Brief History

If you are unfamiliar with Novell's nsnipes, read this. Yes, nsnipes is quite likely the first networked, multiplayer, real-time action game ever written. Years before DOOM™ would grace our hard drives with dark and gorey goodness, we enjoyed playing nsnipes on our highschool's token ring network of IBM 80286's running Novell Netware. And it was glorius fun.

Although less relevant today, the game is still enjoyable for its nostalgia. The original game is difficult to get working on a modern LAN and does not work at all over the Internet as it was never designed with lag compensation in mind. The original does not support sound, the version we played all those years ago was monochrome (the later ncsnipes is multicolor) and it certainly did not have MP3 support, CD audio, load/save, demo recording, user scripting capabilities or even a pre-gameplay user interface (!).

Enter WinSnipes. Download it and enjoy it by yourself, with friends over your LAN, or with players from around the world over the Internet. The game is totally free and released as an homage to the original classic, enhanced with the basic features we've all come to expect from twenty years of game evolution since its heyday. Any feedback is more than welcome!

How To Play


Destroy all the hives and the little snipes. If you run out of lives or time first, you lose.


You only have two verbs in the simulation. You can move, and you can fire. The movement keys are W/A/S/D (arranged like your arrow keys), with Q/E/Z/C handling the movement angles. Your number pad is for firing (you must leave NumLock turned on). If you imagine your avatar is positioned at the number pad 5 key, then you can shoot all around yourself using the keys surrounding it. You may hold down movement or fire keys, or press your fire keys as quickly as you can. Note these are not the keys from the original - a future release of WinSnipes will support re-mapping your keys. You can also press the SPACEBAR at any time to view the scoreboard, which shows the current standings in both single player and multiplayer.


Unlike the original, in WinSnipes when you shoot enemies, sometimes they drop power-ups. These either grant you extra lives (hearts) or extra time (clubs). They can be the difference between winning and losing in both single player and co-operative multiplayer! Please see the upcoming features for details about more game types and other play enhancements coming in the future.


The current version of WinSnipes is 1.02 (BETA) for all Microsoft Windows platforms. You can download it here (4MB). This beta version was released November 17, 2008. Future releases will include support for other platforms as well as additional features outlined below. WinSnipes also runs under Wine on Linux, both single player and multiplayer.


To install WinSnipes, just create a new folder and unzip the download there. Then you can either create a new desktop shortcut to winsnipes.exe for convenience or simply run the game by double-clicking on winsnipes.exe directly.

Uninstallation is also a breeze - just delete the folder and you're done. WinSnipes does not modify your registry or place any files outside its working folder. All configuration settings are stored in winsnipes.ini in your installation folder.

Copyright Issues

I have contacted Novell's legal department in an effort to track down the current copyright holder(s) of the original nsnipes.exe. The Snipes entry on Wikipedia lists the game as abandonware. Once I have tracked down the current copyright holder(s), I will attempt to get written permission to link to sites where you can download the original version. In the meantime, a quick Google search should turn up some hits. I am also seeking written permission regarding the exercise of the copyright pertaining to derivative works (WinSnipes).

Update: Well, the Snipes wikipedia entry appears to be quite accurate listing the game as abandonware. No one I have contacted, directly or indirectly, including Novell, seems interested in laying a current ownership claim to the original game and it's design. If any readers know one of the three original authors (Drew Major, Dale Neibaur, Kyle Powell), I would like to get in touch with them - it's a shame to let this piece of the game industry's history continue to go unrecognized!

Current Features

Features currently implemented in WinSnipes V1.02 BETA that were not present in the original nsnipes include:

Upcoming Features

Future releases of WinSnipes will include:

Known Issues

As of WinSnipes V1.02 BETA, the following are known issues that will be addressed in future releases:

If you find anything else, please email me.