Remember shareware? In case you don’t, Eurogamer has an article on that very subject. Although I take issue with their point of view.
Reading the piece, you’d get the impression that PC gaming was a ghetto, and it was only the efforts of id Software, Apogee, and Epic Megagames that ushered in a golden era for 16-bit+ systems.
Somehow, they managed to overlook SSI’s AD&D games (and strategy games, for that matter); Sierra’s line of adventure games (though mentioned in passing in a snarky way); Origins Ultimas; and various products from Microprose, to name a few that come immediately to mind.
Of course, none of those was shareware. So what? There was a pretty healthy PC gaming scene already. The one game they mention that really mattered was Doom, and we’ve been inundated with shooters ever since.
Certainly, shareware had its place. But, a title or two aside, it really wasn’t as big as Eurogamer thinks it was. Unless all they really care about are action/platformer/arcade stuff, which would be a big oversight on their part.