Help me play "In The First Degree" again - I'll totally let you be assistant DA.
March 26, 2011 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I just got a CD-ROM of my favorite computer game from the mid-90s! After several tries with different emulators, though, I'm having no luck getting it to run on my machine. Can you help me play In the 1st Degree again?

The jewel case I was sent didn't have system requirements on it, just installation instructions for Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and an unspecified version of Macintosh, but I've been able to find online these system requirements for the Mac version and these for the Windows version:
IBM-PC or compatible 486/25SX or faster,
4MB RAM, 8 MB recommended,16-bit sound card,
and a double speed CD-ROM drive or higher, mouse,
DOS 5.0 or higher, Windows 3.1 or Windows 95,
Super VGA (256 color mode, also supports thousands
of colors video mode if available to provide extremely
realistic video display.)
I've got a MacBook Pro running OS 10.6, and my girlfriend has a MacBook Pro running OS 10.4. Here's what I've tried so far:

Wine, by itself - eventually get to run the "install.exe" file on the CD - but then when I try to run the newly created "degree.exe" file, the disc whirls and nothing happens.
Winebottler and Crossover - Trying to run the "install.exe" file, I get told that there's an issue with shell.dll, similar to this issue with other Broderbund title, Myst - but don't understand the recommendations at the link.

I'm not an expert at any of this kind of stuff, so I might be making an obvious mistake here. Thank you so much for your help.
posted by Ash3000 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by chengjih at 6:25 AM on March 26, 2011

What different emulators have you tried?

From your description, it sounds like you're trying to emulate a Windows environment in order to play a game that probably runs in DOS. IIRC Myst ran in Windows 95 - I seem to remember using the Start menu to play that. If "In The First Degree" runs in MSDOS, you'll definitely want DOSBox. DOSBox is sometimes a little awkward the first time you use it, so might want to watch a video tutorial (if you can tolerate some nerd voiceover.)
posted by MrFTBN at 7:03 AM on March 26, 2011

You might also want to give Boxer a try, which is supposed to be a more user-friendly frontend for DOSBox.
posted by bcwinters at 7:05 AM on March 26, 2011

Response by poster: Unfortunately, it seems to be a game for Windows, not DOS - tried Boxer, then got told it's a Windows program, not for DOS.
posted by Ash3000 at 8:08 AM on March 26, 2011

Ah, dang fancy Windows games.

Did you try adding the empty shell.dll file like they suggested? Just create a new file, name it shell.dll, and place it in the /drive_c/windows/system32/ folder where you installed Wine. The 'touch' example they show is for doing it in Bash in one step. If you're not comfortable with shell commands, I'm sure you can find some other way to do this like saving a blank plaintext file - sorry I'm not a Mac guy. Anyway, it seems the size and content of shell.dll is not important, just that there is a file there with that name.

If that doesn't do the trick, there are places to download real DLL files if you Google for a bit. Sites like that scream malware to me, but OS X should be safe from any malware contained in a Windows PE file (never assume anything though, right?).
posted by MrFTBN at 9:02 AM on March 26, 2011

Hmm. Possibly, get VirtualBox, create a virtual machine with the appropriate specs, and install Windows 95 into that VM. That might be the "truest" way of running that game, given the Mac hardware.

Here are some installation notes on getting Win95 running in VirtualBox:

You'll need Win95 installation media. Ask to see if anyone has the thing lying around. Alternatively, hit up eBay and pick up a copy for $10 or such.

With virtualization, you're effectively running Windows 95 and things should be better behaved compared to trying to use WINE on the Mac. If VirtualBox doesn't work (and there's no guarantee that it will, since Win95 isn't on the supported guest OS list), you can look at trying VMWare (here's a blog post on getting Win95 running as a guest), but you probably have to pay for VMWare.
posted by chengjih at 9:26 AM on March 26, 2011

I'd try the empty shelll.dll file, as linked and explained above by MrFTBN. In Crossover, you can click the "Open the C drive" button on the bottle config panel and then drag and drop the file from where ever you created it into the bottle's WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ directory. (It's probably your user folder if you used touch from Terminal's default working directory. One folder level up from your Documents folder. )
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:34 AM on March 26, 2011

On the Mac side, it seems like it needs Rosetta. I found an odd help file on installing it. Though since it was written against System 7, you may need a Mac emulator.

There's information on them at E-Maculation, but often the solutions require additional files.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2011

« Older Cock of the Walk   |   Online forums/communities for older adults w/... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.