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#1133833 - 12/02/17 09:00 PM how do people play older games?
HeavenlyJoy Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 785
Loc: usa
I am thinking of looking into some older ones and wonder what is the best method?
Gog or older machine or Dosbox?

how far does or pc's go on settings for older programs?

Like can I put in Gabriel Knight 2 and just set the pc to play older versions of windows?
I just finished the GK 1, remastered, is there a remastered 2 I wasnt sure? smile
love GK games...

I just saw the list of games that dont get the recognition they deserve or on the annual
lists and there were a few more I would like to try that I havent.. I have been playing 30 years but
off and on so I miss alot... Thanks Marcia

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#1133836 - 12/02/17 09:12 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 31949
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Hi, since your questions are more of a technical nature, I have moved your post over to Glitches.

How people play older games depends upon which older game it is: some might require DOSBox, some you might be able to download from GOG, some might work if you use compatibility mode, etc. There is no one size fits all when it comes to getting older games to run. Having an older Windows 95 or Windows 98 computer is very useful, too.

There is no remastered version of Gabriel Knight 2. Your best bet would be to buy the original game from GOG, where it has been tweaked to run on newer computers.

If you have questions about getting specific games to run, let us know.

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#1133838 - 12/02/17 11:01 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
HeavenlyJoy Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 785
Loc: usa
Thanks Marian, I will do that, it looks fun, so its game dependent, and maybe search the different forums for each game...
I just got a diff pc, and it has Gog already installed thinking I will give it a try too.

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#1133839 - 12/02/17 11:16 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
Marian Offline
Global Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 31949
Loc: near Yosemite in California
We have a few different lists here on GameBoomers of forum members reporting games they got running on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. Check out the threads on the top of the Glitches forum here (if you haven't already) with the subject topics of Windows 7 and Games, Windows 8 and Games, and Windows 10 and Games - that will provide a lot of information.

For even older games, feel free to ask about a particular title that you have in mind.

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#1133873 - 12/03/17 10:36 AM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
Draclvr Offline
Hints & Glitches forum Moderator
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 12839
Loc: In Missouri near St. Louis
Not much I can add to what Marian has already said. GOG is such a good resource for older games that have been tweaked to play on new systems. But make sure you read the specs carefully to be sure they apply to your computer. Good info for us to have would be what operating system you have, video card, RAM etc. Those things can make a difference too.
_________________________
In my PC corner for the winter, gaming, knitting and reading.

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#1133895 - 12/03/17 01:09 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38395
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: HeavenlyJoy
I am thinking of looking into some older ones and wonder what is the best method?
Gog or older machine or Dosbox?

Depends on the game -- and whether you are interested in learning technical aspects (or have someone who can set it up for you).

Quote:
How far does or pc's go on settings for older programs?

It is impossible to run a game that uses 16-bit code on a 64-bit operating system without some form of emulation, virtualization, or replacing the game engine (ScummVM replaces the game engine).

Quote:
Like can I put in Gabriel Knight 2 and just set the pc to play older versions of windows?

Gabriel Knight 2 uses 16-bit code. You'd need DOSBox or some other form of emulation/virtualization. Currently the development version of ScummVM supports GK2, but not the "stable" release. Maybe with the next official "stable" release of ScummVM it will support GK2. You can also try the development release of ScummVM if you want.

Quote:
I just finished the GK 1, remastered, is there a remastered 2

No, and it is unlikely there will ever be one -- especially one that uses real filmed footage with real actors like the original. The original came from a time when adventure games were still considered a popular genre, and studios were willing to sink substantial amounts of money into creating them. That time is long gone.

GK2 can be run in DOSBox. Sierra fans have created installers for several Sierra games, including GK2, which can be found here
http://sierrahelp.com/Patches-Updates/NewSierraInstallers.html

This is essentially what GOG uses -- it configures the game to run inside DOSBox. You can also install GK2 inside DOSBox yourself if you have the technical ability and/or interest in learning. Most people just want to play the game though, so the installer is easier. And if you don't already have the original CD's, it's cheaper to just get the game from GOG.

Quote:
I just saw the list of games that don't get the recognition they deserve or on the annual
lists and there were a few more I would like to try that I haven't.. Thanks Marcia

It depends on the game.

