Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
More like have you survived SkiFree? More like: have you felt the cold rush of wind and terror that is SkiFree? Have you sensed the unstoppable, inescapable presence of SkiFree as it catches up behind you, bringing with it all the excesses and nightmares of the 1990s with it? Oh god, you have. I can see it in your eyes. You have, haven’t you?
On the face of it this is a skiing game, made popular by its inclusion on Windows computers after its release in a 1991 entertainment pack. You go down the mountain slopes pulling rudimentary stunts, trying to avoid trees and people. Strike one of these and you are slowed down. You do not want to be slowed down. Because there is something coming for you, and it moves faster than you ever could.
The unstoppable and hungry snow monster of SkiFree exists now within its own legend, spawning terrifying found footage tributes, revelatory XKCD comics and even scores of fan fiction. The game’s developer, Chris Pirih, remarks on his website that the greatest fan mail he ever received was this 1996 missive:
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 11:28:22 -0400
Subject: ski free!
If this is the correct person, please tell me why the stupid fucking monster
comes out from nowhere and eats my main guy before he gets to the bottom of
the hill. Nothing personal, but this is Sunday morning & I really did not
like the idea of getting eaten by the monster this early. What I am really
trying to say is fix the program or stop making games for the likes of me,
who can’t win. Actually, you ruined my day. Have a nice one,
For those of you who do not know the terror, who have enjoyed a life free of fear and abominations, know that you are blessed.
But also know that you can download it here.