to the fables and fairy tales spirit.

  • fantasy (285)

    Dwarves and elves, trolls and gnolls, dragons and wyverns, arcane magic, ancient deities, sword and sorcery! It's not just medieval, it's a soup of imagination and reality in equal parts, mixed in a bubbling cauldron, ready to be served in your favourite old tavern.

  • female protagonist (38)

    Before Tomb Raider, not many games involved main female characters. Carmen Sandiego, Laura Bow, Elvira, Jill of the Jungle and eve Ms. Pac-Man were exceptions to the "male" rule followed by early video games.

  • fixed screen (106)

    A fixed screen game is a video game in which the action and the environment don't scroll at all. The characters usually can move wherever they want, but the gameplay is restricted to the fixed screen.

  • full motion video (9)

  • futuristic racing (6)

  • god game (12)

    In the so called god games, the player takes the role of a divine entity (or something similar). Gameplay involves controlling people, units or even the environment on a large scale. God games usually show some artificial intelligence in the form of autonomous NPCs.

  • hacking (9)

  • haunted house (10)

  • hex based (41)

    Many old turn-based wargames took place on a map represented with identical hexagons. These hex-based games are not common these days (Civilization V is a rare exception), but were well known to C64, DOS PC and Spectrum owners.

  • historical (69)

  • horror (49)

    Anything even remotely connected to horror: all things splatter, Cthulhu and Lovecraft, vampires, zombies, ghosts, mummies, hideous creatures from outer space.

  • humor (83)

    What makes you laugh? The LucasArts humor of Monkey Island or the crass jokes of Leisure Suit Larry? Are you a fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld? Do you prefer the clumsiness of the hero of the Dragon's Lair series? Humor in video games has always been something that gamers appreciated.

  • importable characters (23)

    Some games (usually RPGs) allow the player to import saved characters from previous chapters of the series. A few examples: the Eye of the Beholder series, Quest for Glory, Bard's Tale, The Magic Candle.

  • Indiana Jones (6)

    The popular archeologist and adventurer created by George Lucas was the protagonist of some of the best point and click adventures. Unfortunately, Indiana Jones was also the main character of some of the worst action games.

  • Japan (8)

  • kart racing (1)

  • law enforcement (22)

    Law enforcement video games are somewhat the equivalent of detective fiction TV series, no wonder that a Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues each have their video game. If a game involves the police, SWAT or some kind of futuristic law enforcement (think about Blade Runner), it's listed here.

  • level editor (60)

    Some games allow the player to edit scenarios and maps, create entire levels, or heavily edit the game properties. FPS like Duke Nukem 3D or classic platformers like Lode Runner, for example, both included a level editor.

  • license: athletes (11)

  • Mars (8)

  • martial arts (24)

  • medicine (4)

  • medieval (39)

    These games are not of the fantasy kind: no dragons, no elves, no dwarves and absolutely no magic. These are all games set in medieval times. This means castles and villages, alchemy and saints, kings and queens, monks and abbeys, knights and tourneys.

  • Middle East (14)

  • military (86)

    The navy, the army, the air force, were all an inspiration for a number of games belonging to many different genres, from run and gun action games to flight simulations. Whether or not you like military themes, the top quality of these games was often enough to attract lots of players.

  • mini-games (64)

    A fairly common practice in old games (and, to some extent, in recent ones) was to include at some point mini-games such as short action sequences, puzzle games or even space battles in adventure games (Star Trek point&click adventures for example).

  • modern world (327)

    Games taking place in the modern era from a wide variety of genres: from the early years of 1900 until today, from sport simulations to turn based strategy.

  • motorcycle racing (8)

  • mythology (17)

  • norse, celtic (14)

  • North America (29)

    There are many games set in North America, mainly in the United States, but also in Canada. As you can imagine, games with this setting include a lot of wargames set during the Civil War.

  • nudity (30)

    Teens beware! These games contains glimpse of nudity and you shouldn't play them. These perverted pixels could ruin your teenage years forever!

  • off-road racing (2)

  • online games (1)

  • open world (85)

    In an open world game, the player is free to explore the environment and go wherever he/she wants and set his own goals. There's not a one-way progression and freedom is what makes the game stand out. Traditionally, open world scenarios are a prerogative of RPGs and space simulation games.

  • Pac-Man (9)

  • party-based (102)

    A party based system allows the player to create, customize and play with a party of adventurers at the beginning or during the game. The vast majority of old RPGs were party based: Ultima, Eye of the Beholder, The Magic Candle are just a few.

