How to: sideload classic Windows Phone 8 games onto a modern Lumia

Published by Steve Litchfield at 15:33 UTC, February 23rd 2020

The really interesting thing about Windows 10 smartphone is that it"s fully backwards compatible with old Windows Phone 8 software. Even for games. Which you really wouldn"t think after browsing the Microsoft Store, since many of the classic titles aren"t there anymore. But that"s no reason lớn be disheartened, especially if you"re prone khổng lồ a little installing & unzipping, since there are archives of classic WP8 games online và it"s the work of moments (once you"ve got everything in place) lớn "sideload" these titles lớn your Lumia 950 or similar in the current day.

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Games lượt thích Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, and Angry Birds were classics (the link here go to lớn our original reviews/mentions back in the day) and have been much missed in the Windows 10 di động Store. It"s not clear when they disappeared, but in theory if you had a Lumia 930 or similar then there"s every chance you might still have some of these games on your phone, working well, và which have persisted through numerous OS updates.

Back in the real world, most of us have done at least one factory reset or device replacement since 2014/2015 & we were somewhat taken aback by our favourite games not being restored/re-installed as part of getting the phone or new device up and running.

Now, I do understand how the commercial world works và the publishers of these games didn"t want to expend support resources on a dwindling software platform, so their titles were eventually withdrawn, but there"s ZERO technical reason why the games themselves shouldn"t work under the latest Windows 10 Mobile. Hence this article.

Over the years there have been various attempts khổng lồ archive Windows Phone games (each of which typically exists as a single ".xap" archive), some more successful than others, but thanks to lớn a reader here I was pointed khổng lồ this archive, which is the one I"ll use below. (Small print time: as you"d expect, AAWP takes no responsibility for the status or contents of files found at such external URLs, it"s the reader"s/downloader"s risk!)

The games all vì chưng seem to lớn be full and not trial versions, which raises an extra legal/moral question. But given that the developers themselves were the ones who abandoned the platform và stopped taking our money four years ago, it doesn"t seem too problematic lớn worry about not paying them money in 2020. If any of the game developers are listening/reading this then just put your title back in the Store officially and we"ll plug it to lớn high heaven và start buying again!

In addition, importantly, cảnh báo that many of us have already bought these games, i.e. Developers have already had our money, years ago, và it"s us, the users, who have been inconvenienced by not being able lớn play the games we paid for, after a device change or reset. As a huge Angry Birds tín đồ who paid with my own money for all the titles in the range between 2013 & 2015, it"s been annoying, to lớn say the least, not lớn be able to lớn play the games I paid for on the platform I paid for them on, etc.


The first & classic Angry Birds, here played in 2020 on the Lumia 950 XL. Ah, the memories! Mind you, I"ve had to start from the very first màn chơi again!!

In any case, here on AAWP I wanted to lớn show how to vì chưng the side-loading. You"ll need:

a Windows 7, 8 or 10 PC of some kindabout an hourenough tech confidence to know what to do with .zip & ".7z" archives, how to navigate folders, and so on

There"s another caveat too - in order to lớn play the games then you need khổng lồ leave your phone in "developer" mode. Not a huge issue, I suspect, since if you"re clued up enough lớn be tackling this then you"ll also know to lớn avoid any malicious apps you might encounter. But worth noting. If you take your phone out of "developer" mode then you"ll get an error message when launching such side-loaded titles.

If you"re happy lớn proceed then read on....

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1. Install the official MicrosoftWindows Phone SDK 8.0 Lite:Download it Hereor here (smaller download)

2. Install the official MicrosoftWindows Phone SDK 8.1 Lite:Download it Here.


3. Tải về the WPV XAP Deployer Tool:from here. Yes, it"s third buổi tiệc nhỏ software & all bets are off. But then Windows 10 smartphone itself is now officially unsupported, so we"re definitely in "enthusiast, it"s worth a go" territory. I"ve tried the tool & it does what it claims to, with no ill effects or anti-virus warnings.

4. Tải về any or all of the XAP archived games from this mạng internet archive (all links here, by the way, work as of February 2020, when writing this piece.)

5. On your Windows 10 mobile phone, go into Settings/Update và Security/For developers" & set the toggle to "Developer mode". Don"t worry about any warnings - you know what you"re doing!

6. Plug your phone into the PC và wait while all the recognition steps settle down (30 seconds or so)

7. RunWPV XAP Deployer. Click the "Add Xap files"button and địa chỉ the games you want to install. Then click on "Deploy".

The games should appear in the phone"s Apps các mục within a few seconds và can be run or pinned as usual.

All very interesting - most "abandoned" platforms over up with a vestigial user base of enthusiasts who find ways khổng lồ work around any gaps in the platform - và Windows 10 thiết bị di động seems to lớn be no different! Comments welcome.

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PS. Thanks to lớn AAWP reader Lasitha Samarasinghe for his help with this feature.

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Platforms: Windows Phone 7.5, General, Windows Phone 8 Categories: How To, Software