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The Vintage PC thread: Because MS-DOS gaming still rules

TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
edited October 2013 in Games and Technology
If you hang around dedicated retro gaming forums like Racketboy, you may have noticed a recent trend in people putting together retro gaming PCs. Unsatisfied with modern solutions such as DOSBOX, the aim of such projects is to create a gaming class PC that doesn't rely on emulation, utilizing vintage hardware. Typically, people build two class of retro gaming PCs - either a pentium class for early 3D gaming, or a 486DX class for early 2D gaming. Pentium class PCs aim to build a PC that is good for gaming from about 1995-1999, typically something like a Pentium II or Pentium III with a Voodoo 2 or Voodoo 3 video card...stuff around that level. They aim to run games like Quake II or Dark Forces, stuff that requires 3D acceleration. That's not quite what I've put together, although building a pentium-class retro PC interests me too.

Rather, I went with the good old 486DX. My fondest PC gaming memories are from my old 486DX. It wasn't my first PC - I had a CGA 8088 that I played the shit out of castlevania on - but my 486DX was the first PC to offer games that rivaled what I was playing on my consoles at the time. 486 PC gaming is characterized in a few ways - it typically showcases 256 VGA palette-indexed color, music tended to be midi from a SoundBlaster compatible card, the Gravis Gamepad was the controller supreme, and most everything was MS-DOS. There was also a heavy focus on 2D gaming, in genres more often seen on consoles than PC, with Apogee and Epic MegaGames providing everything from PC exclusive Shmups, Fighting Games, and Platformers, to normal PC fodder like Adventure and FPS games.

My goal for this DosBox was simple: I wanted a streamline box containing authentic hardware from about 1992 (no emulation or virtual PC) that would be powerful enough to run any 486-class game, that could output to my SDTV, that could be entire controller via a gamepad. The great thing about building an old computer like this is that I had most of the parts just laying around unused in closets for years now. I used a compaq Deskpro 33i as my case:

$T2eC16FHJF0E9nmFQW7mBQ+bSwYKQQ~~60_57.JPG

I've got a 33 mhz (80 mhz in turbo mode) 486DX inside with 32 mb of ram. I used an old S3 Verge ISA video card for VGA out, and installed a SoundBlaster 32 for my soundcard. The Soundblaster provides me a gameport, too, which I've filled with a variety of controllers. In addition to the usual Gravis gamepad, I also picked up a new Fighters 6 gamepad from capcom:

$T2eC16NHJIIE9qTYI1gCBQiDkehV2Q~~60_57.JPG

I got this controller originally as a pack-in with Mega Man X and it was by far my favorite PC controller of the time. It was the only 6 button gamepad for the PC I saw for a long time until this:

$T2eC16N,!)QE9s3HD)sTBQ3g(fr0,g~~60_57.JPG

I picked up new versions of both the Fighters 6 gamepad and the interact PC Gamepad 6 to go along with my gravis gamepad. I've popped in a 500 mb HDD so that I don't have to swap disks for the games I have on floppy. To get the box to my TV, I use this:

$(KGrHqNHJDkFBjY4PYeJBQh6VNu-9!~~60_3.JPG

A super cheap VGA->TV converter. You can get these for $10 on ebay, and they come highly recommended by those who have them. Apparently they don't induce lag or latency, and they have built in picture adjust so you can make your image fill an SDTV accurately.

Thus far I have Windows 3.1 on the thing:

$(KGrHqV,!lcFDyriJVW3BQ+nvScrP!~~60_57.JPG

However I plan on booting up directly into Game Launcher, a light weight DOS game launcher that can run batch programs. It has support for 256 color screenshots which'll display behind the games list and can be controlled from a PC gamepad:

mame.gif

This'll let me launch my various dos games with a smooth, console-like interface so that I'll never need to use a keyboard and mouse to navigate except to exit games.

Speaking of the games, I've busted out my old favorite DOS titles and I've been having a blast. The following are the games I grew up with and have been replaying the shit out of:


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Commander Keen. I don't have the whole series, but I have all of the newer ones (plus Keen Dreams) and they're better than the old ones anyways. Infamously running on a cloned Super Mario Bros 3 engine, it's probably the premiere retro-PC platforming series.

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Wacky Wheels, Apogee's answer to Mario kart that looks nicer, but doesn't play quite as well. It's better than most of the other copycat games of the time like Atari Karts, though, and is still a lot of fun.

