It’s an interesting question. I’ve been thinking about it again since I uploaded a lot of them in the past few days. What makes it so interesting is that there aren’t that many. The time may come when I can say:
This is it. The collection is complete. Here, you can download every single 16-bit Windows game that is legal to distribute.
An easier question is, how many Windows games were there before Windows 3.0 came out? So far, I have found seven from the Windows 1.0 era and about twenty from the Windows 2.x era. For a few, like WinTris or Oxo, the actual 2.x version is missing in action and I know about its existence only from the readme. I’m sure I’ll find some more over time. There might be fifty, but certainly not more than a hundred.
The 3.x era, of course, has quite a different dimension. So far, I’ve uploaded nearly 400 games to Download Central. It would be an exaggeration that I already see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have about 300 more, mostly unsorted, in a folder on my hard drive. I may have about an equal number in my archive, already sorted by type or genre. That alone would make about a thousand.
Sure there are more than that. But I wonder how many more. I notice that when I download a bunch, or look at some shareware CD, I find lots and lots of acquaintances. I’m fairly sure there are 1,500, most likely 2,000. But I doubt that there are much more than 3,000, if so many at all. For comparison: GB64 lists 21,000 Commodore 64 games, World of Spectrum about 12,000 Sinclair ZX Spectrum games, counting the text adventures but not the educationals.
If my calculations (or guesses) are correct, how come there are so few 16-bit Windows games? For one thing, their era was rather short. the great time of 16-bit Windows games was between 1990 and 1995. In 1996, their numbers already dwindled, and from 1997 on there may be no more than a hundred, not counting new versions of older games. But most important, the default platform for PC games in that era was still DOS. Windows games were a variant, a niche, kinda like the monochrome games on Atari ST. Taking that into account, the number is actually quite high!