This day and age, indie games are as prominent as AAA companies pushing out games made from multi-million dollar budgets. Working independently has grown to be more and more of a popular option since the late 2000s. However, the idea of doing so isn’t a new concept. Indie games have actually co-existed with AAAs for a lot longer than gamers may suspect. In this case, many of them found themselves in bargain bin compilations whose titles consist of outrageous claims.
“40 Best Windows 95 Games“? Wow! Forty of the best Windows 95 games are compiled into this one disk? Nah, it’s just a bunch of shovelware. Hey, look on the bright side. At least you got a free trial of America Online! That’s cool, right?
To be fair, it wasn’t like the developers were even aware publishers would be so ballsy. It isn’t their fault customers’ expectations would deflate when they realize the games featured are far from what could be considered “the best”. But if they aren’t the best, then what are they? Small shareware titles from households not unlike your own. After all, there was no Gamejolt, Yoyogames, or any other similar websites for digital freeware distribution. Most, if not all of these games, have a message that requests a payment for a full version. Games would have their own sets of prices, and the developers would leave their contact information for potential customers to make their transactions.
The grand majority featured on this disk are as amateur-ish as working independently could get. If you have ever worked with a program like Game Maker, Multimedia Fusion, or Games Factory, you are very likely to have produced some crappy results at some point. The titles featured in 40 Best Windows 95 Games are essentially the mid-90s equivalent to those early experiments people would have with game creation programs.
Their sounds are typically stock (when there even are any), their graphics seem like MS Paint was used to make them, and their gameplay always utilizes basic concepts that don’t get built upon in execution. There are Hangman clones, Simon, slots, word games, and simple arcade-like titles coated in unappealing presentations. Yet these developers were proud enough to see if they could make money off of their undeveloped craftsmanship.
Then again, it’s easier than ever to create games these days. Maybe the creation programs back then were a lot more difficult to fully understand. I could have spent this article bashing the lack of quality on the disc, but ever since I even obtained it I’ve grown to see it less as a game compilation and more as a period piece. I can’t help but wonder what went through people’s minds as they spent their time creating what would eventually be on this disc. Where are these people now? Are they still working in the industry?
Amusingly, certain games stick out like a sore thumb by being different from the rest of the crowd. This could be because there is a visible amount of expertise put into it, or it could even be a shareware demo of a AAA game. NanoCore (pictured above) is a fair example of a competent game. As for AAA’s, playable demos for You Don’t Know Jack and Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure happen to be present as part of 40 Best Windows 95 Games. What they are doing here is anybody’s guess.
Anyway, that’s all I thought I would share about 40 Best Windows 95 Games. I figured it would be interesting to look at games from the indie developers of yesteryear. Even if many of the games suck, you never know what you could find when digging through these old compilation discs.