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Ask Slashdot: DOSBox, or DOS Box? 585

Posted by timothy
from the mind-the-gap dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Are DOS game emulators like the highly-respectable DOSBox good enough now, or is there still no substitute for the real thing? Like a lot of Slashdotters I'm getting older and simplifying, which means tossing out old junk. Which means The Closet full of DOS era crap. And I'm hesitating — should I put aside things like the ISA SoundBlaster with gameport? Am I trashing things that some fellow geek somewhere truly needs to preserve the old games? Or can I now truck all this stuff down to recycling without a twinge of guilt? (Younger folk who didn't play DOOM at 320x200 should really resist commenting this time. Let the Mods keep them off our lawn.)"
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Ask Slashdot: DOSBox, or DOS Box?

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  • Long term... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seifried (12921) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:14PM (#36173130) Homepage
    We're better off with DOSbox, emulators tend to last a lot longer than physical hardware. Plus we can just keep layering emulators (DOSBox in Linux in VMware on top of whatever comes next).
    • Re:Long term... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:30PM (#36173284)

      Unless your game is using a non-standard keyboard. Example: Try playing Sid Meier's Red Storm Rising on an emulator. Since he wrote it to work with a C64 keyboard, you really need a C64. Hence the need for the original hardware.

      But other than that, yes I agree emulators are easier to maintain and keep working. Unless you are playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time which uses the unique N64 controller, and is nigh-impossible to play on an emulator.

      • Plays well enough with an Xbox360 controller. (In fact, they are fantastic for most console emulation) Don't even bother trying to play N64 games with a Playstation controller, blecch.
      • by RMingin (985478)
        So you're emulating the C64 version of RSR? My One True RSR (fired up mere weeks ago in DOSbox, though sadly without keyboard overlay) is the DOS version. Thus the thread title.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        I made a device that lets you use N64 controllers, as well as many others, with a PC via USB. Works well with emulators and the whole project (software and hardware) is open source: http://denki.world3.net/retro_v2.html [world3.net]

        I should also point out that I do sell these things, but you are of course able to make your own with the downloads available on the site. I even do kits at pretty much cost price if anyone is interested.

        I also converted a BBC Master Compact keyboard to USB, but almost any old computer could

    • by mellon (7048)

      Yup. Also, it's not that hard to reverse engineer the hardware the game expects to talk to if you really want to play it. Actually, in my foggy memory of Apple ][ game hacking, I am pretty sure that hacking the game was more fun than playing it anyway.

    • However, it seems like this stuff doesn't scale. DOS-era games, N64, PS1, all seem to work well -- but as soon as we hit the PS2, it seems like emulation isn't a viable option anymore, unless something's changed.

      • by PhrstBrn (751463)

        Hardware keeps getting better and better. If you can't emulate it today, eventually the hardware will catch up in time.

      • by dark_requiem (806308) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @10:23PM (#36174126)
        PS2 emulation is coming right along. PCSX2 just released a new stable build at the beginning of the month, and something like 65% of games are supposed to be playable. Yes, it takes a bit beefier machine to run than an old N64 emulator, but it works well on any recent machine with a decent GPU. My Core2Duo E8400 with an 8800GTX has no problems, and it's hardly cutting edge these days.
  • ...I still have an SB8 sitting in the drawer, right next to me.

  • by Drogo007 (923906) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:15PM (#36173140)

    Not for DOS-era games, but the ones that came just after that (Dungeon Keeper 2, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Need For Speed 4, etc)

    I've spent a lot of hours trying to get those games running reliably in a Win7 environment with no success (compatibility mode, virtual machines, etc).

    • by diodeus (96408)

      I used to play Duke Nukem 3D multi-player over Kali (on the net) with Friends. It was a lot of fun. I've never been able to get it working properly on the 'net with anything newer than Win98. I used to keep a separate box round, just for that. I've probably tried a dozen emulators, not no luck. I miss my laser trip-bombs. Not even DOSBox could make it work.

    • I agree... For some reason, I've never been able to run ST: Armada in a stable fashion on my XP box. It always ends up crashing or kicking me to the desktop. Same goes for the floppy edition of Tie Fighter. (that one will also end up crashing if it's not run on a standard SB16). I'm keeping an old 800Mhz P3 running 98SE for that purpose. I could go all the way and rebuild my oc'ed 5x86 on DOS 6.22, but I really don;t see the point as all DOS and Win9x-era games can be run on that machine.