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936full-star-wars%3A-tie-fighter-screenshot.jpg

X-Wing and Tie Fighter - The 3rd game, X-wing vs Tie Fighter, is more for pentium class PCs, but the first two run well on a 486. The original X-wing was one of the most engrossing games I'd ever played - I got it along with an analog flight stick at the time and got completely sucked in. These games are still a blast to play, feeling like a good mix of sim and arcade.

Tyrian%202000_5.png

Tyrian isn't the best DOS shmup nor the best remembered, but it was the first one I got and still probably my favorite. The art style still looks great, evoking that strong snes style.

Raptor_1.jpg

THIS is the shmup people remember. Raptor: Call of the Shadows is a cult classic today and remains a blast to play.

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Jazz Jackrabbit - I confess that this was my platformer of choice when I was younger over Keen. A blatant rip off of Sonic the Hedgehog that, above all else, is done well. Made by CliffyB - yes, that CliffyB.

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Jill of the Jungle - Awesome action game that never got the sequel it deserved.

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Hocus Pocus - this game seems to get overlooked when people talk about classic PC games, but it was one of the better action games at the time.

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Descent 2, I remember being very disoriented by this game early, since there is really no sense of gravity. It's like playing doom, but all around.

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Super Street Fighter II Turbo - believe it or not, this was the first version of Street Fighter I owned, although I had played the game countless number of times on the genesis, SNES, and in the arcades. I didn't know there was a difference between turbo and regular and I'd be confused when I'd go back to regular Super Street Fighter II and couldn't pull off super moves. An outstanding port that is beyond the 3DO port, but just a shy behind the saturn version.

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WWF: Wrestlemania the Arcade game - Acclaim started pumping out arcade-perfect DOS ports in 1995, and this was the first I picked up. I remember downloading a huge faq off of compuserve and really getting into the combo system in this game.

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Mortal Kombat II - I LOVE this port of the game. This is still my favorite home port. It looked, sounded, and played sooooo much better than the genesis and snes ports at the time. It was the closest home port to the arcade version for many years (and still is if we're not counting emulation). It natively supports the gravis gamepad, which only had 4 buttons instead of 5.Thus, the two punch buttons were merged into one and the moves changed to reflect this. You basically have to write your own drivers to get this game going - it used to take me DAYS to get it running - but once you did it was so awesome.

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Rise of the Triads - probably the best "doom clone" prior to Duke Nukem 3D. It invented dual wielding.

glDoom52.jpg
Doom. the big motherfucker. No introduction is needed. I remember when I first got the game - appropriately enough a bootleg from a neighbor. It was so far ahead of anything else on any system that it demanded your attention. Unlike Wolfenstein 3D, it was dark and a graphical showcase. Probably the most iconic pc game of all time.

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Terminal Velocity. this one got a sequel called Fury 3 exclusively on windows 95. Great shmup that I used as a replacement for starfox for many years. It's actually quite different, playing more like fantasy zone where you need to clear all the bases on a planet before moving on. I like the tunnel sections.

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One must fall 2097 - the best fighting game on the 486 by a long shot. Technically hundreds of characters to play from, it's surprisingly deep with regards to secrets. It's a shallow fighting game by today's standards, but still a lot of fun.

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Epic Pinball - my favorite video pinball game. I got this game piece by piece from a blockbuster video promotion where you could get one disc out of 8 for every 2 rentals. Over a summer, I eventually wound up with the full version of the game, one disc at a time. Incredible music and graphics for the time.

duke-nukem-ii_5.gif

Duke Nukem II - the best action game on the entire platform. Today duke nukem is either remembered as a joke (forever) or a pioneer (3D) but the original 2 are how I remember him primarily.

52270BEF-EB46-B17E-E117019F1267E55C.jpg

Mega Man X - this is my favorite 486 game. I have played this more than any other 486 games by far, and I played this years and years before getting the SNES version. This port is actually great for the platform, being handled by capcom themselves. There are a few cuts - namely the robot suits are missing - but the biggest change is the music. The SNES version sounds weird to me because I grew up with this:



I have a ton of other PC games that I need to try out, but those are what I've installed so far. Anybody else tried building something like this, or care to simply reminisce about great dos gaming?

TheSonicRetard on
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Posts

  • maximumzeromaximumzero I...wait, what? New Orleans, LARegistered User regular
    I certainly wish I had the free time you do to play all these games.

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  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    I certainly wish I had the free time you do to play all these games.

    Old games are short, thats why I like them so much. You can blow through and older game in an hour or so, compared to the weeks it takes me to make my way through, say, fallout 3.

