Do you fondly remember playing card games in a classroom on a Windows 95 workstation? Maybe you spent your time in an office cubicle from the early 1990s looking for mines. You can relive the classic games of the Windows past today. We’ll show you how.
Play classic games bundled with Windows
The games listed below are pack-in games that came with Windows, including classics like solitaire. The Windows 7 versions of many of the games listed below can be found in Winaero’s Windows 7 Games Pack for Windows 10 and 8.
We’ve tested this pack on Windows 11 (the ARM version running on a MacBook Pro, no less) and they all work except for the online-dependent titles, since the servers are offline.
Pack them Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which includes all the classic modes and some new ones. It is included in Windows 11 and available on mobile platforms such as Android and iOS. You can also play the Windows 3.1 version in the browser via DOSBox.
This is probably the best version of the classic card game you can get your hands on. It also includes various game modes including Spider Solitaire (as seen in Windows 2000 through Windows 7).
You can also play solitaire in your browser at Solitaire For Free.
TIED TOGETHER: Microsoft Solitaire is still king 30 years later
Play the classic minesweeper now for free in your browser. The game includes different levels of difficulty with the nostalgic blue-green Windows 95 background and surface decorations. It’s just as addicting (and punishing) as you remember. Also, you can get the source code if you want.
free cell is another card game for the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which you can download for free for Windows 11, Android and iOS. You can play too free cell in your browser with sites like FreeCell.io without downloading anything.
The Windows 7 version of free cell is available in the Windows 7 game pack for Windows 10 and 8 by Winaero.
3D Pinball Space Cadet
A popular inclusion in the Microsoft Plus! package for Windows 95, 3D pinball for Windows has been completely reverse engineered to run on almost anything. You can download standalone versions for modern 64-bit versions of Windows (including Windows 11) or source ports for macOS, Linux, LG’s webOS TV platform, AmigaOS 4, and the PS Vita.
Alternatively you can play 3D Pinball Space Cadet also in your browser.
Internet Backgammon, Checkers, Reversi and Spades
That Internet versions of backgammon, lady, Vice versaand spade first appeared around the turn of the millennium in Windows Me and XP. At the time, Internet adoption was booming and the idea of a shared “family PC” was still in vogue.
Vice versa was the first game ever included with Windows 1.0, although it didn’t include online play at the time.
While the Windows 7 versions of these games are available in the Windows 7 games bundle for Windows 10 and 8, the servers are dead so they no longer work. However, you can still enjoy many versions of these games online.
For example, they are available in any form Clubhouse Games: 51 World Classics for the Switch (one of our favorite Switch titles). You can also play them in VR over the internet Tabletop simulator.
Here are some more ways to play:
hearts is a card game about passing cards to other players. It appeared in Windows 98 through Windows 7 but hasn’t appeared since. Solitaired has a good version of hearts this is ad free. It also offers online multiplayer.
The Windows 7 version of hearts is available in Windows 7 game pack for Windows 10 and 8.
inkball is a strange little game that first appeared in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and later in Windows Vista Home Premium and later. In this game, players had to quickly draw lines to direct balls into holes of matching colors.
Aside from installing the appropriate version of XP or Vista on a virtual machine, your best bet is this browser-based reimplementation by GitHub user ghallak.
Purple place was included with Windows Vista and Windows 7 as an educational game for kids with three mini-games: Purble Pairs, Comfy Cakes, and Purble Shop. The best way to play this game is using Winaero’s Windows 7 games pack for Windows 10 and 8.
mahjong is a game that you can enjoy anywhere on the internet, but if you want the Windows 7 version, you will have the best luck with the Windows 7 games pack for Windows 10 and 8. Otherwise, browser-based mahjong games like PlayMahjong.io, as well Clubhouse Games: 51 World Classics for Switch, are good alternatives.
Hover! only appeared in Windows 95 after it was included in the CD-ROM version. Microsoft revived it as a browser game in 2013, but the website has since disappeared. Luckily, you can still access it with a Hover.ie Internet Archive snapshot.
Since it is a Windows 7 integration, it is the original chess titans is included in the package Windows 7 games for Windows 10 and 8. Alternatively, it’s chess only so you can play it anywhere, including in your browser via Chess.com.
Play games from Microsoft Entertainment Packs
In addition to pack-in games, other Windows titles were included with one of four Microsoft Entertainment Package Releases between 1990 and 1992. Later in 1994, Microsoft released a definitive collection called The Best of Microsoft Entertainment package.
These are all 16-bit games, which means they run on 16-bit versions of Windows from Windows 3.0 and up and 32-bit versions up to 32-bit Windows Vista. They do not run on Windows 8 or higher or modern 64-bit versions of Windows.
For the full experience, we recommend playing these games natively in a Windows 3.1 environment. You can install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox and then get a copy of your file Microsoft Entertainment Package of your choice (most of which are available through the Internet Archive).
TIED TOGETHER: How to install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox, set up drivers and play 16-bit games
If you want to get started quickly, there are a few other ways to enjoy these old favorites.
Revenge of the Rodents
A computer-controlled game of cat and mouse, Revenge of the Rodents was recorded with the second Microsoft Entertainment Package in 1993. It has since been recreated in Java and is free to download (or play with the Java applet in your browser). Revenge of the Rodents.
Originally a launch title for the home console Atari Lynx, tile-based puzzler Chip’s challenge was later bundled with the fourth Microsoft Entertainment Package in 1994. In 2015 the game was made available for free on Steam.
Klotzki is a clone of an early 20th century wooden sliding puzzle included in the third Microsoft Entertainment Package. A developer named Philippe Fremy rebuilt Klotski in Python as a Windows executable that you can run on modern versions of Windows.
You can even make it work on other platforms, but you need Python 3.5 and PyQt 5. This version contains the same layers as the original Windows 3.1 version.
After it was included in the original Microsoft Entertainment Package, jezz ball also appeared in The Best of Microsoft Entertainment package. The rule here is to draw lines to capture as much level as possible without balls hitting the lines while drawing. Play for yourself in your browser.
pipe dream (pipe mania)
Released for the Amiga by The Assembly Line in 1989 as pipe mania and later ported to other platforms (including Windows 3.1) by Lucasfilm Games, pipe dream is a puzzle game about connecting a series of pipes on a board in a set time frame. This formula has since been cloned and used countless times (perhaps most notably as a hacking mini-game in the deus ex Franchise).
Try a browser-based one pipe dream clone or play the original Amiga pipe mania in the internet archive.
game of life
Also known as John Conway’s Game of Life or simply lifethis cellular machine meets all the criteria of a zero-player game. This means it will play itself after the player makes a single initial input. You can run Game of Life for yourself in your browser.
WordZap is a fast paced word game totally free and playable in your browser at WordZap.com. If you like word games like Wordle or classic games like Boggle, don’t miss this classic.
Everyone has their favourite
Keen-eyed Windows connoisseurs will notice the absence of Windows Vista Ultimate as a favorite Handcraft on this list. Even after following a set of detailed instructions posted on the Microsoft Answers website on Windows 11, we couldn’t get it to work. For this you need to install Vista Ultimate on a virtual machine.
TIED TOGETHER: Beginner Geek: How to create and use virtual machines
Hope you discover your favorite pack or Microsoft Entertainment Package game on this list. While not all games are faithfully recreated, most can be played on modern browsers or your smartphone in ways that were unthinkable when they were first released.
We’ve ranked our favorite games that come with Windows. Listen!