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Thread: Playing older Windows games on a modern computer?

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    Kirby (Level 13) j_factor's Avatar
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    Default Playing older Windows games on a modern computer?

    I know all about Dosbox, but how do people play older Windows games these days? Or do they just... not?

    I recently downloaded the shareware version of Lose Your Marbles. Even with compatibility modes selected, the exe still won't run. I get the message, "The version of this file is not compatible with the version of Windows you're running." Is there an easy solution I don't know about, or am I SOL?

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    Old windows games are kind of a tricky beast. I can't play Sonic CD anymore because my PC doesn't support a 256-color display mode (lol), yet the venerable classic "Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack" runs without a hitch (because a PC without Chip's Challenge and JezzBall is a PC I want no part of!)
    I also had problems running King's Quest Collection on Vista (It was designed for XP).
    Either way, I wish you luck!

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    I'm having this same problem recently. I picked a bunch of older Windows games lately. Some notable ones are Hexen, Star Trek Starfleet Academy, and Sonic CD. Sonic CD just plain old won't start up, and Starfleet Academy does this weird thing where the screen turns black every few seconds and each pixel reappears as I mouse over it.

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    Ah yes, the old games on a new computer issue.

    Your best bet is to not use a new computer, but to build up a vintage one.

    Old computer parts are vanishing very quickly, because most people just recycle them.

    Get an old Hercules 3D prophet, a nice Pentium 2 400mHz, and slap it all together with 512mb od PC 133 then load up Windows 98.

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    Sonic CD has had a Windows XP patch for a good number of years now. Here's a link to the patch http://www.sonic-cult.org/dispart.ph...ubid=1&artid=6

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    This is why I have a Win98 machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old_skoolin_jim View Post
    I also had problems running King's Quest Collection on Vista (It was designed for XP).
    Get rid of the craptacularly ancient version of DOSBox included and update it with the info found here.

    I too have lots of issues running old Windows games. Stupid crap like the game demanding that I install an ancient version of Quicktime and such. Other times the games run too damn fast, or the videos do. It's annoying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezcore343 View Post
    I'm having this same problem recently. I picked a bunch of older Windows games lately. Some notable ones are Hexen, Star Trek Starfleet Academy, and Sonic CD. Sonic CD just plain old won't start up, and Starfleet Academy does this weird thing where the screen turns black every few seconds and each pixel reappears as I mouse over it.
    I can't speak for the others, but Hexen is an older game that's actually pretty easy to play on modern machines. It's based off of the Doom engine, so there are several source ports available that are compatible with it. You'll still need the actual game data (hexen.wad) off of your install disc to use any of them, however.

    You've got a few options. I recommend ZDoom - it's flexible, but still retains the overall look-and-feel of the original games. For something more towards the eye-candy end of things, check out the Doomsday Engine - it adds all kind of visual effects like pixel-blurring, colored lighting, transparency/alpha-blending, and lens flares all over the place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FxMercenary View Post
    Ah yes, the old games on a new computer issue.

    Your best bet is to not use a new computer, but to build up a vintage one.

    Old computer parts are vanishing very quickly, because most people just recycle them.

    Get an old Hercules 3D prophet, a nice Pentium 2 400mHz, and slap it all together with 512mb od PC 133 then load up Windows 98.
    What's said here (right down to the graphics card, a nice choice although the Voodoo cards will be flexible too), although I would go Win98 SE - I found my Windows 98 product key works with 98 SE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berserker View Post
    I can't speak for the others, but Hexen is an older game that's actually pretty easy to play on modern machines. It's based off of the Doom engine, so there are several source ports available that are compatible with it. You'll still need the actual game data (hexen.wad) off of your install disc to use any of them, however.

    You've got a few options. I recommend ZDoom - it's flexible, but still retains the overall look-and-feel of the original games. For something more towards the eye-candy end of things, check out the Doomsday Engine - it adds all kind of visual effects like pixel-blurring, colored lighting, transparency/alpha-blending, and lens flares all over the place.
    My mistake, I didn't mean to imply that Hexen wasn't working for me, just including it in the list of games I've picked up lately. Thankfully it did install and run pretty easily, because I'm on family vacation right now and I need something to keep me occupied while not at the beach.

    Any recommendations for fixing my Starfleet Academy problem anyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Push Upstairs View Post
    This is why I have a Win98 machine.
    I would too, if it were easy.

    You know, the Commodore 64 could be found in stores until 1992, and at the end was like fifty bucks. I would totally buy a ten year old computer for fifty bucks today. Too bad it doesn't work that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    I would too, if it were easy.

    You know, the Commodore 64 could be found in stores until 1992, and at the end was like fifty bucks. I would totally buy a ten year old computer for fifty bucks today. Too bad it doesn't work that way.
    I know a place where you can find complete computers from the 90's for one dollar. Unfortunately, this was in Tennessee and I had no way of taking all that goodness back to Mexico. ;_;
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    I play some older PC games on my computer:

    X-wing Vs. Tie Fighter
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Sonic R

    And the trick I use if some games don't want to work is:

    Right-Click the game icon
    Do Properties>Compatibility Tab.

    Check "Run this Program in compatibility mode for:"

    Select from the Drop Down Menu -Windows 98/Windows ME (Or Windows 95 depending on how old the game is)"

    Check - "Run in 256 colors"

    Check - "Run in 640x480 Screen Resolution"

    You shouldn't have any more problems running old games after that. A lot of old games have problems with not running in 256 colors and some have trouble with not running in 640x480 as well.
    Last edited by Baloo; 08-11-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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    Depending on the type of game and how graphics intensive it is, you might be able to use Virtual PC or VMWare Workstation (Virtual PC emulates some things that VMware can't and vice versa; plus, Virtual PC is totally free). I've tested many Windows 95/98 games without a hitch.
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    No 3D Acceleration, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    I would too, if it were easy.
    I got really lucky, someone threw out their *working* Windows 98 machine, left it right beside the dumpster. I had to buy some parts for it to make it better (video and sound card, better case) but it works great now.

    Possibility is infinity! You must be satisfied!

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    A surprising number of video cards can't do 256 colours or any VGA modes anymore. Strange, I thought.

    I use older laptops, myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gapporin View Post
    Depending on the type of game and how graphics intensive it is, you might be able to use Virtual PC or VMWare Workstation (Virtual PC emulates some things that VMware can't and vice versa; plus, Virtual PC is totally free).
    Use http://www.easyvmx.com and you can use the likewise totally-free VMware Player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pezcore343 View Post
    Any recommendations for fixing my Starfleet Academy problem anyone?
    If someone out there hasn't made a patch for it already, you might try downgrading your video card drivers. (Do you use an nVidia card?)
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    I have used VMWare and Virtual PC before, and had more luck with VM. Still, 3d acceleration was pretty lacking, though I think there's some plugins for it to do up to like a 16mb card. In windows XP you can use a Glide/3fdx wrapper for those games that support it. Games like Pod and Dethkarz work great that way.
    And of course, if you can, find a good 400mhz P2 and build a sweet Win98SE comp. I made one for $10 from parts from Goodwill. Voodoo cards rock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skaar View Post
    I use older laptops, myself.
    I've been looking into some of the older Tecras, Sat Pros and the like (from Toshiba) mainly for their sound chips, not sure if I'd ultimately be pleased with the sound quality though.

    The form factor is very appealing though (unfortunately, laptops with busted / removed screens don't often seem to drag down the price enough to be worthwhile).

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