  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    I can't even count how many hours I lost to Epic Pinball. It was one of the only Shareware games that I updated to the full version. I still wish we could get an Epic Pinball pack for Zen Pinball - it would be brilliant. I didn't know about the sequel to Terminal Velocity though.

    I also remember pouring hours into creating my own tilesets for EGA Mahjongg.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    Are you going after boxed games or are you relying mostly on abandonware sites? I imagine you have a collection of old pc stuff already.

    I picked up a gravis gamepad, with the little joystick nub!, from good will recently for $1. That brought back memories. I've considered something similar as I'm pretty much out of consoles to buy, last one was a 3do and im not getting a jaguar, so old pc stuff is tempting.

    Really old hardware, mainly hard drives, have me kind of on edge. Did you have to replace much or was your stuff pretty much working out of the box.

    My first pc was a Ibm XT.. in 1990.

    My first real gaming pc was a ibm ps1 which was a 386/33 if i recall with a 40mb hard drive. I got a shareware copy of doom from spencers gifts, a sentence that hits me with a huge nostalgia wave. I did not have enough memory to run it in dos so I tried virtual memory in win 3.1. It ran at about 2fps. I played tons of wolf3d and blake stone on this.

    After that I got a blazing fast p/133 from service merchandise. Suddenly doom and I think even quake was playable. Along with emulators, which led me to playing cps1 and neogeo stuff, some of it for the first time.

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  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    I did the same thing only with basically the most tricked out P1 ever so I could run all the Windows 95 games as well.

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  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Madpanda wrote: »
    Are you going after boxed games or are you relying mostly on abandonware sites? I imagine you have a collection of old pc stuff already.

    I picked up a gravis gamepad, with the little joystick nub!, from good will recently for $1. That brought back memories. I've considered something similar as I'm pretty much out of consoles to buy, last one was a 3do and im not getting a jaguar, so old pc stuff is tempting.

    Really old hardware, mainly hard drives, have me kind of on edge. Did you have to replace much or was your stuff pretty much working out of the box.

    My first pc was a Ibm XT.. in 1990.

    My first real gaming pc was a ibm ps1 which was a 386/33 if i recall with a 40mb hard drive. I got a shareware copy of doom from spencers gifts, a sentence that hits me with a huge nostalgia wave. I did not have enough memory to run it in dos so I tried virtual memory in win 3.1. It ran at about 2fps. I played tons of wolf3d and blake stone on this.

    After that I got a blazing fast p/133 from service merchandise. Suddenly doom and I think even quake was playable. Along with emulators, which led me to playing cps1 and neogeo stuff, some of it for the first time.

    I always go for full boxed if possible. Some of these games didn't come in boxes, though, they were shipped in floppy disc sleeves with thick manuals/guides, like Doom II. But yeah,all this is stuff I had back in the day. I kept all the boxes, too. Those PC longboxes are still awesome to look at.

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Games I loved on my 486/66 w/ 16 Meg's ram.

    1.Alien Legacy
    2. Metal Marines (technically win 3.1)
    3. Syndicate
    4. Unnatural selection

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

    Nothing that I remember...I've had every PC iteration from the XT8086 to current.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

    Nothing that I remember...I've had every PC iteration from the XT8086 to current.

    Try running some of Konami's early PC ports on a pentium PC. Stuff like Contra or Castlevania. It's unplayable. You can play such games on a 486DX running in half-speed mode.
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Games I loved on my 486/66 w/ 16 Meg's ram.

    1.Alien Legacy
    2. Metal Marines (technically win 3.1)
    3. Syndicate
    4. Unnatural selection

    Good Call on Syndicate, but a lot of those types of games I have on my Amiga. For example, I have all the big adventure games, like Monkey Island and Indiana Jones, on the Amiga. Some of those games take better advantage of Amiga hardware.

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  • ZxerolZxerol for the smaller pieces, my shovel wouldn't do so i took off my boot and used my shoeRegistered User regular
    yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis

    this shit here, this shit is my jam homie

  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    A friend had a 486 SX computer, I remember trying to get countless games running that shouldn't have (Fatal Racing, FX Fighter). IIRC the SX couldn't do floating point calculations? Anyway, we used to have a blast playing on some stunt game where you could create your own track. The physics were so glitchy you could launch yourself 60 foot in to the air.

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  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Ha, I have FX Fighter, I remember specifically tracking that game down. I followed its development from SNES to PC and, for whatever reason, was dying to try it out. When I finally got it, I was so damn disappointed. I don't remember which PC I had at the time, so it could have either been a 486 at 133 mhz or a similar speed pentium.

