“Tiny versions of classic games for your sneaky worktime pleasure.” That was the tagline for tinywindowsgames.com, a site that two friends and I set up in the early 2000s. Destroying the productivity of the average office worker and kickstarting a global recession wasn’t really our goal, however. We built games that took up the least amount of screen real-estate as possible – including a version of Space Invaders that ran as an icon in the system tray – for a laugh more than anything, and it presented some fun and unique programming and design challenges.
My biggest contribution would have been “Tiny Missile Command” – a remake of Atari’s cold-war classic, shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. Here’s an actual-size screenshot:
Written in C++, it used Windows GDI calls to draw each frame. No fancy-schmancy DirectX or OpenGL here, but it worked reasonably well and I was kinda proud of it. Sadly, it was never quite finished, though I got awfully close. Two little setbacks killed my motivation. Firstly, a hard drive crash robbed me of a chunk of work. Not a whole lot; I had a reasonable backup, but it was enough to grate on my nerves. More damaging, however, was the cease-and-desist letter from a joyless copyright lawyer at a certain major games company who took exception to the fact that some of our offerings were actually arcade machine emulators (sans-ROM, I hasten to add) that had been modified to run in a tiny scaled-down window. Rather than pull the offending emulators and keep going, enthusiasm for the Tiny Windows Games project fizzled out, and we ended up just taking the whole site down. The domain registration has long since elapsed, but you can see a snapshot of what the site looked like mid-2003 at The Wayback Machine. Of course, none of the download links work.
Interestingly, you can still buy our t-shirt (designed by yours truly!) at CafePress.
My dad bought one.
I don’t think anyone else did.
For $19.99, that’s no great surprise.
ANYWAY, after rooting around in an old archive, I did manage to the find the last viable build of Tiny Missile Command. It does have a few bugs – occasionally you’ll complete a level and it won’t move on, and I had intended to add planes and bombs before releasing it, but it was pretty close to being done. You can download it below, though as usual you do so in the full knowledge that it might cause your monitor to explode sending hot shards of glass through your eyes. Or it might just crash a lot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Press “s” to start a game. Right click to pause and free up the mouse, whereupon you can drag the window around if you like.
(Missile Command is a registered trademark of Atari Games. Used without permission, but with love.)