Do you fondly remember playing card games in a classroom on a Windows 95 workstation? Maybe you spent time in an early 1990s office cubicle looking for mines. You can relive classic Windows games past today. We’ll show you how.
Play classic games that come with Windows
The games featured below are built-in games that come with Windows, including classics like Lonely. Windows 7 versions of most of the games below can be found in Winaero’s Windows 7 Games Pack for Windows 10 and 8.
We tested this pack on Windows 11 (the ARM version running on a MacBook Pro, no less), and they all work except for online dependent titles because the servers are offline.
Take it Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which includes all the classic modes and a few new ones. It is included in Windows 11 and available on mobile platforms like Android and iOS. You can also play Windows 3.1 version in the browser via DOSBox.
It’s probably the best version of the classic card game you can get your hands on. It also includes different 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.
RELATED: Microsoft Solitaire is still king 30 years later
Play the classic Minesweeper in your browser for free right now. The game includes different difficulty levels with the nostalgic teal Windows 95 background and interface trims. It’s as addictive (and punishing) as you remember. Also, you can grab the source code if you want.
free cell is another card game for Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which you can download for free for Windows 11, Android and iOS. You can also play free cell in your browser using websites like FreeCell.io without downloading anything.
The Windows 7 version of free cell is available in the Winaero Windows 7 Games Pack for Windows 10 and 8.
3D Pinball Space Cadet
A beloved inclusion in Microsoft Plus! package for Windows 95, 3D Pinball for Windows has been completely reverse-engineered to work on just about 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 PS Vita.
Alternatively, you can play 3D Pinball Space Cadet in your browser too.
Internet Backgammon, Checkers, Reversi and Spades
The the Internet versions of Backgammon, ladies, Reverseand Spades first appeared in Windows Me and XP around the turn of the millennium. At that time, Internet adoption was booming, and the idea of a shared “family PC” was still relevant.
Reverse was the first game ever included with Windows 1.0, although it did not include online play at the time.
While Windows 7 versions of these games are available in the Windows 7 Games Pack 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 some form in Clubhouse Games: 51 World Classics for the Switch (one of our favorite Switch titles). You can also play them over the internet in VR using table simulator.
Here are other ways to play:
Hearts is a card game that involves 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 it’s ad-free. It also offers an online multiplayer mode.
The Windows 7 version of Hearts is available in the Windows 7 Games pack for Windows 10 and 8.
ink ball is a strange little game that first appeared in the Tablet PC edition of Windows XP and later in Windows Vista Home Premium and later. This game required players to quickly draw lines to direct balls into holes of matching colors.
Short of installing the appropriate version of XP or Vista in 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 children, 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 you can enjoy all over the web, but if you want the Windows 7 version, you’ll have better luck with the Windows 7 Games bundle for Windows 10 and 8. Otherwise, browser-based mahjong games like PlayMahjong .io, as well as Clubhouse Games: 51 World Classics for Switch, are good alternatives.
Float! only appeared in Windows 95 after being included in the CD-ROM version. Microsoft revived it in 2013 as a browser game, but the website has since disappeared. Luckily, you can still access it using a Hover.ie Internet Archive snapshot.
Being an inclusion of Windows 7, the original Chess Titans is included in the Windows 7 Games Bundle for Windows 10 and 8. Alternatively, it’s just chess, so you can play it anywhere, including on your browser through Chess.com.
Play games from Microsoft Entertainment packs
In addition to pack-in games, other Windows titles have been included with any of the four Microsoft Entertainment Pack released between 1990 and 1992. Later in 1994, Microsoft released a final collection called Best of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack.
These are all 16-bit games, which means they work on 16-bit versions of Windows starting with Windows 3.0 and 32-bit versions up to the 32-bit version of Windows Vista. They do not work on Windows 8 or later 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 grab a copy of your Microsoft Entertainment Pack choices (most of which are available via the Internet Archive) to play.
RELATED: How to Install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox, Configure Drivers, and Play 16-Bit Games
If you want to get started quickly, there are a few other ways to take advantage of these old favorites.
Revenge of the rodents
A computer-controlled game of cat and mouse, Revenge of the rodents was included with the second Microsoft Entertainment Pack in 1993. It has since been remade in Java and can be downloaded for free (or played using the Java applet in your browser) as The Rodent’s Revenge.
Originally a launch title for the Atari Lynx home console, a tile-based puzzler Chip’s Challenge was later grouped with the fourth Microsoft Entertainment Pack in 1994. In 2015, the game was made available for free on Steam.
Klotsky is a clone of an early 20th century sliding wooden block puzzle, included in the third Microsoft Entertainment Pack. A developer by the name of Philippe Fremy has recreated 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 will need Python 3.5 and PyQt 5. This version includes all the same levels as the original Windows 3.1 release.
After being included in the original Microsoft Entertainment Pack, Jezzball also appeared in Best of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack. The rule here is to draw lines to capture as much of the level as possible without any balls hitting the lines as they are drawn. Play for yourself in your browser.
Blowjob Dream (Blowjob Mania)
Released for the Amiga by The Assembly Line in 1989 as Blowjob Mania and later ported to other platforms (including Windows 3.1) by Lucasfilm Games, Blowjob Dream is a puzzle game about connecting a set of pipes on a board within a set amount of time. This formula has since been cloned and used countless times (perhaps most notably as a hacking mini-game in the Deus Ex franchise).
Discover a browser Blowjob Dream clone or play original Amiga Blowjob Mania on the Internet Archive.
The game of life
Also known as John Conway’s Game of Life or simply Life, this cellular automaton meets all the criteria of a zero-player game. This means it is played after the player has provided a single initial input. You can run Game of Life for yourself in your browser.
WordZap is a fast word game completely free and playable in your browser on WordZap.com. If you like word games like Wordle or classic games like Boggle, don’t miss this classic.
Everyone has their favorite
Eagle-eyed Windows connoisseurs will notice the absence of Windows Vista Ultimate favorite Tinker on this list. Even after following a detailed set of instructions posted on the Microsoft Answers website using Windows 11, we couldn’t get it to work. You will need to install Vista Ultimate on a virtual machine for this one.
RELATED: Newbie Geek: How to Create and Use Virtual Machines
I hope you discover your favorite pack-in or Microsoft Entertainment Pack game on this list. While not all games are faithfully recreated, most can be enjoyed on modern browsers or your smartphone in ways that were unthinkable when first released.
We’ve ranked our favorite games included with Windows. Check it out!