    I have a lot of games from around that time period, too. I plan on building myself a Voodoo 3 box to play stuff like Street Fighter Alpha 2, Resident Evil 2, Quake 2, Quake 3, Half-life, etc. But not till later.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

    Nothing that I remember...I've had every PC iteration from the XT8086 to current.

    Try running some of Konami's early PC ports on a pentium PC. Stuff like Contra or Castlevania. It's unplayable. You can play such games on a 486DX running in half-speed mode.

    Sooooo...basically shit that was badly ported and didn't work all that well even on a 486?

    Esh on
  • LanrutconLanrutcon Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Sir, let me just say that you have excellent taste in games. Reading through the OP gave me warm fuzzy feelings aplenty.

    /salute

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  • JimboJimbo down underRegistered User regular
    Wow, what a nostalgia trip! Brings back memories for sure. I love reading your threads SonicRetard.

    I spent so much time with X-wing back in the day, loved it.

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    No Wing Commander love?

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

    Nothing that I remember...I've had every PC iteration from the XT8086 to current.

    Try running some of Konami's early PC ports on a pentium PC. Stuff like Contra or Castlevania. It's unplayable. You can play such games on a 486DX running in half-speed mode.

    Sooooo...basically shit that was badly ported and didn't work all that well even on a 486?

    Except for it not working "all that well," yeah?
    Esh wrote: »
    No Wing Commander love?

    I have Wing Commander on the Amiga CD32, as well as all the 3DO releases. i just don't associate the games with the 486, because I never played the original PC versions. I played the 3DO versions first.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Is there really any reason at all to go with a 486 over an early Pentium? It's not like the Pentium is going to run the older 486 games too quickly or anything.

    The problem would be that an early pentium is too slow to really take advantage of pentium gaming - a pentium class PC for me would be several hundred megahertz with a voodoo 3 and stuff like that. The sort of pentium that can run 486 software won't be able to run, say, quake 3.

    Plus, there actually are compatibility problems with some older games. Including, but not limited to, speed issues.

    Nothing that I remember...I've had every PC iteration from the XT8086 to current.

    Try running some of Konami's early PC ports on a pentium PC. Stuff like Contra or Castlevania. It's unplayable. You can play such games on a 486DX running in half-speed mode.

    Sooooo...basically shit that was badly ported and didn't work all that well even on a 486?

    Are you... arguing an incorrect point just for the sake of arguing a point? Stop and reevaluate.

    The awesome SSI turn based strategy game Dark Legions (not the be confused with The Dark Legions) is another awesome game that is unplayable on a Pentium. The scroll speed is too fast. This is depressing to me, since my classic gaming machine is a Pentium MMX 166MHz/32MB RAM/2GB Hard Drive/2MB SVGA/12.1" 800x600/10X CD-ROM/33.6k/"Sound Blaster 16 Compatible" Toshiba Satellite that was built back in 1996. Unfortunately it isn't with me right now, so I've been stuck using DOSBox or playing the odd DOS game that runs fine in XP until I can get it back.

    Having a laptop as a classic gaming machine is awesome. Although I lost the ability to alter my hardware, I am able to play DOS and early DirectX games on a system that isn't enormous, heavy, and loud. The model I have even shipped with a single USB 1.1 port, which is nice. It is a colossal pain in the ass to get mass storage support worked into Windows 95, but HID works fine, so I can use a USB mouse without issue.

    My goal is to one day build a machine that I can run Dark Legions on, and then play a direct dial multiplayer game with another person.

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  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    Wacky Wheels and Rise of the Triads. You're living the damn dream TSR.

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  • seabassseabass Doctor MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    So, how do you deal with all of the wacky memory configurations of the dos era? EMM, EXM, etc?

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  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    My argument for going P1 over 486 is that there is a much larger group of built for win 95 early Direct X games that simply refuse to play right on any other OS or configuration. I've run into a few classic titles that didn't play nice with the clock speed to be sure but considering what you get in return you're doing pretty well.

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Man, X-Wing and Tie Fighter. I remember playing that thing for hours on my parents' 386 machine. When I got real ballsy (bored), I would challenge the nearest star destroyer and try to take it down. I had a flightstick too, which made it all that much better. I can't imagine playing a flying game with keyboard + mouse.

