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SkiFree opening screen
SkiFree opening screen
Pirih had created SkiFree in C on his home computer for his own education and entertainment. The game eventually attracted the attention of a program manager for Microsoft Entertainment Pack when he noticed Pirih playing it at work, leading to the inclusion of the game in the next Entertainment Pack release with Pirih's consent.
The game was featured in the Best of Windows Entertainment Pack and was available as a ported version for the original Macintosh. SkiFree was also one of seven games included in The Best of Entertainment Pack released for Game Boy Color in 2001.
In 1993, Pirih started work on a second version of the game, but it was abandoned for other projects as the original source code was lost. It was finally released in 2008.
Because the initial SkiFree release was a 16-bit Windows program, compatibility issues arose when running the game in newer versions of Windows. Pirih noted that users of Windows XP can configure the operating system to run 16-bit Windows programs, resolving the problem for some. Other solutions involve running Windows 3.1 in DOSBox.
On April 4, 2005, Pirih announced the rediscovery of the game's source code and the creation of a 32-bit version of SkiFree. The updated version is available on his official SkiFree website.
At the beginning of the game, the user has four choices:
On all courses, obstacles such as trees and rocks appear, as do non-player characters such as other skiers and fast-moving snowboarders. Collision with any obstruction causes the player to stop and may lose valuable time or points.
The game contained an undocumented "fast mode" feature, accessed by pressing the F key.
Once the player has completed his or her run, the game does not abruptly end. Rather, the player continues skiing until he encounters an "abominable snow monster" who chases and attempts to eat the skier. From that point on, the player can ski until the monster catches and eats them.
The monster appears after the 2000 m mark and pursues the player downhill at high speed. Further down the hill (20–30 m) another monster also gives chase, but uphill. An angled route while playing in "fast" mode avoids both of them, but afterwards the distance starts counting down from −2000 m. The world loops around on itself, and everything outside the boundary of the piste triggers the monster. However, if the player returns within the invisible border, the monster stops.
Other snow monsters appear when the player travels 125 m upwards from the beginning or 500 m to the left or right. It is possible (but difficult) to be chased all the way through the course from −125 to 1985 m, thus generating a chase by two or three monsters past the end of the course.