|11-04-2011, 12:39 PM||#1|
I've always been a retro-gamer of sorts, and I'm glad to see that old game sites and forums are quite active these days. I've been collecting links to various sites where you can get downloads of demo versions, shareware episodes and officially freeware versions of classic DOS and Windows games, as well as read reviews and get useful links. All sites listed below adhere to the high standards and in no case offer "abandonware" and similar legally dubious content.
Freeware & Shareware Archives
Remain in Play
This is as much a database of commercial games that have been released into public domain as it is a gaming site. It provides info, screenshots and downloads of freeware games, but keep in mind that the database includes not only playable games, but also source code and raw data if those were the only things released to the public. There options to filter games by type of distributed content, and it's a good idea to look for binary executables if you want to get playable games and not files that are barely useful if you aren't a programmer or game developer yourself.
Theodor Lauppert's Game Gallery (mirror site)
Here you'll find interesting, insightful reviews of games, tons of related links, screenshots, demo/shareware/freeware downloads etc. You can browse games by genre, title, platform (featured games aren't limited to PC only), or country. There are also a few interesting related sites:
King Svatopluk's Court - a nice site dedicated to various RPGs like the Elder Scrolls series.
Svatopluk's Game World - various articles about games.
Svatopluk's DOSBox - a large, unsorted collection of screenshots from various DOS games.
Svatopluk's Arcade - a lot of info and screenshots about all sorts of arcade games.
Demu.org (formerly known as DOS Museum)
This is by far the largest archive of shareware episodes, demo versions, extras and utils for DOS and Windows games, as well as a selection of other programmes. Quite a few rare items can be found here, so it's a must see for everyone The only imaginable drawback is that original file names of archives aren't always preserved, and some games have been repackaged in RAR for better compression. Both playable and unplayable demo versions (and also preview slideshows, trailers etc.) are present. There's an option of ordering a DVD with the entire collection of the site per mail. Links to sites that offer full versions of featured games for purchase are present where applicable.
RGB Classic Games
Behind this site is an extensive agenda of preservation of old games (DOS and Windows), and thanks to the initiative of the site's author some old titles have been officially released into public domain by their respective developers following Internet petitions. RGB Classic Games is unique because it aims to include every existing version of each featured game, and the community members actively search for rare releases of old games. Each game on the site is accompanied by an brief but informative description that contains info on developers, publishers, current availability etc. Non-playable content is usually not included. The site also offers their complete collection on DVDs. Links to sites that offer full versions of featured games for purchase are present where applicable. There's also an extensive archive of emulators and other utilities you might need to play the games on modern machines, and comprehensive guides to successfully running old games on new hardware. In addition, there is an option to play featured games right in your browser.
Smush The Cat
A nice collection of shareware episodes, demo versions and freeware full versions of old DOS and Windows games. Descriptions and other info are scarce, but links to official and related websites for games are present if possible. There's an option to browse by multiple categories (platform, game type etc.). The site also offers utilities that might be needed to run the old games on modern systems.
This is a popular site with a large archive of DOS games, offering playable demo versions and shareware episodes. Well-known classics are present alongside more obscure titles. There's also a community forum where people can get help with getting a game to run on a modern machine, or locating an old game they just can't find. A selection of utilities needed to run the games is also available.
DOS Games Archive
A sister site to dosgames.com. Non-playable content is also present, as are full versions of games that have officially become freeware. There's a multi-category browsing option (by genre, playability etc.), a number of selected screenshots for each game (unfortunately, they're not always from the demo version), cheat code listings and links to places where you can buy the full version if a game is still sold.
The DOS Multiplayer Archives
This site focuses on playing old DOS games over the net (through DOSBox). It offers demos of DOS games that have multiplayer capability, already bundled with DOSBox configured for online play. The collection of games isn't very large at the moment, but it can be expected to grow. Currently, the focus is on the less known games that have a multiplayer option, because they're not as easy to run on modern systems as those well-known classics (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D etc.) that have source ports to newer platforms, as well as large supporting communities.
