The Internet Archive brings Windows 3.1 games to your browser

This is how we rolled back then.

This is how we rolled back then.

The Internet Archive, which brought nearly 2400 MS-DOS games to the convenience and comfort of your browser last summer, has expanded its collection with programs from the Windows 3.1 era, including more than 1000 games.

A lot of the games in the collection are shareware releases, which is why you see things like the Taipei exit message asking you to send five bucks to the author if you like the game. Much of it is proto-indie stuff you've never heard of, but there are some names in here you may recognize, too, like The Even More Incredible Machine, Sim Earth, American Civil War: From Sumter to Appomattox, Hoyle Solitaire, and even Out of This World, the Americanized version of the groundbreaking platformer Another World.

It's not what you'd call a tightly-packed collection of super-smash hits, and some of it is just silly—witness Trash, pictured, which is literally a (very amusing) “cheap shot” against the Apple Macintosh, a relic of the war before the Console Wars—but also a fun slice of history, from a time when Windows hadn't quite evolved into a full-blown operating system.

“The colorful and unique look of Windows 3/3.1 is a 16-bit window into what programs used to be like, and depending on the graphical whims of the programmers, could look futuristic or incredibly basic,” archivist Jason Scott wrote. “For many who might remember working in that environment, the view of the screenshots of some of the hosted programs will bring back long-forgotten memories.”

Thanks, Gamasutra.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.