Windows, Mac, DOS, and all those-other personal computing platforms
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isiolia
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:35 am

dsheinem wrote:out of curiousity, how much old PC software is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

With consoles I feel like it is a very different ball of wax because of emulation limitations (especially with special console-specific controllers/hardware/accessories). What can you do (or do better) with a Windows 95/98 machine that I can't do on my new PC?


To me, it might depend on the particular era being targeted. I think for pre-3D accelerator stuff, DOSBox is likely a better solution outside of wanting the aesthetics/authenticity of old hardware. Being fair, quite a lot of console stuff is the same way.

Looking more at maybe later 90s to early 2000s though, and you can run into more issues. With the Windows on DOS to Windows NT transition (and later 64-bit transition), various DRM implementations, 3D card support, hard checks for particular DirectX versions...

There are still quite a lot of bigger name games from that time period that have been repackaged and made readily available on GOG or whatnot. However, it's also more the era of software that'd be more common to find in the wild.
Something of particular note (which I know noise ran into) is that Windows 10 blocks a lot of the disc-based DRM schemes outright. From a basic security standpoint, that's a good thing. However, it might mean that playing an original disc copy of a game that uses one without hunting down a no-disc crack (if one exists) difficult.

I suspect that little is unplayable without simply keeping a 98 or XP box around for it, but it might be simpler than "rebuy game on GOG" or setting up a virtual machine yourself and fiddling with it.
For some of us, it's also just a nostalgia trip (or could be).
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by noiseredux Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:52 am

isiolia wrote:Something of particular note (which I know noise ran into) is that Windows 10 blocks a lot of the disc-based DRM schemes outright. From a basic security standpoint, that's a good thing. However, it might mean that playing an original disc copy of a game that uses one without hunting down a no-disc crack (if one exists) difficult.


yeah I thought to mention that as well. It's one thing if I can't play my physical copy of GTA3 because I could always suck it up and re-buy that on Steam. But there are definitely games that never got digital re-releases that have SecureROM/etc DRM - most recently I ran into this with Castlevania & Contra (the Konami Collectors Series).

Besides the DRM, I've had issues running my old Dragon's Lair on Win10 (but re-bought that on Steam anyway). But I can say that older stuff (like Qwirks) that was made for Win 3.1 is pretty impossible to run in Win10 proper... I'm not sure how easily that stuff runs on 98, though?
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:07 am

dsheinem wrote:out of curiousity, how much old PC software is there that can't be played or emulated well on modern machines? Are there serious emulation limitations in something like DOSBox, for example? I'm trying to understand the appeal of futzing around with old hardware for PCs...

With consoles I feel like it is a very different ball of wax because of emulation limitations (especially with special console-specific controllers/hardware/accessories). What can you do (or do better) with a Windows 95/98 machine that I can't do on my new PC?


For me, I don't feel that consoles are a different ball of wax. I want to use an old PC for the same reasons I want to use a real console versus emulation. There's something neat about shoving a floppy disk into the drive and hearing it click into place, and hearing the game load off of it ::ZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ::

I know that it's possible to get older games working on newer hardware and OSes, but since I have the older PCs, I rather use them since compatibility is 100% rather than fiddling around with trying to get it working.

DOSbox is great, and I use it often (mostly with GoG purchases). But again, there's just some kind of magic for me with loading a game off a floppy disk. It's the same as plugging a SNES or Genesis cart into the console.

And for me, it's not just about gaming. I like messing around on the old PCs and reminiscing. I enjoy using Windows 98 and XP, as in, the OS itself. I also collect (to a lesser extent than games) old software. I'm not gonna run outdated Corel software on my modern PC when I have stuff like MS Office, Open Office, Photoshop, etc. I just get a kick out of playing with this old stuff.

But mostly, I currently have the space. If it weren't for that, I don't know if I would. I mean, I would probably keep ONE computer for Win98. But if I didn't have the space, I wouldn't be looking to set up an entire computer lab.

I haven't tried all of them, but I'm sure most of my XP era games would work fine on my Win7 PC. But if I have multiple XP machines set up in the basement, and networked together, I can have LAN parties. I'm looking forward to doing some multiplayer in Doom II, Counter Strike, Halo (the first one, I played a lot of this online with my friends back then), etc.

fastbilly1 wrote:
Ziggy587 wrote:Then there was RAMBUS memory, which was just about the worst thing ever. I never understood why it held its value for so long. Even after it was out dated, used eBay prices stayed high. I bought a 512MB kit for a decent price, but I had to pay a lot of money for a 1GB kit. Again, it was worth it because I couldn't afford a new build and that extra RAM got the job done.

Do you need more? I have 2 gigs of it in my box of parts that I just cant throw away.