Hardcore Gaming 101
A dedicated old-gaming site with a huge database of detailed articles about PC and console games and game series.
The Computer Show
This is an archive of previews, reviews, walkthroughs and other articles about games that have been released in the nineties.
Ancient DOS Games
Gamers.Org has several old FTP file archives on their site:
A nice FTP archive of shareware and demo programmes and games.
Westwood Studios FTP Archive
An enhanced version of the Westwood FTP, with some extra content thrown in, by Nyerguds, a well-known C&C enthusiast and author of the unofficial C&C v1.06 patch.
|11-04-2011, 12:53 PM||#2|
I apologize for violating the no double-posting rule, but the forum software won't let me post lengthy paragraphs.
Sites Dedicated to Specific Games and Companies
El Zee's Amulets & Armor Forum
A fan forum for discussing Amulets and Armor, a first-person action/RPG game that runs on the Doom engine.
leileilol's Unofficial Amulets & Armor Shrine
A little site about the game, which aslo includes downloads of the shareware version.
Rise of the Triad Headquarters
As the name suggests, this is a site dedicated to Apogee's Rise of the Triad, and it contains extensive information about the game and everything related to it. The downloads section offers source ports, the shareware version, and various extras. There's also a forum.
The Sierra Help Pages
As the name suggests, the site is dedicated to games by Sierra On-line. There's extensive information about the games, hints and tips, and helpful information about running them on modern machines. The site also features and extensive collection of demo versions of Sierra games.
The Sierra Chest
An extensive database of Sierra games, with screenshots, downloadable demos, and various links.
SierraGamers - The Official Website of Ken and Roberta Williams
Exactly what it says on the tin, it's a site maintained by Ken and Roberta Williams and dedicated to Sierra games and legacy. A must visit for every Sierra fan, and anyone interested in the history of computer games.
The Chaos Regime
A site about games by Bitmap Brothers. Features demo downloads, screenshots and interesting info.
Interplay Official Website
The official website of Interplay Entertainment. They've got tech support for their old games, as well as demos, patches and other extras like PDF manuals and, in some cases, even music. Some links seem to be broken though.
Miscellaneous Gaming Sites
Videogame Music Preservation Foundation
A database of music from video games, regardless of platform. You can browse entries by games, by artists, formats or platforms. Also has its own Wiki.
Retro Game Forum
A promising forum dedicated to old gaming on various platforms, including home computer systems, consoles and game arcade machines.
leileilol's 90's Hunter
An interesting collection of obscure shareware and freeware games from the nineties. Also featured are largely unknown modifications for certain old games.
The site features a rather extensive list of old FPS games, organized by year of release, and contains screenshots and download links for demo/shareware/freeware releases of each game (if applicable). The content seems to exclude vehicle FPS games though, but it has quite a few rare titles so it's worth looking into.
|11-04-2011, 07:57 PM||#3|
Nice post! Will look through the links when im less tired.
As a previous owner of member number 404, I obviously dont know what the hell Im talking about.
"I GOT PLASTERED!" - Drazula
"I thought everyone i Sweden looked like Duke Nukem...." - GreedyFly 2001
|03-02-2012, 08:55 AM||#8|
All this work, and I smack of idiocy...
Thank you so much - I also love the ancient classsics - creating a folder just for your topic links.
Right now trying to load a retail version of a big boxed game I found called "Shannara"
It came with a Shannara novel as well.
Last edited by KO Gilligan; 03-02-2012 at 09:15 AM.
|03-03-2012, 10:35 AM||#9|
You're welcome Digging for retro gaming sites is fun (as probably is digging the net for any kind of useful stiff ), I really found a lot more than I expected. The only real trouble is the abundance of dubious and outright "abandonware" websites that offer whichever games their maintainers felt like uploading, without any regard to copyrights or the common decency to inform the visitors what type of game they're being offered.
