Codex Gamicus

SkiFree is a computer game created by Chris Pirih, who was working as a programmer at Microsoft at the time. The object of the game is simple: to ski down an endless slope and avoid the obstacles.


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 Microsoft The Best Of 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.[1][2]

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.

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.

32-bit version[]

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.

The problem has since been addressed as Pirih rediscovered the game's source code in April 2005, and created a more compatible 32-bit version of the game.


At the beginning of the game, the user has four choices:

  • Enter the Free-style course (with the objective of collecting "style points" by doing flips, going over moguls, etc.).
  • Enter the Slalom course (with the objective of completing an opened slalom course in the shortest time possible).
  • Enter the Tree Slalom course (similar to the Slalom course, but longer, with narrower-spaced flags, and with trees interspersed).
  • Enter none of the courses, and just "ski free".

Abominable Snow Monster[]

Once the player has completed his or her run, the game does not abruptly end. Rather, the player continues skiing until he or she encounters an "abominable snow monster[3]" who chases and attempts to eat the skier. From that point on, the player can ski until the monster catches them.

The monster appears at exactly the 1985 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. It is possible to escape the Snow Monster by travelling another 2000 m from the point which the monster gives chase, creating a loop and starting over from the beginning. One way to evade the monster is to go directly left or right in fast mode. He is right behind you, but cannot catch you unless you hit an obstacle. Pressing "F" can make you move faster than the monster.

Other snow monsters appear when the player travels 125m upwards from the beginning or 500m to the left or right.


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