How-To Geek

Geek Fun: Remember the Old-School SkiFree Game?

I was stumbling around the web yesterday when I came across a blast from the past: The original SkiFree game for Windows, written by a Microsoft programmer on Windows 3.0 back in 1991. Imagine my surprise when I found out the same game actually works just fine on Windows Vista.


The game is based on the original terminal game for VAX systems, the graphics of which aren’t very impressive:


If you use the mouse to control the game, you can click the mouse button to make him jump… although I seem to land in the trees more often than not.

SkiFree Trees

I’m really not terribly good at this game:

SkiFree End

What old-school games do you miss? Tell us in the comments and we’ll try and find them and do a roundup of classic games. (If you are reading through RSS or Email click here to leave a comment)

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Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/8/09

Comments (49)

  1. Sam

    Could you find a good version of paper boy – the versions i’ve encountered weren’t the best!

  2. Lostboy79

    Hey, I loved this little gem back in the day. I’d forgotten all about it until now and it’s put a smile on my face. Good work HTG! Actually, I had a bout of nostalgia a couple of months back and went on the hunt for a few classic games that I’d forgotten about since my youth. Here’s my top 5 finds (in no particular order):

    01. Starglider
    02. Sopwith
    03. Police Quest
    04. F117A Stealth Bomber
    05. Monkey Island

    I’ve also recently tracked down Terminal Velocity and Lexicross, which I’m still loving with a little help from DOSBox. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else pulls out of the bag now.

    Good times!

  3. jonhill987

    Anyone remember “Hover” from Windows 95? That still works on Vista.

  4. Zeta

    :) rattler race, another remake of snake

  5. kukatie

    I miss Sky Shadow by Cassady and Greene. I remember calling in sick one day just to play it on my Mac Plus.

  6. LittleToucan

    I’ve been hunting too for old 3.1 games that will work on Vista and haven’t found them yet. Cruel, Golf and the original Tai Pei. I know there are graphics heavy updated versions of these games, but nothing beats the charm of the simplicity of the 3.1 games, especially Tai Pei. For those interested Chips Challenge for XP will run on Vista.

  7. Little Toucan

    I just found them ALL the old Best of MS 3.1 games, and believe it or not they work on Vista 64!

  8. Little Toucan

    I made a mistake, I have the 32 bit Vista Ultimate, sorry about that.

  9. John


  10. Little Toucan

    Again I was wrong, Cruel will not work. I keep getting a message saying to run DOS Expand to decompress it. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to do that and then I will be in my gaming bliss.

  11. Kathy

    Lemmings and More Lemmings

  12. jd2066

    I have the Microsoft Best of Windows Entertainment Pack ( ) and Microsoft Arcade ( ).
    I’m not that big a fan of SkiFree (Only so many times you can get eatten by what seems to be a big rat before it gets old).
    The main ones I usually play are Chip’s Challenge and JezzBall.
    I also sometimes play Rodent’s Revenge, Asteroids, Centipede and Missile Command.
    I’ve installed these games on all versions of Windows I used (3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, XP and Vista).
    It’s part of the reason I haven’t installed Windows Vista 64-bit.

  13. jd2066

    I just remembered a couple others I play from the Best of Windows Entertainment Pack (BOWEP): Pipe Dream and Tetris.
    I used to play Chip’s Challenge all the time a few years ago.
    Now I just play Tetris and Jezzball from BOWEP.

  14. T. Larry Humphrey

    I tried to download Driver Scanner and just had all kinds of hang ups and problems. Did not work for me.
    Any suggestions?

  15. skunx

    1. The day of the tentacle
    2. Red Baron
    3. Lemmings

  16. emily

    I was a big fan of “Below the Root” on the Apple IIE.

  17. bingojubes

    tetris classic, complete with renaissance theme!

  18. Fordry

    hehe, Gorrila and nibbles from qbasic were awesome games.

  19. pipo

    sweet. i remember those games, especially gorrila (and snake). my classmates used to call gorilla as gorillabas (coz the file was gorilla.bas), i think that was around the time i realized i was a geek, because i found it funny whenever they referred to it as gorillabas.

  20. Ninique

    I still have Chips Challenge installed on my computer (And play it sometimes….I never managed to get to the end of that game) . I had put it on a floppy disk along with some other games from a computer I had when I was a kid.

    Another old favourite of mine that I still have is DX Ball. My screen res kind of screws it up since it was made for like 800×600 or something, but it still works.

  21. Lostboy79

    Can’t believe I forgot about Lemmings/More Lemmings and Day of the Tentacle. Good shouts, Kathy and Skunx!

  22. Karthkaon

    Does anyone remember the old Atari game Combat? I haven’t been able to find a playable version.

  23. PublicSecrecy

    I spent hours trying to defeat that damn yeti in SkiFree. The longest I’ve ever gone was 1 minute LOL.

  24. Grant

    There is a reasonably similar, and fun game on the Wii Play disc.

