Shareware Game Developer Websites

Update: A lot of people replied on social media of other sites they liked so I have added a list of them at the end.

This morning I went looking for a shareware game I remembered playing 20 years ago and discovered that not only was the game now free, the same website I downloaded the game from two decades ago was still up. This led to me thinking about other old shareware game developer sites I knew of, and discovering some others that were new to me as well.

Spheres of Chaos

screenshot of the game showing a triangle shaped ship in the middle and a blend of mostly reddish colors all over the screen

This was the game that kicked off my whole dig into old shareware developer sites this morning. Spheres of Chaos is an arcade game like Asteroids, where you fly around shooting at various objects and they break into smaller bits, while dodging other space ships trying to shoot at you. The game was originally released in 1992 for the Acorn Archimedes and then re-released in 1998 for the PC, where it has received a few updates since then. The visuals remind me a lot of Llamasoft’s games, with a psychedelic aesthetic with bright colors coming from every movement and explosion. I originally discovered this game almost 20 years ago, on the Idle Thumbs website before it launched a podcast. The review does a much better job explaining why you should play it than I could. At the time, I did not have a credit card or the money to pay for the small amount the developer was charging. Fast forward to this morning when I suddenly remembered playing this game and dug around the site to find the name of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to see the website was still up, looking the exact same as it did when I first downloaded the demo, and the game was now available for free. Best of all, the game still holds up! It was a blast flying around, blowing everything up, and the screen filling up with various colors. Highly recommended if you’re a Llamasoft fan.

Redwood Games

screenshot from Pickle Wars showing a platforming game with a person in the middle and a door and ladder next to them

This led me to discovering some shareware game developers that still have websites going, even if they aren’t actively developing new games. Redwood Games was created about 1990 by Karen Crowther and the studio is most famous for the games Math Rescue and Word Rescue, which were published by Apogee Software. Both games are still available on Steam today. The site also features downloads of other games they worked on like Talking ABC’s and the shareware version of Pickle Wars.

Gray Design Associates

a collage of screenshots from Hugo 1 showing rooms of a haunted house
Screenshot taken from the Gray Design Associates website

Gray Design Associates is the name of the developer owned by David Gray, most famously known for The Hugo Trilogy of adventure games, which started with the 1990 game Hugo’s House of Horrors. While GOG does sell the Windows version of the games running in ScummVM, David’s website sells both versions of the trilogy in the bundle if you want to own the DOS versions as well. It’s also the only place where you can legally buy Nitemare 3-D, the FPS spinoff of the Hugo games released in 1995. Since then, David has been focused on creating jigsaw puzzle games and still makes them to this day.


SophSoft is a developer that started in 1982 and is still going today! As someone that is interested in the history of Michigan game development, it’s cool seeing someone that has been making games for so long in Lansing, Michigan. Their portfolio also shows games they helped with, such as Legacy of the Ancients and The Legend of Blacksilver by another local game developer, Quest Software.

Adept Software

screenshot from jetpack showing someone with a jetpack flying around stone platforms that have gold coins

Adept Software is a software developer that is most famous for the shareware game Jetpack. The developer started in 1996 and is still working on things today. The Classic Games section of their site is a delight, resembling a 90’s website, and features their classic games for free.

Game Crafters

Game Crafters was a studio that developed one game, The Adventures of Maddog Williams in the Dungeons of Duridian in 1992. That hasn’t stopped the studio from having a website with updates as recently as 2012. The site has downloads of the game for various platforms and you can also read news posts about an attempt to make a sequel in the early 00’s.

MVP Software

MVP Software was a publisher in Grand Rapids, Michigan that started in 1985 and kept going all the way to 2014. While the site itself isn’t anything exciting to look at, I think it’s great that it’s still up and offering free downloads of all the games they’re legally allowed to offer such as Pickle Wars, the game I mentioned earlier by Redwood Games.

If you enjoyed reading about these studios and visiting their sites, I highly recommend the book Shareware Heroes. The book goes into detail about the shareware scene, including some of the developers mentioned here. If there’s an older site belonging to a game developer that you’re a fan of, or you’re a game developer with a site that’s been around for a long time, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Sites Recommended by Others!

I didn’t expect people on social media to have so many other shareware game dev sites that they like so I have made a list of them here!

3D Realms
– The legacy version of their site. (Suggested by Richard Moss)
Bluemoon Interactive – Developer of classic DOS games like Skyroads. The history section of the site has links to download full versions of their games. (Suggested by Pulsar)
Cap’n Magneto – Shareware game for the Mac. (Richard Moss)
Carr Software – Developer of shareware games, all available in a bundle. (Hard Drive Noises)
Crazy Bytes – Recommended by LunarLoony
Everett Kaser Software – Developer of Sherlock and other games. A great post by Ian Michael here about why he is a fan of the developer.
Goodsol – Developer of a Solitaire application that is updated every year (Richard Moss)
Hamumu Games – Developer of shareware games that has recently rereleased them on Steam. (Andy Hat)
JunkGames – Recommended by LunarLoony
KPixGames – Developer of PathPix and other shareware games (ROTOPE)
Lena Games – Developer of Solitaire shareware and other games (LunarLoony)
Louise Hope – A World Builder dev that includes games you can play in your browser. (Mike Piontek)
Ray Dunakin – World Builder dev, including a modern Mac remake of one game (Mike Piontek)
Sean O’Connor
– Suggested by Greg. “Sean O’Connor made a rather addicting Empire clone called “Mother of All Battles” for Windows 3.0 that is still getting some updates and being sold today!”
Semicolon – Modern ports of his old software, including Mac games (Richard Moss)
Spiderweb Software – Actively making rpgs since the 90’s (Andy Hat)
Stick Software – Developer of various applications and games for the Mac (Richard Moss)
Storm Impact – Developer of MacSki and other Mac games. The downloads come in an emulator friendly format. (Mike Piontek)
Wendell Hicken – Creator of Scorched Earth (kilowatt)
Winograd – Developer of Mac and Windows games (Richard Moss)
Zugg Software – Creator of MUD clients (Richard Moss)

One thought on “Shareware Game Developer Websites

  1. Thanks for this! I had no idea that some of these old timers still had functioning websites and were still being sold!

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