SkiFree is a positively ancient (as in 1991 ancient) game for Windows. It has no sound, the graphics are no better than, say, an 8-bit gaming console, but it’s addicting as hell and is one of the most-known Microsoft games in history.
The most memorable part of the game is the Yeti (or Abominable Snow Monster), seen in the animated GIF to the right. When the Yeti comes, it’s difficult to outrun him. Sometimes you may even encounter two of them at once. If the Yeti catches you, OM NOM NOM NOM.. he eats you up and the game is over.
One of the few ways to outrun the Yeti is to use an undocumented feature of the game, “Fast Mode”, done by pressing F. Fast Mode will stay on until you press F again.
The game is available for download here. I tried it on XP and sure enough it works great. Haven’t tried it on Windows 7 yet although I’m sure it would work fine there as well.
How come software companies don’t make cool fun stuff like this anymore?
“Fun” seems to be something that is a foreign word to any large software company these days. Anything that was fun back then has been traded for cold corporate productivity now. Sure, what we have runs far better these days, but any programmer putting any personality into his or her code is strictly forbidden.
Microsoft had SkiFree as seen above with a few other fun odds and ends along the way (with the biggest, literally, being an auto racing game in Excel 2000).
Apple also used to have personality, too. Who could forget the DogCow?
Commodore back in the Amiga days input this strange-yet-cool crash message, Guru Meditation.
I’m pretty sure Linux is the only OS left that has any programmer personality to it. See No Super Cow Powers for an example of that.