SKIFREE / Chris Pirih / PC
Back in 1990, a landmark game release happened for the then-nascent Windows operating system; the Microsoft Entertainment Pack. You may scratch your head or laugh at that ... until you learn that this was the first release of Minesweeper and Freecell, which went on to likely be played by over a billion people worldwide, since we know that at least 1.5 billion have used Windows at some point .

A few more installments of the Entertainment Pack were released over the years. The third installment had an unremarkable lineup with the exception of SkiFree, which would never hit the lofty household name heights of Minesweeper but would still become a popular cult favorite.

The game's simple mouse-based control made it very friendly to slacking off at work or taking a quick brain break at home. You simply guide your little skiier down the mountain, and en route you can choose a few different challenges for yourself -- slalom, tree slalom or freestyle mode where you click the left mouse button to jump over obstacles. In all cases, it's basically a "score attack" game that you play over and over to one-up your previous performances.

One element that made the game particularly memorable is the surprise appearance of a snow monster that suddenly starts chasing you when you get far enough down the mountain, and devours your poor skiier if he gets caught! The course is also peppered with other obstacles like wild snowboarders that will come crashing through periodically, dogs who might take a temporary shine to you, and even trees that are apparently Ents and will randomly move on you.

Some people will overblow this and talk it up too much as they do with favorite nostalgic knicknacks, but it generally is a very good little game of the "time waster" simple arcadey variety and isn't bad to have on hand in Windows. Creator Chris Pirih released the game as freeware back in 2005 and maintains a page dedicated to it, which is linked below.
Links :
Download (creator's website)
Videos :