If you're having trouble with the game, see Wolf3D Troubleshooting.

What is Wolfenstein 3D?

Wolfenstein 3D is a first person shooter game developed by id Software, the full version of which released on the 14th of June 1992. It is often considered the “grandfather of first person shooters”, being one of the first games to really turn heads and show off the power of PC gaming.

Despite being over 27 years old, Wolfenstein 3D still requires a purchase to obtain the full version. However there is a free Shareware version available to play, and many digital platforms continue to sell the game.

Shareware was used for a period of time to try to introduce games to new people. Instead of requiring an upfront fee, Wolfenstein 3D originally had a free version which included just the first episode of the game. Players were encouraged to share this version with anyone who was interested, to extend it's audience.

If players enjoyed the game they were given the details to order the full version for a price, which came with the full sixty episodes of the game.

Wolfenstein 3D can be easily purchased from a number of online stores, including 3DRealms and GOG.com

Wolfenstein 3D originally saw a release on just PC, but over the years has been ported both officially and unofficially to all sorts of systems.

Official Platforms

  • DOS
  • Classic MAC OS
  • Linux
  • Super Nintendo
  • Atari Jaguar
  • 3DO
  • Apple IIGS
  • iOS
  • Xbox
  • Xbox 360
  • Gameboy Advance
  • Playstation 3

Unofficial Platforms

There are many different versions of the DOS version of Wolfenstein 3D out in the world. To find out what version you own, visit svenhoefer's website chronicling most versions.


The game was originally designed with just three episodes, ending with killing Hitler. But when Scott Miller of Apogee Software heard how quickly it took the id Software team to create levels (At a rate of one a day), he proposed they made another three episodes. These episodes became The Nocturnal Missions, telling an additional prequel story.

On release, three versions were released:

  • The shareware version, containing 1 episode
  • The first trilogy, containing 3 episodes
  • The Nocturnal Missions, containing 6 episodes

The files for the 3 episode version ended with the extension “WL3” to differentiate it from other versions.

After Apogee Software stopped publishing the game in late 1993, the three episode version was dropped.

While often attributed to Wolfenstein 3D, there had been other first person shooters in the decades preceding it's release. id Software themselves had released HoverTank 3D and Catacombs 3-D in the years leading up.

However, Wolfenstein 3D was the first to prove massively popular, selling over 100,000 copies in it's intitial few years (A massive number at the time, given PC Gaming at the time was a much smaller niche), and created the foundations that persist to this day for what is considered a “First Person Shooter”.

While no official sequel ever came out, a prequel game in the form of Spear of Destiny was released four months after Wolf3D.

A four-episode sequel was planned to be developed by Apogee, called Wolfenstein 3D Part II: Rise of the Triad. This eventually transformed into it's own game unattached to the Wolfenstein 3D property, called Rise of the Triad: Dark War.

You can view known information and design documents from the original plans here, thanks to 3DRealms.

In 2001 a reboot of the game series, titled Return To Castle Wolfenstein was released on the Quake III engine by Grey Matter Interactive.

In the few years following Wolfenstein 3D's release (And Doom's!), a handful of games came out that built off the engine's foundations.

  • Super 3D Noah's Ark
  • Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold
  • Blake Stone: Planet Strike
  • Corridor 7
  • Operation Body Count
  • Rise of the Triad: Dark War

There are! Wolfenstein 3D has a seasoned modding scene that started within days the game's release, and it was this modding scene that prompted id Software to endeavour to make Doom easier to edit.

To find out where to find mods or other questions, visit What is a mod?

Yes! There are people constantly trying to beat Wolfenstein 3D as fast as they can. There are leaderboards at Speedrun.com, with links to many videos of amazing gameplay.

  • wolf3d.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/04/21 20:09
  • by zombie