Shareware Heroes takes readers on a journey through a critical
yet long overlooked chapter in video game history: the rise and
eventual fall of the shareware model.
As commercial game distribution professionalised in the 1980s,
independent creators with scant resources or contacts were
squeezed out of the market. But not entirely. New technologies and
distribution concepts were creating a hidden games publishing
market — one that operated by different rules and that, at least
for the first several years, had no powerful giants.
It was a land of opportunity and promise, and a glimpse of the
digital-first future. This is the story of the games and
developers who relied on nascent networking technologies combined
with word-of-mouth marketing in an era before social media.