RAMBUS was much faster and stabler than SDram and became a right place right time situation, since Intel started using it on high end motherboards. Sure it was proprietary and had higher latency and heat output, but back in the late 90s it was used in everything from servers to video editing bays - AVID editors required RDram. Thankfully DDR killed it, giving equal speed at lower latency, heat, and price. But if you didnt know, RDram is what is in the N64 & Expansion pack aswell. And I think they made the ram for the PS3.


2GB, as in 4 x 512MB sticks? Yeah, I would be very interested in that! PM me if you want.

I knew that the N64 used RDRAM, as well as other stuff at the time. I always just resented it because of the price. None of the other drawbacks ever bothered me much. Must be installed in matching pairs, must use dummy sticks, required heat spreader because they heat up quite a bit, and super expensive.

When I was in high school, the family computer also used RDRAM. The computer came with 256MB of RAM, which was OK for XP pre-service packs. But I think it was SP2 that really required 512MB bare minimum, and that left almost nothing left over. A 512MB kit wasn't too bad, but you had to pay out the ass for a used 1GB kit.
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isiolia
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:12 am

noiseredux wrote:
Besides the DRM, I've had issues running my old Dragon's Lair on Win10 (but re-bought that on Steam anyway). But I can say that older stuff (like Qwirks) that was made for Win 3.1 is pretty impossible to run in Win10 proper... I'm not sure how easily that stuff runs on 98, though?


I suspect it'd work fine, but not 100% sure.

Something that does crop up occasionally is 16-bit software. Technically, Windows applications could be 32-bit since 3.11 or so. However, not everything was, and there were plenty of things that just kept being used (or updated) and never rewritten as 32 or later 64-bit applications. We still have a handful of applications at work that are 16-bit. :?
That can be relevant because 64-bit Windows drops general 16-bit application compatibility. There are some sort-of exceptions for specific things, like WISE installers, because a lot of those remained 16-bit while the applications they were installing were 32-bit.

For some of those cases, it's simply a matter of running 32-bit Windows. They still make 32-bit Windows 10, and it'll run 16-bit applications that the 64-bit version can't. I'd suspect that'd include a lot of Windows 3.0 era applications.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:21 am

noiseredux wrote:But I can say that older stuff (like Qwirks) that was made for Win 3.1 is pretty impossible to run in Win10 proper... I'm not sure how easily that stuff runs on 98, though?


That Windows 3.x stuff will work on Win 9x, and I never had a problem using that kind of stuff on 32-bit XP either.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:01 pm

noiseredux wrote:But I can say that older stuff (like Qwirks) that was made for Win 3.1 is pretty impossible to run in Win10 proper... I'm not sure how easily that stuff runs on 98, though?


It may be possible to get it running in DOSbox, because DOSbox can run Win 3.1, IIRC.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:14 pm

marurun wrote:
noiseredux wrote:But I can say that older stuff (like Qwirks) that was made for Win 3.1 is pretty impossible to run in Win10 proper... I'm not sure how easily that stuff runs on 98, though?


It may be possible to get it running in DOSbox, because DOSbox can run Win 3.1, IIRC.


I tried doing that once. I actually have a Win 3.11 DOSbox setup that I play around with sometimes. I don't like the DOS version of Sim City 2000, I had the Windows version when I was young. I installed SC2K in Win 3.11 in DOSbox, and while it works, it's not optimal. The color palette is wrong, and I don't know how to fix it (IF it's fixable). I also couldn't figure out how to get sound working, not just for the game but for the OS itself.

Assuming the above AV issues could be fixed, as I'm pretty sure they can be, it's still a case of it being much easier to install and play these old games on an actual Win 9x PC versus a modern PC with or without DOSbox. If my situation ever changes and I no longer have the room to accommodate another computer desk (let alone the several I plan to set up) I would at the very least try to find a smaller PC that I could run Win98 on and KVM it with my modern PC.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:52 pm

What about in a virtual machine?
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by Ziggy587 Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:10 pm

I have XP and 98 set up using Windows Virtual PC. It's OK for a few things, but it's not for gaming. Especially not 3D gaming. For example, Sim City 2000 is somewhat playable but there's horrible screen tearing IIRC. SimCity Classic played OK. Monkey Island 3 is just completely unplayable, the cut scenes are messed up. I think The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain played OK, but I can't remember exactly. Those are the only games I've tried to play.

Of course, Windows Virtual PC is not meant for gaming, so we can use this example to define anything. I don't know how other virtual PC software fairs because I have yet to try any. There was a recent post about it, the last 6 months I think, that some one talked about the different virtual PC software available in regards to gaming. I forgot what was said, and I can't remember what thread that was in. It was a pretty long and informative post though.
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
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Re: The Retro PC Thread

by noiseredux Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:16 pm

That was isiolia.
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