DOSBox works for DOS games.
I don't think there are any "adventure games" for DOS that require a graphics card with 3D acceleration.

ScummVM works for a small number of mostly well known games, DOS and early Windows, mostly LucasArts and Sierra games, but also games like "Beneath a Steel Sky," "Broken Sword 1" and 2, "Discworld 1" and 2, "Flight of the Amazon Queen," etc.
http://scummvm.org/compatibility/1.9.0/
The development version supports more games, and you can try it, but there may be bugs that are solved in the "stable" version
http://scummvm.org/compatibility/

It used to be possible to play early Windows 95/98 games in Virtual PC, VirtualBox, and VMware, but modern versions are difficult to use on modern computers and often have speed issues, resulting in bugs and crashes that didn't happen on the original old computers that the games were made for.
None of these three programs controls for processor speed.
None of these three programs does a decent job supporting 3D acceleration in games.
Microsoft blocked VirtualPC from running on Windows 8 and later. You can get it "installed" fairly easily, but actually getting it working and usable for on Windows 8 takes some doing (installing an outdated version of Windows Phone). I don't know if it's even possible to install it with Windows 10.
VMware no longer officially supports "Tools" for Windows 95/98. Sometimes you can run games without the "Tools" but they make the program easier to use. Some people claim they can use the "Tools" from older versions of VMware, but finding the appropriate "Tools" for Windows 95/98 on the Internet can be a challenge.
As far as I know, VirtualBox never supported Windows 95/98. My experience with VirtualBox was dismal -- game froze and crashed within a couple of minutes. Your luck may depend on what game you're trying to run.
You can run XP using VMware and VirtualBox, but it's not the same as running XP on a computer -- you can't add a video card with 3D acceleration.
Unlike DOSBox, these 3 programs don't do anything about controlling for processor speed, which can mean a game that worked fine on VMware when run on a computer with a Pentium IV processor will freeze and crash all the time on a modern computer with an Intel i5 processor.
The emulation is imperfect -- I've had crashes and freezes in some games when using the emulator that never occurred when running the games on real old computers. Also midi music doesn't work correctly on Virtual PC or VMware. Midi does work correctly in DOSBox, and there aren't many Windows games that use midi, so here is another reason DOSBox is better if your game is a DOS game.

Many games for Windows 95/98 can be run on XP, but keep in mind XP has its versions. A game that ran on the original XP with no SP's (Service Packs) may have issues on later which may or may not have been corrected with a patch. There were three adventure games that stopped working after the original XP was "updated" to SP1 -- The Omega Stone, Cameron Files 2: Pharaoh's Curse, and Sherlock Holmes: Mystery of the Mummy. Supposedly this problem was fixed with SP2 -- except it wasn't -- not for everyone anyway. Anyway, certain old games may work best with XP with no Service Packs added. If you're running XP inside of VirtualBox or VMware, the unpatched version with no service packs "may" work better for some games.

Better options might be something like 86box or PCemu, which do control for processor speed and where people are actively working on things like video acceleration. These aren't for non-technical people, but if you are interested in learning, they may be the best way to run certain old Windows 95/98 games on a new computer. Right now they're probably too technical for a beginner (in other words, learn DOSBox first, learn what a drive image is first, etc).

There is a program called DXWnd that some people are using to run older games. I haven't used it, but here is a video of someone configuring dgVoodoo so he can run "Black Dahlia" to run on a newer computer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Hi5UMhkuQ
You can tell it's not 100% (with this game) and he doesn't actually test the entire game (at least not in this video) but the game has the possibility of being "playable" on a modern system. Here's more about DXWnd
https://www.play-old-pc-games.com/compatibility-tools/using-dxwnd/

Using an old computer is usually the easiest way for a non-technical person to run an old Windows game that requires 3D accelerated video card -- provided the old hardware is from around the time the game came out -- and provided that there is someone who can maintain the old computer. Old hardware doesn't last forever, and you may occasionally need someone to fix it. Also a computer from 2010 might be considered "old" now, but it's not the same as a computer from 2000. Not only is there the issue of processor speed (and number of cores or hyperthreading), but games that use 3D acceleration can have issues with drivers, requiring older versions of drivers that don't install on newer video cards. So you'd want a computer that's old enough and has old enough hardware for some of these older games. Often people throw out their older computers when all they needed was a new CMOS battery, a new power supply, or a new hard drive -- a cheap and easy fix for someone with a little technical knowledge, but impossible for someone with no knowledge, or who has no friend or family member who has sufficient knowledge to switch out a CMOS battery, power supply, or hard drive. And of course if you switch out the hard drive you need to be able to install Windows 95/98 and the drivers for video card and sound card -- as well as motherboard drivers and other system-related drivers that are necessary and not provided by Windows itself.