    • by JBMcB (73720) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:59PM (#36173546)

      Yeah, the games designed for Win98 just don't work well on anything after XP. Most don't work that well in XP, either.

      Here's a fantastic rig for Win98 games:

      1GHz P3 on an AOpen A34 motherboard
      256MB RAM
      GeForce 2 AGP video card
      Turtle Beach Santa Cruz audio card
      Intel Pro/100 Ethernet
      500GB HD

      Running Windows 98SE with the unofficial 2.1a service pack, DX9, MP9, IE6, and KernelEx to run more recent browsers.

      The nice thing about the above hardware combo is that it was supported until fairly recently - most of the kinks have been worked out in the supported games. The GeForce 2 has enough horsepower to play nearly every 98 era game at 1024x768 res as fast as your monitor can refresh.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I've actually found that Windows XP x32 is about the last place that most of the Windows 9x games will work. Often I don't even need to use compatibility mode; usually it doesn't seem to help anyway :) But on anything after XP they usually don't work, or at least, don't work quite right.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:33PM (#36174546)

        W98 gaming is a different pile than my closet of DOS crap.* With 98se you're pretty good well into about 2004 for hardware.

        These are the last vidcards with support.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_6_Series [wikipedia.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radeon_R420 [wikipedia.org]
        The ATI x800/x850 only have beta support on the Catalyst 6.2 driver. Beta because they didn't make the 2004 cutoff for MS Certification. Also you'll have to search around to find the link to that driver's page -- you can't get there from ATI's front page.

        W98se can recognize over 2 gigs of RAM, but will seldom access it.

        There are hacks to deal with most any size IDE drive. SATA depends on whether your controller chip has a w98 driver though. Also note this page on same site as the "real thing" for actually installing 98 on a SATA. (That guy has great stuff. I hope he enjoys the /.ing.)
        http://www.flaterco.com/kb/W98.html [flaterco.com]

        There doesn't seem to be a CPU limit in 32bit. Basically it seems you can use the fasted chip you can fit in an AGP motherboard.

        Look for PCI Soundblaster cards with gameport. Some w95 era games may not like USB joysticks, and gameports are _very_ rare on AGP motherboards.

        That's the basics. With any w98se install, the most stable system is /don't/ use the official upgrade packs. Search around for the unofficial one. Also /don't/ install any major MS software like Word or IE updates -- those always make a dicier machine. And for godsakes keep it offline 'cause it's insecure as heck now. But you'll have a terrific gaming box for all sorts of classics from about 1995 to 2004. Enjoy.

        Oh -- and also look for the patch to make w98se recognize USB memory sticks. That's way useful.

        *yup, I'm the story submitter, though of course as AC no proof.

      • by cbope (130292)

        Seconded. I have my so-called "legacy" game system, mainly for pre-Win98 DOS games, plus a few Win9x era games:

        200MHz Pentium Pro (yes, a Pro, not a plain Pentium. If you don't know what that means, you're too young)
        64MB RAM
        Some PCI video card (can't recall at the moment what it is)
        ISA Creative Sound Blaster AWE64
        1GB HD
        5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives
        4x CD-ROM
        3Com 10/100 Ethernet card
        Dual-boot Win98SE / DOS 6.2
        Small tower case with 200W PS

        A 500GB HD is WAY overkill for such a system. Even if I archived every old

    • by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @09:11PM (#36173640)

      Try Linux. Seriously. I've gotten a lot of the older Westwood games (original Command and Conquer and Red Alert, Renegade, etc) to run perfectly under Wine (or occasionally Cedega, though I can't remember if that was actually necessary -- I just happened to be using it at the time) when I couldn't get them to run no matter what I tried under XP.

  • I played Wolfenstein 3d at 320x200 -- on a good day!

    Actually, I played Wolfenstein (2d) on a "flippy" disk in my day.

    Get off my lawn . . . I've still got my C=64!

    • Get off my lawn - I still have my Commodore VIC-20 ;)
    • by Discopete (316823)

      hm, while we're waving peckers, I've still got an Apple IIe & IIgs, a C128, a semi functional Imsai 8080
      and a Kaypro of some indeterminate type (can't remember which model {huge, heavy blue thing}) (the kaypro is in storage. )

      On that note, I use VPC for anything that requires an older version of windows and DOSbox for any other app that requires an older intel based proc.

      • hm, while we're waving peckers, I've still got an Apple IIe & IIgs, a C128, a semi functional Imsai 8080 and a Kaypro of some indeterminate type (can't remember which model {huge, heavy blue thing}) (the kaypro is in storage. )

        On that note, I use VPC for anything that requires an older version of windows and DOSbox for any other app that requires an older intel based proc.

        Our wrinkly peckers, perhaps.

        But do you know what's really funny? I found a program in my archives a coupla months back called "386whoa.com". It slowed down a 386 enough that you could play 8088 games that depended on hardware timing. Now that makes me feel old.

  • Good riddance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VirexEye (572399) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:21PM (#36173200) Homepage

    The more physical things we can get rid of, the better

    I for one I'm quite happy to not have a closet full of 286/386/486/PIIs/PIIIs/etc boxes and peripherals... so much less stuff to store/maintain/move. It also makes you look like a sane person when you bring a woman home =)

    • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:30PM (#36173292)

      It's that word. "Closet". That says it all.

      The question being asked wasn't "should I get rid of all of the fun stuff I use every day that's sitting in my entertainment room?" Instead it was "can I throw out my unused crap that's all in storage, neglected?"

      All that stuff about emulators is just a smokescreen. You're not playing your legacy DOS stuff now, you won't tomorrow, and the day after that you'll be dead. It's a real trick to recognize when you're saving stuff because you have sentimental value attached to the memories, not the stuff itself.

      • I think you're right about the sentimental attachment, but in my case it's to the software rather than to the hardware. For instance, I remember the last time I spoke to my late Uncle was when he called while I was playing the file sorting puzzle in Lost Mind of Dr. Brain. I couldn't give a damn what hardware it's running on, but hearing Rathbone say "A flight of fancy" brings a tear to my eye.

        I could probably map milestones of my youth directly to games I was playing at the time. Some people do this with b

      • So by this logic I should throw out all my classic movies that I'm not currently watching? :\

        DOS Box is a top notch emulator if you learn the commands. I finished a replay of an old game (Wing Commander I & II) and part of Ultima Underworld about four months ago. Just because I haven't played UU in a while does not mean I will never do it again and I that I should trash my old games.

        If you are seriously considering throwing out your old games I beg of you considering putting them up on ebay or som
      • Re:Good riddance (Score:4, Insightful)

        by leamanc (961376) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @10:04PM (#36174008) Homepage Journal

        I think you hit the nail on the head. It's really about getting older, priorities shifting, and having less time to play around with this old stuff.

        Being a long-time Apple user, I used to love to let people donate their old hardware to me, and I'd spend time digging up the latest System Software/Mac OS it would run, cram all the 30-pin SIMMS it would take into it, and installi the latest versions of Excel, Photoshop, etc., it cold run. I would proudly show it off to those who could give a shit, to show how old hardware could still be useful, how I could bridge it into my WiFi network, connect to OS X boxes, and even how "fast" these things could be when running age appropriate software.

        Then a year after my daughter was born, we bought our first home. Moving out of our rented home, I decided that anything that couldn't run the latest version of OS X had to go to the trash. With life changes that come with more responsibility at work, the aforementioned kid, getting old and not being able to stay up all night jacking with computer crap, I knew I didn't need all that old junk. It was hard to part with it, but I feel much better now, leaving it in the past.

        The real test was when I ran across a pretty nice Apple //c at the local Salvation Army for $5, complete with the //c green monitor. That was my first computer. Oh, the memories! Wouldn't I just love to get that beast up and running? I resisted, went home and loaded up Lemonade Stand in Basilisk and realized I'd never use the damn thing, and it wasn't even worth $5 to me, considering the amount of time I'd spend on getting it up and running and maintaining it. Unlike the olden days, my time is worth something these days, and downtime is even more valuable to me.

        To sum up, let it go. Throw the crap out with next week's trash pickup. (Err, I mean recycle it all responsibly.) If you ever do get the urge to play some of those old games, DOSBox will always be there, along with torrents or other repositories full of disk images of all that old software.

        • The moral of the story that I got out of your post was "Don't have kids" or possibly "Don't get married" because it sucks all the fun out of life.
          • by leamanc (961376)

            The moral of the story that I got out of your post was "Don't have kids" or possibly "Don't get married" because it sucks all the fun out of life.

            Hmmm....well, possibly. Don't forget "job" turning into "career" (you know, where you can afford to have a kid, take a vacation every once in a while and sock some money back) is also a big factor that limits the time I can spend on computer hobby activities. Perhaps the fact that I am an IT manager means that I'd just like to use my computers in the evenings, and not fix up old classics.

            But what I was more going for was maturity is the real reason you drop unfettered nostalgia for your computing past. I

      • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @10:09PM (#36174036) Journal

        All that stuff about emulators is just a smokescreen. You're not playing your legacy DOS stuff now, you won't tomorrow, and the day after that you'll be dead.

        My god man, who cares if he gets rid of the stuff if he's only got around 2 days to live!!!???

    • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @09:11PM (#36173642)

      no.. it just suggests to her that you'll willingly submit to her whims and judgments about your lifestyle when you're married and she asks you (tells you) to sell your hobby (whatever it is) off so 'we' can afford to do whatever is that she thinks is important..

      if you like that stuff, keep it.. if she hates it, you're with the wrong girl. just hit it and leave it.

      • by mug funky (910186)

        interesting point.

        when wifey hints that my LPs are taking up too much space, or that there's cables everywhere, i simply say "i'll clean up the cables when i'm done with them, but the LPs are fucking staying".

        if you can't assert yourself to someone who is supposedly your equal (ie other half), then it's just not going to work.

        though with a kid coming in 2-3 weeks, i doubt i'll have an awful lot of time to bugger around with my hobby stuff, at least for a few months.

  • With just a few exceptions, an Atari 800 or Commodore 64 or Amiga emulator is better than any DOS-based games. Better graphics, better sound, and so simple even an idiot could make it work (standard hardware == console level simplicity == plug'n'play). No need to mess with complicated DOS configurations trying to make the carn-sarn-flippy-flam VGA or soundblasthing work. (Grrrr.)

    For the era 1985 to 95, almost every game looks and plays better Via the Amiga version. Now when you're talking Pentium-level

    • by cHALiTO (101461)

      It's not about good graphics but nostalgia, I think. Sadly, I don't have my spectrum nor my MSX around anymore but I got a compaq presario cds 524, still working with win95, but I'm planning on installing either some DOS (if I can get some floppys to get the images on) or (if I can manage it) some very small linux distro. On win95 it's already running carmen sandiego and some other oldies :D

  • by Sinthet (2081954) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:25PM (#36173240)
    Lacking any modern computer hardware until around 2007 or so, I feel I can relate to you, despite being one of the younger folks here. I grew up slaughtering hordes of Nazis in Wolf3D during the PS2 era, along with saving chicks with Duke Nukem, then getting my nerd on with Shadowland (I think thats what it was called :/). Anyway, I have a strong nostalgic love for these old DOS games, and I've yet to run into a problem playing them on DOSbox (Under Linux, just fyi). However, instead of tossing all that retro goodness, I'd put it up on ebay. You'd make a buck or two, and some other nostalgic fanboy will wet himself in joy. Everyone wins!
  • Isn't MS-DOS owned by ... MS? It's been years since I have run that, but I thought it was always there.
  • Serial interfacing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Ever try to program a Motorola commercial radio from the 80's? It turns out that you need some hardware from the era to make it work. DOSBox runs the program just fine, but it can't control the serial ports correctly, so the program cannot read or write radio configruations.

  • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:31PM (#36173302)

    For every piece of old hardware I have, I can usually find a home for it. I have people asking me for leads on stuff like AT power supplies and boards that aren't all PCI/PCI-E.

    So before you chuck that old DOS box away, make sure there's not some other collector who would like it. :)

    (Hugs MSD SD2.)

  • ...I was just thinking about throwing away some obsolete crap myself. Anyone want an old UNIX box?
  • I still have my Roland MT-32, and would love to use it for those old DOS games that support it. Can anybody suggest how I'd go about doing that in DOSBox?

    (Posted while logged in this time.)

  • Chuck it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:33PM (#36173332)
    Obviously this is all just IMHO, but I tossed out most of my old stuff a while ago and have rarely missed any of it. It reduces the temptation to waste an evening (or more) trying to scrounge together a frankenstein system, reading old newsgroups to figure out how to resolve IRQ conflicts and write an autoexec.bat, and all that evil stuff. I have purchased a few old nostalgia items from ebay (non-computer stuff) and I find having it again is never as good as reminiscing about it.

    If nothing else, figure the space in your home is $150-$200 / sf. Keeping junk isn't free, it costs money. Declutter and you may feel less desire for a larger place.

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:35PM (#36173352)

    ...and destroyed about 1000 floppy disks chock full of games, shareware, and what not. My grand plans were always to "show my kids" what I grew up with...but now they're almost out of school, and aren't the least bit interested.

    So practicality trumped nostalgia. The disks, machines, drives, everything are gone forever. I still have pangs of guilt over the decision, but also remind myself that realistically I would never run anything under DOS again.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      we still have an original IBM PC AT in the box up in the attic. we just can't get rid of it but it does get moved from one side of the attic to the other every now and then. Luckily we don't keep all our 5 1/4" floppy's up there. nostalgia is just tough to get rid of sometimes.

      LoB
    • Why? I mean, assuming you still had the hardware to read them, why not spend some time taking the data off and archiving them? Trashing hoarded hardware which takes up a heap of physical space is one thing, storing software which takes up an infinitesimal proportion of ever-increasing storage capacity is another.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      You don't need to show 1000 identical items to kids. There's always nostalgia there. I still have my old 286 computer somewhere, along with a 5 1/4 drive + floppy, 3.5" as well, a complete system minus monitor (no space for that). But that's it. I don't have my P200, P3, P4 or any other systems. I only have 2 older floppies, and chances are they're not readable.

      I did a similar thing. I threw out about 998 floppies that I new I would never use. But I still find value in keeping around one that doesn't take a

    • ...and destroyed about 1000 floppy disks chock full of games, shareware, and what not.

      I cried a little

    • by PitaBred (632671)

      No interest in making money and selling them to someone that actually would want them?

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Kids aren't interested unless you're interested. Don't go "hey kids look at this old crap!", that won't work. Play with it while they're around and they will be interested in what you're doing. It's monkey see, monkey do with kids.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:40PM (#36173408) Journal

    Get a copy of VirtualBox for Linux or Windows and fire up the ISO download. I doubt FreeDOS can read modern SATA drives so running it through a virtual machine is ideal. FreeDOS is the most MS DOS compatible OS. Not to mention with virtualbox you can share files with a shared folder. I do not know if the guestadditions for Dos are available as I use Linux under it but it is worth a shot for sure.

    What is great about FreeDOS is it comes with a TCP/IP stack and gnu tools like gcc and a nice editor so you can at least transfer files and old files from the internet to it to have the old experience back if you want to run DOOM shareware for example

  • This might be useful (Score:4, Informative)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@NoSPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:45PM (#36173460) Homepage Journal

    Alternate DOS extenders.
    http://maximumhoyt.blogspot.com/2008/12/dos4gwexe-version-201a-and-alternative.html [blogspot.com]

    The most useful appears to be DOS/32A, a drop-in replacement for DOS4GW.EXE .
    http://dos32a.narechk.net/index_en.html [narechk.net]

  • All the games you have on 5.25" floppy. Once you get all that from floppy to images, you can junk the box and bask in the glory of having one less physical system. As an added bonus, your spouse will thank you - or if you're still single, you'll have a slightly better chance of finding one.
  • I've used Dosbox to emulate all of my companies legacy dos stuff we have to use. It works find with XP.

    Every game I've tried it with works though most of mine are text based Remember T-Zero? http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/t.html#tzero [sparkynet.com] all of Infocom's games.

    I still play the ones I've not solved yet, I have all my notes.

  • DOSBox FTW (Score:4, Informative)

    by atomicbutterfly (1979388) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @08:50PM (#36173496)

    Here are the reasons:

    (1) As of the latest version (0.74) it runs every DOS game I've thrown at it.
    (2) If a game needs more resources, simply increase the clock rate within DOSBox using a few hotkeys. Better yet, give the game a custom .conf file specifying the clock rate you want (max CPU if required), resolution, audio quality, and any other peripherals it could use.
    (3) Sound support NEVER fails. It supports all typical DOS audio interfaces out of the box.
    (4) Why boot another computer for DOS games when you can simply launch from your main rig?
    (5) DOSBox is open source. It works on nearly everything.

    • by pcjunky (517872)

      Some games that use unsupported or undocumented hardware modes that will most likely not be supported by emulators which are written to spec. One example is an old game StarFlight. It used a undocumented color mode on the IBM CGA interface which officially did not have a mode that supported the color mode the game used which would only work with a composite monitor (RGB would not work, which is probably why IBM did not support it).

      You will never get quite the same wow factor from running emulators.

      • StarFlight actually works perfectly [dosbox.com] in CGA mode with DOSBox 0.74. There are still a handful of games that do not work, but that number seems to decrease with every release.
    • Re:DOSBox FTW (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:08PM (#36174382) Homepage Journal

      Use the DBGL front-end. It's Java and hence cross-platform, and it's got some canned system profiles you can associate with your games, for example 486DX2-66 or 16 MHz 386.

  • DOSBox may personally work for you, but lots of people want the real thing for either pragmatic or nostalgic reasons. Giving the stuff to good home is much better than just junking it.

  • How many people remember astrotit? Blast those booobs! Condom for a shield!

  • I still have the 486DX2/66 that I bought with my first summer job. 8 megs of RAM, SB16 and GUS side-by-side, 540 meg hard drive, and 2X Panasonic CDROM with a proprietary interface. It has a cheesy yellow 7-segment LED dispay on the front that displays the computer MHz and switches between 33 and 66 when you push the TURBO button. And I love the thing - the computer came from one of my favorite times in the computer scene, the demoscene was thriving as well as the MOD/S3M/IT community, games were a ton of f

  • From my experience DOSBox works perfectly well for almost everything I have thrown at it. Games with which I had the most issues with are of the Win95/Win98 era ones, they are to new for DOSBox and to old to run properly in regular Windows. For those games I keep an old computer with Windows98 around. Sometimes there are of course other workaround, Wine can sometimes work better then regular Windows with old stuff, but sometimes the real hardware is just the easiest to get things up and running.

  • KEEP IT! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alanshot (541117) <rurick@@@techondemand...net> on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @09:18PM (#36173704)

    I didnt think it mattered, until one day many years ago I uncovered my copy of Mechwarrior.

    Not thinking anything of this then 10yo+ game, I dragged it out and threw it onto my thoroughly modern rig. Bear in mid this was last played on a 486, MAYBE an Pentium, and I was now throwing it onto a 2ghz Athlon XP rig (early P4 equivalent). I installed it and it seemed to go ok. I started the game, great!

    lets stop and think back, shall we? Now if you recall playing, you would start the game, and there would be no enemies in sight. you would then start trudging across the field at a pace of about two steps per second. in about 90 seconds to 2 minutes, the first opponent would appear. after several minutes of guns and rockets, one of you would die. Not this time.

    I started walking the mech, and it was more like a sprint... the mech was virtually RUNNING at about 4-6 steps per second and its barely controllable. next thing I know the other mechs are on top of me, and before I can get more than one shot off, a hail of rockets and guns and I am dead. The game literally lasted 20 seconds.

    Apparently that particular title relied on the clock speed of the processor. the faster the processor, the faster the game would play. By attempting to run that game on a modern platform, I realized that there was no substitute for the original platform.

    So yes, hang onto the hardware if you really want to game and get the original results.

    • So use Dosbox, which limits the processor to a selectable speed, for exactly this reason. This is exactly what he's asking.

  • I'm a relatively new computer guy, compared to those in the situation of throwing out a closet full of 486s. Sure, I "used" my dad's 486, but I was in the range of 6 years old at the time, and didn't really learn any of it. First OS I had any real experience with was Windows 95 on a Celeron 300.

    I've since acquired a pretty wide variety of computer knowledge - I've run every version of Windows, several Linux distros, and a BSD, I've built computers and networks from the ground up, learned a score of progra
  • by bertok (226922) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @10:21PM (#36174118)

    I've got a similar issue, but with old business applications instead of games.

    I have clients that are still running 16-bit DOS applications for thousands of users (don't ask), and are having real trouble with them because support for 32-bit operating systems is slowly but surely disappearing. For example, terminal services requires "Server" editions of Windows, but since 2008 R2, there are no more 32-bit editions, and the 64-bit editions cannot run 16-bit applications at all.

    I've been looking for a DOS emulator for 64-bit Windows with decent performance that has the same (or similar) features as the emulation in 32-bit Windows editions, such as cut & paste, transparent access drives, etc...

    The DOS emulators designed for games behave more like VMware: they emulate a physical machine with peripherals. What I'm looking for is more of a backwards-compatibility layer like the NTVDM [wikipedia.org] system that can be found in 32-bit editions of Windows, but capable of running under a 64-bit OS.

    Anyone here know of something like that?

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