  25. cowgod

    you can play lemmings online here:

    two of my aunts absolutely hate the free cell version that comes with vista. i’d be interested to know if it is possible to get the version that came with xp onto vista.

  26. phaoloo

    It’s really amazing this game still alive. I love old game cos I don’t have to spend too much time to understand how to play and they are very small and fast.

  27. vanessa

    Games i want to see, well the only one i really miss is a 95 or 98 version of shanghai majong

  28. marie

    ooh what I would give to play pipe dream again. we used to play it all the time, years ago.

  29. aryanto


    castle , astroids , dig dug…loved that one , tetris classic ,
    space invaders . would love to see if i can still play dig dug .

  30. Phil

    Jumpman and Jumpman JR…. Spyhunter would be pretty cool as well.

    I’m currently loving Below The Root on DOSBox

  31. zifnab06

    I think my favorite old-school game would have to be Stars. Its an RTS kind of like galactic civilizations 2, except all in old 16 color mode…its an amazing game if you can find it.

  32. Desert Tripper

    Lode Runner and Floppy for Apple II. Addicting and frustrating as hell…

    (and, anyone remember the Lode Runner remake for the PC platform around ’94-’95?)

  33. Rich

    Below the Root! Lode Runner! Hey, anyone up for that corny Zork CD-ROM circa ’95, with the bad acting? or that crummy pink and green Tarzan for the Apple? or maybe just trolling through pointlessly-fun Beagle Brothers utilities?

  34. Ender


  35. Eagle0584

    Yeah, Desert Tripper…I remember the old Apples from my days high school days at SPA in the early-mid 80’s and then after that at LSU in college. I can’t imagine playing computer games on those old relics; the most they were good for was typing…and to use a floppy to play the games with no less…I can’t imagine!

  36. anonymous

    Glider Pro

    bit newer than the ones you guys are mentioning but definately part of my childhood.

    on MAC dunno

  37. joey

    yep I sure did enjoy that game back in the day it was like you never could get the pipe long enough and if you was’nt careful the pipe will cum out with it’s stuff and ooze all over the place it made it a relly great fun time for me to play that game!!

  38. tneria01

    DIGGER was my favorite PC game from the 80’s. But before the PC, I used to play a couple of text games at work on an HP1000 mainframe. One was called Haunted House and the other one???—forgot…some sort of fantasy world with fairies and trolls, etc. The games where completely in text. You would enter something like “walk ten steps”. There would be responses like “a loud scream can be heard from upstairs”. They were really cool games because there was nothing on the screen but a little text, so you had to imagine everything in your head and remember where you were as you moved about.

  39. hwangkarlos

    I remember nibbles and gorrila, how I wish I could play those games again.

  40. RaiulBaztepo

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  41. AmWay

    I miss Chip’s Challenge, Rodent’s Revenge and something call Pipe’s Dream (I think, hey, i was 8 when I played that!) I sure do miss SkiFree.

  42. bill

    the game i would love to see was the windows 3.0 ‘gorillas’ game where the two apes toss exploding bananas at each sn learned the concept of angles from this game. i’ve been told the origional file won’t run slow enough to use on a modern wiondows machine.

  43. Blackmoore

    I remember one – spooky castle. I got to the last level, then my computer decided the game didn’t exist anymore!
    I love that game so much…

  44. Tyler

    I loved this game but will it work on vista 64bit? try and find chips challenge that will work for vista64 and jezzball!!!

  45. T'chung May May

    Does anyone remember that old game with the mouse and the cat? It is about the same age as SkiFree and Chips Challenge. You are a mouse in the middle of a bunch of squares and your job is to try to trap the cat. You push the squares and either squish the cat or, if you can trap him in a single space, you turn him into a piece of cheese. I’m sorry that the description isn’t very good, but I haven’t played this game since about 5th grade and can’t remember the whole thing. However, if anyone even knows what it’s called I’d be really happy! Thanks so much!

  46. natalie

    the cat and mouse game was called rodents revenge ive just been searching it now!!
    i never knew how to actually win the ski game- is is just how far can you get before the funny monster eats you?! :P
    anyone remember the cannon game? :S
    the old games are much better than the new ones :( :(

  47. Laptopleon

    Hi! As a kid, I played a game on a VAX or VAX-like system at my uncle’s work. My absolute favorite was a game with the objective to conquer 75% of the surface of a field with a snake on it. You’d control a cursor that followed the outline of the field. By leaving the current outline and cutting off pieces, you’d conquer them. The snake would try to get to in the process. Two other, enemy cursors you had to avoid, would follow the outline.

    Specially in hindsight it is impressive how well it worked despite the monochrome interface with just monospaced characters on the screen! Not to mention the limited computer capacity available.

    The iApp Bix seems to be a – not so impressive – 2010 version of it for iPhone.

    I’d like to find a Mac port or version, does anybody know the name of the original?

  48. Onion

    I really miss Rattler Race. I’d got good at it too!

  49. Marie

    Looking for a Chip’s Chanllenge game that will run off of Window’7 64 bit. I love this game

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