+_+_+_+_+_+_+

The TLDR version...
  • If all the games you're interested are DOS games, use DOSBox (or one of the installers at sierrahelp.com that uses DOSBox) or if you don't already have the physical version, check GOG.
  • If you're interested in early Windows games, get the preconfigured GOG version if available. Otherwise see if the allvideo guy has a preconfigured version on eBay (can try searching the name of the game and "+1clk" on eBay).
  • If you're interested in early Windows 98 games that require 3D acceleration, get the preconfigured GOG version if available -- or if you have a friend or family member who has some technical expertise, invest in a computer that falls into the correct age range.


It is unfortunate that GOG does not offer ALL older games, but they probably never will.
Eventually it may become easier to emulate Windows 95/98 games that require a 3D video card, but right now it is difficult and the result may be worse than running on old hardware. For these games, I'd recommend an old computer if it's possible. I don't recommend an old computer for someone without technical knowledge or without access to someone with technical knowledge, because like all computers, they eventually need repair, and not all repair shops are interested in repairing vintage computers.

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#1133910 - 12/03/17 02:41 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
oldbroad Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 04/01/06
Posts: 3199
Loc: Chicago
Whew! That's a lot of info. I love your thoroughness Jenny!

I sure wish I knew somebody who fixed old computers, or new computers for that matter. I know I probably have some easy fixes on a couple of mine but I don't know where to take them.

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#1133915 - 12/03/17 02:59 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
Draclvr Offline
Hints & Glitches forum Moderator
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 12839
Loc: In Missouri near St. Louis
Try doing a search on-line for your zip code. Then see if they have reviews available. Some places even have Facebook accounts for their businesses.
_________________________
In my PC corner for the winter, gaming, knitting and reading.

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#1133919 - 12/03/17 03:40 PM Re: how do people play older games? [Re: oldbroad]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38395
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: oldbroad
I know I probably have some easy fixes on a couple of mine but I don't know where to take them.

In the past, a nearby high school or community college might have a computer repair class, and could use your older computer as an example of how to diagnose and repair -- repairing your computer for free (or for cost of parts). But in 2017, they may not consider a Windows 98 computer to be relevant in a class intending to teach how to fix more modern computers. A lot would depend on who was teaching the class.

Another potential problem with older computers is capacitor plague -- defective capacitors being used that may leak or bulge, but may also "look" perfectly OK. This problem often affects Pentium III - Pentium IV era computers (and AMD computers from the same time period). You can have 486-era computers from the early to mid 1990's that work fine, while a computer from the early to mid 2000's fails to boot because of the bad quality capacitors that were used. Wikipedia says between 1999 and 2007.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

Not that all computers from this time period had bad capacitors, but many of them did.

Capacitors can be replaced, but it requires some expertise at soldering. And there's no guarantee that there isn't something else wrong with the motherboard.

The future of playing early Windows games that require video acceleration probably lies with programs like 86box and PCem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCem
where you install Windows 95/98 inside them
or with programs like DXWnd or dgVoodoo, which is more of a "wrapper"
https://www.play-old-pc-games.com/compatibility-tools/dgvoodoo-tutorial/

but right now it's a toss up which is the easiest and most reliable to work with. An older computer (if functional and period correct) is more apt to work properly with the games (or vice versa). If you have someone to set it up for you, the old computer is easier.

Otherwise it depends on what you enjoy doing yourself -- handling the original physical computer parts, or experimenting with various emulation software and wrappers, tweaking as necessary.

LGR recently did a video on a similar theme, where he asked various YouTube uploaders whether they used a "vintage" computer or went with emulation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CgisEFObjA

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