Abandonware DOS title

Classic Windows 3.1 games

Windows 3.1 was the first Windows software (by Microsoft, of course) that became popular worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, Windows 3.1 wasn't a full operating system. It was a collection of applications running in an operating environment, and yes, there's a big difference. Why? Because to run Windows 3.1 you still needed an MS-DOS based computer.

The need of MS-DOS was perhaps the main reason why games that ran under Windows 3.1 weren't so many. In fact, most of them are little more than puzzle games, card games and simple strategy games. That doesn't mean Windows 3.1 lacked good games; in fact, a few of them are still very much enjoyable today.

As you can imagine, backward compatibility is a problem. To run these games you need a virtual machine or, if you like the challenge, you could install Windows 3.1 on DOSBox. On archive.org you can even play a few Win 3.1 games online directly in your browser.

  • 4play-01
    strategy1995NSFW -
  • balance-of-power-1990-04
    simulation1989 Mindscape

    Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition is a geopolitical strategy game developed by Chris Crawford and released in 1985. It is considered a classic in the genre of political and strategic simulation games. The game is set during the height of the Cold War, specifically in 1986, and it allows players to step into the shoes of either the United States or the Soviet Union. The primary objective is to maintain a balance of power on the global stage while avoiding a nuclear war.

  • bang-bang-04
    strategy1990 -
  • castleofthewinds-3
    rpg1993 SaadaSoft

    Castle of the Winds (1993, by Saadasoft) is a perfect example of an atypical roguelike (no ASCII, runs in Windows) turned into a liberated game. Surprisingly Castle of the Winds is still very playable to this day, if you can make it run under a recent version of Windows.

  • chips-challenge-win3-01
    puzzle1991 Epyx

    Chip's Challenge is an abandoned top-down puzzle game designed by Chuck Sommerville, developed and released by Epyx in 1991. Chip's Challenge was released on DOS, Windows 3.x and many other home computers such as Atari ST, Amiga, C64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC.

  • civ1-7
    strategy1991 MicroProse Software

    Civilization is the critically acclaimed strategy game designed by Sid Meier and Bruce Campbell Shelley that became a staple in 4X turn-based strategy. Civilization was developed by MicroProse Software and released in 1991 for DOS, Windows 3.x, Amiga, Atari ST, Mac, etc. Civilization was followed by sequels, the last one being published recently. The goal of the game and the main gameplay features never changed; the fan-base is still strong to this day.

  • colonization-6
    strategy1994 MicroProse Software

    Colonization is a turn-based strategy 4x game developed and published by MicroProse in 1994 for DOS, Windows 3.1, Linux and Mac. The setting is the European Colonization of the New World. Colonization gameplay and interface are similar to Civilization, another Sid Meier game. However, there are some differences between Civilization and Colonization: playable nations (European powers), resources and commodities, declaration of independence, etc.

  • deadlock-08
    strategy1996 Accolade
  • freddy-pharkas-04
    adventure1993 Sierra On-Line

    Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist is a comedy point & click adventure game set in the old American West designed by Al Lowe and Josh Mandel, developed and released by Sierra On-Line in 1993 for DOS, Windows and Macintosh. Initially released on floppy, Freddy Pharkas was later re-released on CD-ROM as a new edition.

  • indy-desktop-adventures-2
    action-adventure1996 LucasArts
  • kings-quest-6-4
    adventure1992 Sierra On-Line
  • micks-str-poker-02
    strategy1999NSFW -
  • myst-09
    adventure1995 Cyan Worlds
  • pipedreams-2
    puzzle1989 The Assembly Line

    Pipe Mania (also known as Pipe Dream is a tile-matching (sort of) puzzle game about flowing liquids developed by The Assembly Line in 1989. You must build a path made of pipe pieces to let a green liquid (sewer goo?) flow. It's simple, original and addicting, that's why Pipe Mania was cloned a number of times.

  • pq4-1
    adventure1993 Sierra On-Line
  • questglory4-3
    adventure1993 Sierra On-Line
  • rodent-revenge-01
    puzzle1991 Microsoft
  • shadowgate-splash
    adventure1988 ICOM Simulations

    Shadowgate is an abandoned fantasy-themed adventure game developed by ICOM Simulations and released by Mindscape in 1988 for Macintosh, DOS, and also for Amiga, Apple IIgs, Atari ST, NES. Shadowgate uses the ICOM MacVenture engine (Deja Vu, Uninvited). Shadowgate was later remade in an enhanced version for Windows 3.1.

  • simcity-6
    simulation1989 Maxis

    SimCity (or SimCity Classic) is a popular city building simulation in which you, the mayor of a city, have to build a metropolis from the ground up. You can build police and fire departments, assign industrial, residential or commercial areas, manage power distribution, build ports and airports. Grow your city from village to metropolis and try to keep your citizens happy.

  • simcity2000-1
    simulation1993 Maxis

    SimCity 2000 is a classic city building simulation, part of the popular SimCity series, developed by Maxis and designed by Will Wright. SimCity 2000 is a huge step up from the 2D predecessor SimCity and boasts improvements like: isometric view, underground, water pipes, subways, new buildings like prisons, schools, libraries, museums, etc.

  • sim-earth-3
    simulation1990 Maxis

    SimEarth is a simulation in which you can shape and mold a planet in almost every way you can imagine. In SimEarth our planet is simulated as a whole: life, climate, atmosphere are all aspects of a single Gaia-like Earth. SimEarth can be played in two modes: game and experimental. In game mode, you have to to develop (and preserve) Earth with limited energy levels. In experimental mode, you are given unlimited energy to do what you want in a classic sandbox style.

  • sim-tower-5
    simulation1994 OPeNBooK Co.

    SimTower is an old Windows 3.x (1994) building and business simulation game where the player is tasked with the management of a skyscraper nonetheless. Raise floors, build apartments, shops, offices and try to avoid bankruptcy if you can. SimTower spawned some similar games for mobile devices, most notably the wonderful Tiny Tower, It's surprisingly good even after all these years.

  • simtown-01
    simulation1995 Maxis
  • sq4-1
  • tetris-classic-02
    puzzle1992 Spectrum Holobyte
  • incredible-machine-2-1
    puzzle1994 Jeff Tunnell Productions
  • the-incredible-toon-machine-05
    puzzle1994 Jeff Tunnell Productions
  • tracon-for-win-01
    vehicle simulation1993 Wesson International