Internet goers now have the opportunity to experience the wonders of Windows 3.1 once again – or for the first time. The Internet Archive has uploaded a collection of practically ancient Windows programmes, which are now helpfully emulated through a web browser. Naturally, there are the classics like SkiFree, Taipei, and.. the Windows 95 demo?
The collection is the work of historian Jason Scott, who has also uploaded a collection of MS-DOS malware into a separate Malware Museum. The more benign Windows 3.1 collection is an attempt to collect and preserve the programmes that make up part of our technological history, and is currently comprised of over 1,500 entries. These are helpfully split into categories like Games, Shareware (there’s something we haven’t heard in a while), and productivity.
“People have very different relationships with software that has simply fallen into the range of lore. A kid born in 1995 or 2000, if you asked him or her about, say, the old Macintosh, they might have never interacted with a System 6 or System 7 machine. That’s eye-opening to see the predecessor work, as opposed to a screenshot. Bringing interaction to [younger users] is a real experience,” said Scott in an interview with Ars Technica.
Aside from being a valuable piece of our history, these games also allow those of us who grew up with Windows 3.1 to relive the nostalgia of the period. And perhaps gain a little more appreciation for how far things have come since then.