Monday, February 25, 2008


I've been fighting the urge to give up on this crazy quest to review Linux games, and just re-install my battleworn copy of Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant for the 1,000th time, in the hopes that this time I will beat it. I was strong, firm in my resolve to consistently review Linux games according to my master plan. But I had to test DosBox today, and so...

... yeah, I tested it with Wizardry VII. I managed to pull myself away, though. Eventually. After defeating the Horror of Ra-Sep-Re-Tep. I was very tempted to go after the Map Kit before quitting, but I knew that I would be lost, if I went that far, and I wouldn't get back to doing this review-blog for a week or two, minimum.

Which is to say, DosBox works. Oh yeah. DosBox is a multi-platform DOS-emulator; it exists so you can play old-school games on your new-school fancy computer with a minimum of hassle and hardware incompatibility. You mount a directory on your hard drive (where you have all your old DOS games) as a drive in DosBox and you're good to go.

I actually had fewer problems with it under Linux than I did the last time I set it up under XP. I had a sound-flake out (I lost digital sound but kept MIDI) for a little while, but it never happened again, after the first time, and everything was perfect. Incidentally, I first played Wizardry VII on a 14-inch monitor. Playing it on my current 21-inch for the first time today was a little bit like drinking one of those mega-sized cans of Foster's Lager (Australian for Beer, though I'm told actual Australians drink more Victoria Bitter).

DosBox gets a huge thumbs-up for me. If you can figure out Linux, you'll have no problem getting around in the command shell, and there are so many good games from back in the day that there's really no reason to ever buy software again, outside of graphics and larger real-time sandboxes. The downside, of course, is that installing DosBox doesn't get you anywhere. You have to have some old DOS games laying around too.

The whole 'abandonware' issue will probably never really be resolved, because most of the companies with a stake in the issue don't actually exist anymore. All I have to say on the matter is that purchasing software, when it's available, is definitely the moral high-ground. For everything else, there's Home of the Underdogs. Enter at your own risk.

No comments: