Currently hosting 8 utilities for playing Win16 games!
Utilities for playing Win16 games
Win16 software can be run on any x86 computer, as well as many non-x86 platforms. How this is accomplished depends on what operating system your computer is running.
Win16 runs on top of DOS, so any computer running DOS (MS-DOS/PC-DOS/DR-DOS/FreeDOS) should be able to install a copy of Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.11. If you're running a Win16 operating system, RGB hosts a number of drivers for video and sounds cards. Some Win16 games used a special library for speeding up video called WinG, which can be found in the miscellaneous section. If you want to run a real copy of Windows, but don't already own one, there is a free Windows-compatible operating system called ReactOS, which can be found in the operating systems section.
OS/2 can natively run Win16 programs. Windows 95/98/Me/XP, and 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 use a system called "Windows on Windows" to translate 16-bit Windows API calls to Windows 32-bit API calls, and should be compatible with most Win16 programs.
Unix-like operating systems (Linux, Mac OS X) can run many Win16 programs using a native implementation of the Windows API called Wine.
BeOS/Haiku and 64-bit versions of Windows don't support Win16 software at all. If you are using a 64-bit Windows operating system, or any non-Windows/Unix operating system, the only way to run Win16 games is to install a real copy of Windows 1.0 through 3.11 in an emulation or virtualization program. Such programs allow you to run DOS and other operating systems as a "guest" operating system in a window on your "host" operating system. Due to its emulation of DOS and ability to emulate a wide range of video and sound cards, it is highly recommended that you use DOSBox to install a Win16 operating system. DOSBox has been ported to almost every modern operating system, and RGB Classic Games has an Advanced DOSBox tutorial that explains how to install Windows 1.0 through 3.11 in DOSBox.
eComStation is the new name of OS/2, which has continued to be developed by Serenity Systems since IBM discontinued development of OS/2. eCS includes IBM-supplied updates that had previously only been offered to customers with maintenance contracts, such as support for USB, and has added a number of features to improve compatibility and performance on modern computers, such as switching the default filesystem to JFS. In addition to being fully compatible with existing OS/2 software, Serenity Systems has been tirelessly converting open source programs to run on eCS, including Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org. eCS should also still be compatible with all DOS and Win16 software. A LiveCD of eComstation 2.2 beta is available, which allows the OS to be tested without the overhead of an emulator, and without installing to a hard drive.
Bochs emulates a PC with a 32 or 64-bit x86 processor. Like virtualization suites, it allows you to run a real copy of DOS, Windows, Linux, and other PC operating systems. The significant difference is that a virtualization suite simply allows a guest operating system to run on your PC, whereas Bochs emulates a PC, so you can run PC operating systems on non-PC computers. Unlike DOSBox, you will need a copy of DOS to play DOS games, but Bochs was designed to run other operating systems as well, which can be anywhere from difficult to impossible with DOSBox. Written in C++, Bochs can compile on many platforms. Please see the Bochs homepage for other versions.
DOSBox emulates a complete IBM-compatible PC, including almost every significant graphics standard (CGA, EGA, VGA, etc.) and sound card (Sound Blaster, AdLib, Gravis UltraSound, etc.). DOSBox also allows the emulation speed to be decreased to allow very old software to run at a playable speed. What makes DOSBox unique is that it also emulates DOS itself, allowing DOS software to run without installing an actual copy of DOS! DOSBox emulates DOS so well that it is even possible to install Windows 3.1, as well as Windows 95 up to OSR1. It is also possible to install and boot an actual copy of DOS in order to use utilities not included with DOSBox, or just to recreate the authentic DOS experience. In additions to the versions listed below, there are also ports to a number of Linux distributions, so I recommend visiting DOSBox's home page if the version for your operating system isn't listed below.
PCem is a PC emulator that lets you configure pretty much everything about the emulation. Besides the usual ability to choose a graphics card and sound card, you can pick a specific CPU and clock speed to emulate (i.e. 486 SX 33). The emulation is very accurate, but one of the reasons why it's so accurate is that PCem requires the actual ROMs of the hardware that it emulates (fortunately, most of the software that you need is available on the PCem website). This means that you can actually enter the CMOS Setup! PCem pretty much recreates the entire PC experience, and even emulates the PCjr.
The Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion Virtual Machine is a collection of interpreters that run the data files of many classic graphic adventure games on a number of platforms. There are ports to almost every operating system, console, and handheld computer imaginable, so visit their homepage if the version you want isn't listed here.
Virtual PC allows almost any PC operating system to be run in Windows with virtually no loss of performance. You can run a real copy of DOS, OS/2, or Windows as a "Guest" operating system within your normal version of Windows (the "Host" operating system). Virtual PC is a virtualization environment, not an operating system emulator, so you will have to install your own copy of whatever OS you want to run as a Guest.
Virtual PC 2004 requires at least Windows 2000, and supports DOS, OS/2, and Windows 3.x (unofficially)/NT/9x/2000/XP/Server 2003 as Guests.
Virtual PC 2007 requires at least Windows XP, and adds support for 32-bit Windows Vista/Server 2008 Guests. Official support for DOS and Windows NT/95/98 First Edition/Me Guests was dropped, though they still work just fine.
The newest version, released on 19 September 2009, is called Windows Virtual PC. It requires Windows 7 and only supports Windows XP/Vista/7 Guests, so it is not useful for running any of the games on this site.
Microsoft generously released Virtual PC 2004 as freeware on 12 July 2006. Virtual PC 2007 was originally released under a freeware license.
VirtualBox is an extremely easy to use virtualization package that allows almost any PC operating system to be run in a window on PCs running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, OS/2, and Solaris, with virtually no loss of performance (as long as you have enough RAM to spare for the guest operating system). You can run a real copy of DOS (with or without Win16) or Win9x, to play games from this site and be able to switch back and forth between the host and guest operating system without rebooting. VirtualBox is a virtualization environment, not an operating system emulator, so you will have to install your own copy of DOS or Windows. VirtualBox emulates a SoundBlaster 16, which is great for DOS and Win16, and it supports 2D and 3D acceleration and has experimental DirectX support, which is great for Win9x and newer operating systems. Shared folders can be created to transfer files to and from the guest operating system. There are ports for Solaris/OpenSolaris and a number of Linux distributions, so I recommend visiting the home page if the version for your operating system isn't listed below.
Added by DOSGuy
VirtualBox v5.1.28 for Intel Macs (94,836,472 bytes)
14 September 2017
Mac OS X
VirtualBox v5.1.28 for Windows (123,929,944 bytes)
14 September 2017
This project is still actively being developed.
WinG is an API for Windows 3.x that greatly increases graphics performance on compatible Win16 programs. It filled a need left by the original Windows Graphical Device Interface (GDI), which was only designed with static images in mind, and is the predecessor of DirectX. WinG is needed to run Microsoft Return of Arcade under Windows 3.1x. The WinG DLLs were often included with games that required them, and could also be installed with the WinG Software Developer's Kit. The SDK's installer can be instructed to install the WinG Runtime Libraries without the Development Kit.