    Lilnoobs on
  • quarthinosquarthinos Registered User regular
    Lilnoobs wrote: »
    Man, X-Wing and Tie Fighter. I remember playing that thing for hours on my parents' 386 machine. When I got real ballsy (bored), I would challenge the nearest star destroyer and try to take it down. I had a flightstick too, which made it all that much better. I can't imagine playing a flying game with keyboard + mouse.

    Taking down a Star Destroyer wasn't hard in X-Wing, as you could do a barrel roll + loop and they'd never hit you. So Lucas changed the control scheme and made that maneuver impossible in TIE Fighter. It was a bit more challenging there, but I've done it with a TIE Bomber (one of the unshielded ones, no less).

  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    One of the games I sunk a ridiculous amount of time in to was Skyroads, and I'm pretty sure I only ever had the "shareware" version. I'd love a Vita version of this games to play on the train.

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  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    I completely forgot about skyroads holy hell.

    I've seen a few CompactFlash > IDE adapters, any idea how well those work?

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  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    Madpanda wrote: »
    I completely forgot about skyroads holy hell.

    I've seen a few CompactFlash > IDE adapters, any idea how well those work?

    I have one installed in my amiga 1200. Its very reliable and fast. Should my hdd fail, id replace it with a cf flash kit.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    So I've still got a bunch of 486 stuff in the mail, but I ran across this the other day:

    cwd.jpg

    The Unisys CWD, a brand of 486 computers from the late 90's that are tiny in form factor. They don't have enough room for a CD rom drive, and can only take laptop form factor HDDs and floppy disk drives. It has a parallel port, though, so you can connect an external CD rom drive. The system is TINY - you can fit one Soundblaster 16 inside and that's it. It has an integrated S3 Verge derived graphics card inside. The system is 8" x 11" x 3" big. That is roughly the size of a bunch of pieces of printer paper stacked on top of each other.

    for comparison:

    SDC10273.jpg

    They come in a variety of configurations. I ordered a 486DX 133 mhz model and its being shipped to me now. These 486s are made specifically to be form factor and tiny.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    No Master of Orion, Civ, or Master of Magic?

    Also, man, I loved Raptor. And Commander Keen.

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  • darleysamdarleysam UKRegistered User regular
    I would love to have the time and willpower to do something like this for myself, because I'm getting a lot of happy memories as I scroll down this page.

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  • maximumzeromaximumzero I...wait, what? New Orleans, LARegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Every now and then I'm tempted to track down a Packard Bell, which was my first computer.

    The casing looked identical to this:

    s_p_33471_1.jpg

    486SX 25mhz, 4MB of RAM (Which I later upgraded to 8MB), 200MB HDD, 2x CD-Rom

    pbnav11.png

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    darleysam wrote: »
    I would love to have the time and willpower to do something like this for myself, because I'm getting a lot of happy memories as I scroll down this page.

    Walk into a Goodwill. Buy an old computer for what it costs to get lunch nowadays. Done.

    TychoCelchuuu
  • maximumzeromaximumzero I...wait, what? New Orleans, LARegistered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Also, oh man I had Mega Man X. I accidentally ran over the CD with my bicycle one day, whoops.

    I still have Street Fighter II on floppy somewhere around here.

    I had a ton of those "1000 in 1" CDs as a child so I've played just about every early 90s shareware game you can think of.

    Those were the days.

    Edit: One notable omission from the OP I'm noticing is Mystic Towers:

    mystic1.gif

    maximumzero on
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  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    One of my biggest thrills as a PC gamer came from one of those CDs. I was addicted to EGA Majong by Nels Anderson. So much in fact that when I saw a CD at Radio Shack that contained both the game and 600+ tilesets I bought it because of course BBSs at the time limited how much you could download at a time so I didn't have that many sets to play with.

    Imagine my surprise to find that my tileset featuring horrible late 80's/90's bands and cartoon characters was actually on the disc! It means somewhere out there, someone probably loaded my tileset long enough to say "wow, that's terrible" and move onto the next one.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Every now and then I'm tempted to track down a Packard Bell, which was my first computer.

    The casing looked identical to this:

    s_p_33471_1.jpg

    486SX 25mhz, 4MB of RAM (Which I later upgraded to 8MB), 200MB HDD, 2x CD-Rom

    pbnav11.png

    I still have my (and my father's) first PC in working condition. It was an epson 8088. 2 5.25" floppy drives (no 3.5"), a 10 mb HDD, glorious CGA graphics, either 512 kb of ram or 1 mb. The thing ran at 7 mhz, my Sega Genesis was faster. We later installed an EGA video card similar to this one:

    KL_Genoa_EGA.jpg

    The video card is over 12" long.