  • pirates (11)

  • post-apocalyptic (19)

    After the next cataclysm (war, meteor, whatever), we will live in a world where the word "civilization" will mean something completely different. Radiations everywhere? No more state and police force? Cities burnt to the ground? That's what we call a post-apocalyptic world.

  • prehistory (10)

    Dinosaurs and cavemen are featured in a number of prehistoric themed games. The prehistoric age is almost never depicted in a realistic way, but we don't care much... because we all like to fight against a giant t-rex or to time travel back at the dawn of civilization, don't we?

  • procedural generation (40)

    Procedural generation is a tecnique used to algorithmically generate content (ie. world generation). Procedural generation is heavily implemented in recent games and a few old titles used it to a certain extent. Nobody called it procedural generation at the time, but the basic concept was the same.

  • Qix (7)

  • remake (12)

    Today, the retro games scene is flourishing and full of developers who take inspiration from old titles. Sometimes, these developers pay homage to old video games by producing a remake with updated graphics, better sound and improved gameplay.

  • robots / mechs (25)

    Since Isaac Asimov's books, robots have been very popular among science fiction readers. Much later, robots (and the so called "mech", popularized by pen and paper RPGs and anime cartoons) began to appear in early video games: think about Robotron. DOS machines saw some robot action expecially thanks to video game series like Mechwarrior, BattleTech or Mega Man.

  • romance (11)

  • sandbox (20)

    There's something magical in sandbox games. You can do literally what you want without the typical constraints of games that tell you what to do. SimCity is the perfect example: play at your own pace, set your own goals and just play. On Abandonware DOS games are listed as sandbox even if the sandbox gameplay is just a small part of the whole (i.e. "play in sandbox mode").

  • science fantasy (13)

    As the name suggest, science fantasy is an hybrid between... well... science fiction and fantasy. It's a very vague definition and can potentially comprehend a broad variety of games. Surprisingly, it doesn't... there are not many titles with strong elements of both science and fantasy.

  • science fiction (375)

    Time travel, space wars, alien empires, alternate universe, cyberpunk anti-heroes, space invaders, post-apocalyptic worlds, dystopian societies, mad scientists, galaxies far far away, strange new worlds, mech battles, deep space exploration, evil robots... should I go on?

  • Sherlock Holmes (6)

    The famous fictional english detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his good friend John Watson are the protagonists of a number of old adventures and even puzzle games.

  • side-scroller (113)

    A side-scroller (or horizontal scrolling) is a video game in which the action is shown in a side perspective and the environment scrolls horizontally. Characters usually have to move from the left to the right side of the screen to go on in the game.

  • South America (15)

  • space (93)

    Science fiction doesn't always means space battles, space exploration, exploding stars, etc. In some games, though, the "space" element is heavily present. Space simulations, shoot 'em ups, RPGs are some of the genres where science fiction "space" games are abundant.

  • Space Invaders (7)

  • Star Trek (8)

  • Star Wars (7)

    I believe that anyone already knows what Star Wars is: one of the most successful science fiction franchises ever produced. That kind of success spawned a lot of video games for the early personal computers and consoles, to the modern PCs. Early developers made quite a few DOS and Windows Star Wars games.

  • steampunk (7)

  • stunt racing (2)

  • superheroes (10)

  • The lord of the rings (10)

  • tile-based (50)

  • time travel (12)

  • trading (27)

    If buying and selling goods is your thing, give these games a try. Every one of them involve trading in some form: buying and selling goods and moving them by sea (Ports of Call), stock exchange (Acquire, Black Monday), smuggling items in deep space (Elite, Frontier).

  • trains (10)

  • turn based (267)

    In contrast with real-time games, in turn-based games the players takes... well... turns when playing. Do I need to write more?

  • urban setting (112)

    There are a lot of games that take place in urban environments from any era and theme: think about medieval towns, modern metropolis, futuristic megalopolis or even cyberpunk cities.

  • vampires (9)

  • vector graphics (9)

  • vertical-scroller (20)

    A vertical-scroller is a video game in which the action is shown in a top down perspective and the environment scrolls from top to bottom. Characters usually don't have to move to scroll the screen (expecially in shoot'em ups).

  • Vietnam war (7)

  • western (9)

  • world wars (50)

  • zombies (7)

    Lately, zombie movies, games, TV series and books are a theme that gets lots of attention. In the 80s and 90s there were a few horror zombie themed games, but not that many, and those games weren't exactly horror. Zombies were often portrayed as cartoons.

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