A few days ago when Ryan wrote about the fact that Space Cadet Pinball (a.k.a. Windows Pinball or 3D Pinball) is no longer included with Windows as one of the standard games, he also mentioned some of the other classic games that Microsoft has retired. I thought it would be fun to go back and take a look at some of those games that many of us used to play on a regular basis. While they are retired, they are still available for download, which I’ll include the links for.
Pinball was introduced as a standard game included with Windows when NT 4.0 debuted in 1996. Formally called 3D Pinball: Space Cadet, it became a favorite and was included with versions of Windows up until Windows Vista.
About Pinball: Those of you who played it know that there were 9 different ranks that you could attain by completing missions. The lowest rank was Cadet, and went all the way up to Fleet Admiral. I don’t even remember what my highest rank was, but I know for sure it wasn’t Fleet Admiral :)
SkiFree was actually created by a guy working at Microsoft as a game he played for his own education and entertainment. So how did it end up as a classic Microsoft game? On the official SkiFree website, creator Chris Pirih says, “One day while I was playing with it at work, the program manager for Windows Entertainment Pack happened to look over my shoulder and immediately decided he had to have this game. I called it WinSki, but the Microsoft marketroids hated that and decided, for inscrutible marketroidal reasons, to call it SkiFree. After some token resistance I let them have their way. Since the program was not originally a Microsoft product, Microsoft licensed it from me and paid me some trivial one-time fee (something like 100 shares of MSFT stock, no royalties) for its use.”
The object of course, was to ski down a slope but do so while avoiding obstacles. It was designed for 16–bit Windows, and then later turned into a 32–bit version. The very first version is pictured below and uses “^” to mark where the trees are, and “//” to mark the skier. A more updated version is pictured next to it.
Don’t forget about the Abominable Snow Monster who’ll appear and attempt to eat you!
You’ll remember Hover from Windows 95 where according to Wikipedia, “it was a showcase for the advanced multimedia capabilities available on personal computers at the time.” It’s best described as a “capture the flag” type of game where the object is to capture your enemy’s flags before they capture yours.
Rodent’s Revenge is probably one of my all-time favorite games to come with Windows. If you’ve never played it, you’re missing out! It was originally created in 1991 and the object is to trap the cats. Once the cats are trapped and they can’t move, they’ll turn into cheese which you’ll want to go back and eat to get some extra points. You’ve got three lives to get you through 50 levels!