I wanna play my Myst again
January 30, 2010 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out what to do with my old Game and OS CDs.

What would you do if you had 100s of floppies and cds of *fun* (but old) software lying about, and a new computer that had plenty of storage and horsepower (and has VirtualBox installed if that sways things in any direction)?

My dream would be to have all the software imaged up into storage on my internal and external hard drive with the appropriate environment to run the software. I'd say about 10% of the games are Win3.1/DOS era, another 20% Win 95 era, 60% Win 98 era, and the rest XP era. I have Win 95 original disks, Win 98 upgrade, and I can upgrade my Win 7 to handle the XP case if required. So with the possible exception of DOS and Win 98 (which I may have as well), I seem to be (legally) covered on most OSs.

But is it worth it to do that? Is that the approach you would take if you were an old game aficionado? Or is it trivially easy to just download any title you might like (I've had problems finding things in the past ... I think Wizardry was one)? Or is there another way?
Or is just not worth the effort and I should just keep them for their docs and box art and forget about playing the actual game?

Any ideas or suggestions welcome.
posted by forforf to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Many of those games can be handled with DOSBox. I have an entire directory of this kind of software on my hard drive, and having it all in virtual machines means they are highly portable... No worries about spending hours trying to make Quest for Glory run on a new machine. Many of those old disks don't have DRM on them to worry about either, so making iso images for virtual drives is very easy.

In short, totally worth it! There are also tons of abandonware websites to find other titles from publishers long-gone.
posted by Lifeson at 4:24 PM on January 30, 2010

It might be a bit difficult getting all your 95/98 games to run properly. Some will work fine, but some might not work at all - and from what I know, getting Windows 98 to run properly in VirtualBox is a bit of a hassle, as is getting the OS to work well with modern graphics cards and so on.
posted by fearthehat at 4:36 PM on January 30, 2010

Time to move on. Games are not eternal. Get rid of the clutter in your life.
posted by abbat at 4:37 PM on January 30, 2010

Please don't listen to Abbat. These games are perfectly "eternal", and will continue to work in an emulated environment. At the very least, I would transfer them to a backed-up storage medium rather than leaving them on their current disks, so that you don't lose them to bitrot as the physical tape ages.

If you're interested in playing them, DosBox is the way to go for the DOS titles, and VirtualBox + Win98 is perfect for the remainder. It's definitely worth doing, if you enjoyed these games and want to continue to do so into the future.
posted by ellF at 4:41 PM on January 30, 2010

Best answer: This website I posted about a few months ago has literally thousands of old games you can play online, no downloading required. Here are two old Wizardry games, for instance.

If you prefer, you can install free software on your computer and download ROM files that will let you play virtually any game locally. It's called "emulation" -- see here for emulation software and here for collections of ROM files for different games.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:09 PM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and speaking of Myst, you may want to look into realMYST. It's exactly the same game, but completely recreated in a 3D engine. I downloaded it a few years ago and had great fun replaying it -- getting rid of the endless point and click movement for smooth 3D made the experience much more fresh and engaging.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:19 PM on January 30, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all, you've got me convinced. Even Abbat was kinda right in that I need to clean up the clutter, but it was the physical clutter I wanted to get rid of.

Also, thanks for putting a link to that post Rhaomi, I don't know how I missed that!
posted by forforf at 5:40 PM on January 30, 2010

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