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Caffeine Freak

Over 1500 tools and programs released from Windows 3.1

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If you're like me and have fond memories of old Windows games that came stocked with its operating systems in the 90's, (or keep track of old archived software in general) there's some good news:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/over-1500-windows-3-1-shareware-apps-now-free-immortalized-on-your-browser/

Earlier this week, Internet Archive software collector and historian Jason Scott answered our phone call to talk about one of his latest efforts: the Malware Museum, which offered online passersby a glimpse at how nearly 80 classic viruses worked once they infected an MS-DOS computer. We enjoyed picking his brain about the collection and told him so, at which point he stopped us from hanging up the phone.

"I have one more drop for you," Scott said. "On Thursday, we're going to put up a bunch of Windows 3.1 software. What we did for MS-DOS, we're doing for Windows 3.1."

We were immediately intrigued, remembering exactly what Scott and his slew of Archive.org volunteers did for MS-DOS and other computing and gaming platforms. Thanks to that team's efforts, thousands of seemingly lost pieces of software had found new life, all brought back to life with free downloads and a mighty fine Web browser emulation solution. From beloved classics like Oregon Trail to cult hits like Karateka, the collection's thousands of titles seemed to have it all.

Now, Scott and his crew have done it again with the Windows 3.X Showcase—made up of a whopping 1,523 downloads (and counting), all running in a surprisingly robust, browser-based JavaScript emulation of Windows 3.1. You'll recognize offerings like WinRisk and SkiFree, but the vast majority of the collection sticks to a particularly wild world of Windows shareware history, one in which burgeoning developers seemed to throw everything imaginable against 3.1's GUI wall to see what stuck.



I know that I may boot up 'Ski Free' sometime later tonight, as well as take a look at whatever else is in store here(hopefully something like 'Snakes and Apples'). Some good memories from those games. :)

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Not entirely sure how Microsoft is gonna feel about them emulating the OS on a public website. At least they don't let people download the OS itself.

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Ah, SkiFree... that was the good ol' days. For those who don't already know, there is a site dedicated to it, proudly endorsed by the guy who made the game. You can even download the game there if you like (scroll down the the bottom of the page).

Patch93 said:

Not entirely sure how Microsoft is gonna feel about them emulating the OS on a public website. At least they don't let people download the OS itself.

Oh, believe me... Microsoft's definitely going to be pissed if they find out about this.

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On a 20+ year old OS of theirs that's no longer even supported, give me a break..

inb4 "blah blah blah protecting their IP" nonsense.

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Patch93 said:

Not entirely sure how Microsoft is gonna feel about them emulating the OS on a public website. At least they don't let people download the OS itself.

I believe the Internet Archive has some kind of DMCA exemption to allow it to do things like this.

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HavoX said:

Ah, SkiFree... that was the good ol' days. For those who don't already know, there is a site dedicated to it, proudly endorsed by the guy who made the game. You can even download the game there if you like (scroll down the the bottom of the page).

Oh, believe me... Microsoft's definitely going to be pissed if they find out about this.


This is where baby snow monsters come from:

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I find it interesting that they've apparently "cut down" the OS that is being emulated. When you power on the emulated machine, it boots Windows and immediately runs the program you selected. Program Manager never appears. Many of the functions that would allow you to switch to it, like Alt-Tab and the "Switch to..." menu command, now do absolutely nothing. Closing the running program will actually close Windows and go back to a DOS prompt, and from there, there is nothing else you can do but attempt to run the program again ("This program requires Microsoft Windows") or type WIN and hit Enter, which just boots back to the program and skips the Program Manager like usual.

Gotta say, this implementation is surprisingly tight.

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