RGB Classic Games is an excellent website, as it aims to collect and preserve all public releases of games that are featured, which often leads to some interesting findings. Demu.org is modelled after RGB Classic Games, but goes more for quantity of material. RGB Classic Games and dosgames.com also have nice forums to visit and ask various questions (e.g. the dosgames.com forum has a special section where people ask to help them remember the title of an old game they had forgotten, or find that game, if it is still available).
You would maybe also find it interesting to check out this thread about rare and CD-exclusive demo versions of old games
|03-20-2012, 02:44 PM||#11|
Last edited by MrFlibble; 03-20-2012 at 02:58 PM.
|05-24-2012, 10:14 PM||#13|
Thank you for keeping this updated. I forget about it from time to time, but it has a lot of great sites in it.
I was a member of Software Creations BBS back in the day. It had over 100 phone lines. Amazing system for a BBS. It is where I downloaded most of my shareware. When I got the notice it was closing down, due to internet growth causing obsolescence, I bought a copy of their backup tapes. It was an amazing set. About 90,000 files. This would have been about the time that Quake came out I guess. I can't remember, but I do have the letter from them stating they were closing.
The tapes have long since failed I am sure, but I think that I have most all of it backed up on the server at my other house. (This house is not ready for the PC's yet)
In the next few weeks I will moving those PC's and servers to this house and will finally see what I have stored from the 90's.
YES! I do wear my Duke Xtreme t-shirt every day!* :)
*(Not really, sometimes I wear my Time to Kill t-shirt... like while I am washing my other Duke shirts for instance.)
|05-26-2012, 10:15 AM||#14|
It has also become a delightful trend to digitize and archive cover CDs from old gaming magazines. Archive.org's Shareware CD Archive and cd.textfiles.com already include many cover CDs, and recently Hallfiry, a retro gaming enthusiast (and also a historian of Blizzard Entertainment, no less!) has started uploading ISOs of various game magazine cover disks from the nineties and early 2000's in his collection (original post; CD contents master index; public folder with all the CDs).
|06-11-2012, 07:29 PM||#15|
Some FTP goodness:
And a few FTP mirrors:
The first Westwood one also has downloads of the free Command & Conquer games:
Last edited by MrFlibble; 06-11-2012 at 07:35 PM.
|06-30-2012, 02:09 PM||#18|
QuakeOne - Quake 1 Resurrection
This website is based on that *other* game from 1996 that blew the Build engine out of the water (even tho Duke 3D was still the better game, don't get me wrong).
PC Specs (a.k.a. "Galacticus Prime"): http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7Vk7FT
|09-01-2012, 05:11 PM||#21|
What an excellent thread! I spotted several games I'd like to have. I didn't know 5 Days a Stranger had two follow-ups ( 6 Days and 7 Days.)
How safe are these sites for downloading? I have McAfee which usually screens for me, plus Shield, which usually warns me that the publisher is unknown when I download, even if the publisher is listed. I'm asking because not long ago I had an unfortunate experience with a download and was saved by McAfee, which removed a Trojan Horse plus several other viruses. Still, strange things are happening, so I'm super paranoid now.
Rest in peace Paloma, my sweet little Tortoiseshell; I will never forget your beautiful face, with the gold dove that spread over your eyes and down your nose. Now I am NoPaws, but will keep Twelve paws in your memory as well as the others who passed before you.
|09-02-2012, 08:57 AM||#22|
As for the antivirus software, it's always better to err on the side of caution of course, but even professional virus scanners are known to sometimes return false positives when they handle executable written by individual programmers (such as free/indie games).
|09-17-2012, 01:15 PM||#26|
The file archive at Demu.org had finally moved to the Classic PC Games collection at archive.org. It is now possible to browse games by various criteria, including year of release and developer/publisher, but thumbnail view is no longer available.
The original Demu.org website is now primarily focused on game research.