    Played the fuck out of Castlevania, Contra, TMNT, Gradius, etc on the thing.

    edit: ha, I'm trying to find a case that looks like my 8088, but without luck. However, I did run across my first laptop:

    20110711-_1010485-11.jpg

    An epson PX-16. It wasn't an x86 PC, it was some other weird CPU. It could connect to the internet, had a word processor and spreadsheet applications, and ran DOS. I could run a version of GW basic on it. It supported no games. The screen is an LCD dot matrix, black and white only. A customary guess would say, maybe, 80x30 characters big?

    So primitive. I hated the thing.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    As for life-consuming shareware, my dad and I became obsessed with this little shareware game called Kye. It came on one of those xx-in-1 shareware floppies, and ran in windows 3.1. We figured out that levels were stored in text files and made levels beyond the shareware version. We tried tracking down a full copy for ages until, finally, someone released the source for the thing, ported it to modern systems, and released the full level packs:

    http://xye.sourceforge.net/kye.php

    kye.png

    So much fun with that game. I loved shareware, either downloading it from a BBS or buying a floppy with shareware games on it. Every PC game I owned from epic mega games or apogee came from shareware originally. One game that I loved that I never got the full version of was Dare to Dream, an Epic Adventure game that was actually CliffyB's first commercial release. It was one of my first adventure games, and it is the main reason I eventually got Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (because a guy in a computer shop recommended it to me when I was looking for the full version).

    Speaking of computer shops, there's a relic that has gone wayside. I remember as a kid there were two types of stores which are uncommon today. One was a PC game store - it sold NOTHING but PC games. Wall to wall boxed PC games. Such a place is unfathomable today. I remember spending ages looking through the store, as most games were actually shareware demos or garbage budget releases - you had to have an even more discerning eye than usual if you bought from stores like that. I remember picking up Ninja Gaiden 2 in the store for DOS and hating it - it was a port of the Amiga game, so 1 button is all you got. It looked and sounded like ninja gaiden, but didn't play like it. IIRC the controls were like you had to hold the button and tap up to swipe your sword - every time you pressed up while holding the button, you attacked. If you let go of the button, you jumped. If you pressed up first and then pressed the button, you used magic. You could eventually get used to it and fool people watching into thinking it was just like the NES version, but it wasn't fun.

    The other kind of store was the PC specialty store, where they sold PC hardware. Today, if you want hardware, you usually go into a fry's or microcenter, or more realistically order online. There was no such places in 1988. You went to ratty hole-in-the-wall shops maybe 20'x20' big with a flyer in hand to tell the people the model number you wanted, and they'd go in the back and bring you your motherboard or CPU or whatever. They had walls of junked PC parts you could buy cheap - a joystick for $5 or a soundcard for $10. Stuff like that. The one I went to was called Micro Cache - they still exist in houston, actually. When I went, they were so popular that lines would actually snake outside of the shop around the building a few times. Being able to get cheap PC stuff without shipping in the 80's without waiting was unreal, especially since they sold used hardware. They sort of peaked in popularity around 1995 and today the shop is a ghost town. Still hold a lot of nostalgia for them, though.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • MadpandaMadpanda Registered User regular
    The serial port card on my XT was roughly the size of that video card. I have to imagine it did more than just provide a serial port but in those days who knows.

    I too have memories of going to PC stores, tons of obscure stuff about the size of your average gamestop but all pc games.

    I also remember hitting up shareware displays at the local used book stores.

    In looking for retro games I don't think I have ever seen an old PC at goodwill, obviously they all differ. I've seen a few at flea markets and there's actually a used pc/electronics store near me that still is somehow in business.

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    Steam/PSN/XBL/Minecraft / LoL / - Benevicious | WoW - Duckwood - Rajhek
  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    No Jazz Jackrabbit TSR? I'm sort of surprised!

    Whoops, the image wasn't loading for me, there it is. I love that game.

    While we might disagree on a lot of Sega stuff your taste in old PC games is impeccable.

    Xenogears of Bore on
    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    Edit: One notable omission from the OP I'm noticing is Mystic Towers:

    mystic1.gif

    I had this game via a shareware CD-ROM that had a toooooooooooooon of games. It was an official promotion disc with a CD-ROM drive we bought. I never got into it, but I was younger, so that can change.

    Also, no love for Blake Stone?

    Raptor was fucking awesoooooooooooooooooome. Tyrian was a game I saw once when I was in sixth grade or so, and I wanted to play it sooooooooooooo much but I never got the game. I will someday.

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