Shareware Hall of Fame

Shareware?

In the late 80's and early 90's a number of amazing games were released under the shareware model. With shareware you were able to play the first few levels of the game for free, and if you liked it you could purchase the full game through the publisher. Apogee Software and Epic Games both released some really great titles but there are some independent authors who also really shined.

This is a small selection of some of the best shareware files from our 14,000+ collection on archive.org.

Action

Jetpack Christmas Special!

Santa's got a jetpack and more levels to conquer in this free gift from Software Creations! Explore NEW levels of treacherous dungeons, with new graphics & sounds. Create your own Christmas levels with the built-in level editor! Up to 8 players on joysticks or keyboard. Fast full screen arcade action with digitized Sound Blaster support and stunning 256 color VGA graphics!

https://archive.org/details/JetpackChristmasSpecial1993SoftwareCreationsAction

Scorched Earth

256 color VGA artillery game that allows up to 10 players to blow each other to bits. Tons of configurable options including weapons, defense mechanisms, weather, economics, etc. Can also be played by one person against various computer foes.

Scorched Earth is a simple, yet exciting artillery combat game, based on an auspicious history of artillery games. Most of the options are very intuitive, and you can begin playing with only a little bit of information. Then, when you are interested, you can poke in the dimmer recesses of the manual for more information and options (or just ignore it altogether!)

https://archive.org/details/ScorchedEarth

Tunneler

Tunneler is a two player game. The objective of the game is to be the first to win three rounds. A round continues until one tank blows up (from being shot or simply running out of energy).

https://archive.org/details/Tunneler

Action: First Person Shooter

DOOM

The best selling game of 1994! Doom is the ultimate 3D adventure, brining virtual reality and multi-player action to your PC. Doom includes 9 levels of the most incredible 3D action and superb graphics you will ever experience!

A far-off moonbase sets the stage as you, the only remaining marine, battle demons, mutant humans, and horrors from the bowels of the universe, to save yourself and the world.

Bullet proof armor, night vision goggles and radiation suits are our protection against a monster infested holocaust that's been set upon the universe. You must travel through bubbling lava, rush under crushing ceilings, be lowered into dark passages, and more, to find and destroy the enemy that threatens to destroy you!

https://archive.org/details/DoomsharewareEpisode

Wolfenstein 3D

The story: You're William J.B.J. Blazkowicz, the Allies' bad boy of espionage and a terminal action seeker. Your mission was to infiltrate the Nazi fortress Castle Hollehammer and find the plans for Operation Eisenfaust, the Nazi's blueprint for building the perfect army. Rumors are that deep within the castle the diabolical Dr. Schabbs has perfected a technique for building a fierce army from the bodies of the dead. It's so far removed from reality that it would seem silly if it wasn't so sick. But what if it were true?

As an escaped prisoner in a Nazi war prison, you will move smoothly through a 3D world full of amazing detail and animation Unlike other 3D games, you'll run through a sensational and realistic 3-D environment, with intelligent moving guards and opponents.

https://archive.org/details/Wolfenstein3d

Role Playing

Castle of the Winds

Castle of the Winds is a two part graphical adventure game, loosely based on fantasy role playing games, and drawing much inspiration

from Norse mythology. Part one concerns the character's efforts to avenge the deaths of his or her godparents, who were foully murdered by unknown agents. Along the way, you will do battle with evil monsters, brave deadly traps, and collect the money and magical treasures guarded by dangerous foes. As the story unfolds, the character will also learn of his or her mysterious past, and the legacy left by the character's long dead father.

https://archive.org/details/CastleoftheWinds_1020

Excelsior Phase One: Lysandia

Excelsior Phase One: Lysandia is the first in a series of role-playing adventures in which the player takes on the role of a Fixer, a minor demi-deity under the employ of the Grand Council of World Watchers - the group of gods who created and oversee the multiverse. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of the many worlds of the multiverse, all of history has been predetermined by the Watchers. Occasionally, however, something goes awry and history veers off its planned course. It is the job of the Fixer to travel to the worlds in question and correct the historical deviations.

https://archive.org/details/ExcelsiorPhaseOneLysandia