If you like me sometimes need a fix of retro gaming there’s quite a few way to get around it without to much hazzle.
But please remember that playing old games might get you in a state of “what is this, thats not the same totally awesome game I played 20 years ago” – why no online mode, no Full HD, no Facebook & Instagram sharing features.
Actually the best way to go into 100% retro mode is not just to play those old games on your laptop or on your 24″ screen but to do it the right way by using the same old hardware as you used 25 years ago but lets face it in our modern lifestyle we don’t really have the time and energy to pull out 50kg’s of hardware to play for an hour or two.
If you have the time do pull out (or buy your favourite hardware) and grab that beautiful big-box from your shelf… yes that box weighing in at a staggering 0.5 kg with 500 pages of manual etc. this will for sure get your juices flowing with nostalgic feelings and you might just forget to check up on your Facebook page to see what the guy, you only spoke to once in your biology class in the 5th grade, had for dinner.
With that said keep reading to see how you can play those retro games.
In this article we will look at:
- Boxer (Mac OS X)
- DOSBox (Windows, Mac OS, Linux…)
- GOG (Windows, Mac OS)
- Steam (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
- Games and Peripherals
Boxer is a small application for MacOSX and it works flawlessly – just like most Mac stuff it is simple and pretty with a very straight forward setup of your games. A cool thing about it is that it will make a link in your favourites and here all your installed games will show (you can setup covers etc). Now you just have to click the game you want to play.
First you’ll need to install Boxer – you can download the app here, where you also will find documentation etc.
After installing run the application and a small window will popup.
All you need now is to drag your game folder into this window and Boxer will automatically run the setup/install files for the game – or just the game executable. Usually you don’t have to change the parameters when setting up a game otherwise Boxer will keep you guided with sound card irq’s, dma’s etc.
After installing the game Boxer will ask if you want to play the game and show the executables now you just click on the one you think makes most sense – If you just installed let’s say King’s Quest V Boxer will probably show kg5.exe or something like that (remember in the old days filenames could only be 8 letters + 3 for extension like .exe, .com…)
While playing you can always change Boxer’s settings to run slower, faster, change input methods, fullscreen…
GOG.com, Good Old Games (Windows+Mac OS)
If you don’t like to fiddle around and just want to play – lets be honest sometimes we just want it the easy way – no looking around for the original game on your shelf or on the internet GOG.com might be the right place for you.
GOG.com is a cloud based service where you for a small price can buy your favourite old games (with no DRM meaning you can take backups or install it on multiple machines without problems). Most games have a lot of extras like Videos, Manuals, Soundtracks, Wallpaper, etc…
Visit GOG.com here and see what it is all about.
Most of the games will run on your Windows PC but GOG also has a selection of games for Mac OS. I do like GOG a lot because of it’s a very open environment with very few limitations you can feel it is made by gamers for gamers.
Steam (Windows, Mac OS,Linux)
Games and Peripherals
Of course when all is said and done you will still need to get a hold of the games you want to play, maybe you will have a collection on your shelfs you can pull down and use but lets be honest who has a 5.25″ disk drive or even a 3.5″ disk drive nowadays to read these old disk in your modern computer and if you have you’ll never know if the disks can be read after all these years.
If you would like to have the originals with box and everything eBay will probably be your best answer here you’ll find everything and anything but you are probably not the only one on lookout so watch those prices. eBay collecting and game collecting in general will have its own topic in the future.
A lot of sellers test their items before they sell and that’s you opportunity to get a working copy.
An easier way is to download legal (or illegal) from the internet. A lot of software has reach the fields of abandon meaning nobody owns the ip anymore…well in many cases thats actually up for despute and a discussion we shouldn’t take here. Abandonware sites exist “en masse”. Below you see a few:
Download from these sources and use your favourite DOS emulator to play them on your system.
I know most DOS games didn’t really utilise the joystick like the C64 or Amiga did (unless when we talk flight simulators) but you can still get yourself either a modern retro USB joystick or buy one of you favourites from that period.
I can recommend the Speedlink Competition Pro USB stick it well fits in your USB port and works like a charm. You can find this on eBay, Amazon or just google for it.
If you like me have a personal favourite from your heyday of gaming chances are you can find it on eBay as well and then you’ll just need a small adapter that translate the old 9 pin serial cable to USB.
My favourites are the “The Arcade” from Suzo and the “Wico Command” I mainly use these when playing Amiga – both works perfectly with DOS and Amiga emulation via the adapter. Search on eBay for “USB Joystick adapter” and you’ll find heaps of adapters – make sure thou that they fit your joystick/gamepad (9 pin, 15 pin, etc.)