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Ask Slashdot: DOSBox, or DOS Box?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the mind-the-gap dept.

Operating Systems 585

An anonymous reader writes "Are DOS game emulators like the highly-respectable DOSBox good enough now, or is there still no substitute for the real thing? Like a lot of Slashdotters I'm getting older and simplifying, which means tossing out old junk. Which means The Closet full of DOS era crap. And I'm hesitating — should I put aside things like the ISA SoundBlaster with gameport? Am I trashing things that some fellow geek somewhere truly needs to preserve the old games? Or can I now truck all this stuff down to recycling without a twinge of guilt? (Younger folk who didn't play DOOM at 320x200 should really resist commenting this time. Let the Mods keep them off our lawn.)"

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Meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173126)

chocolate-doom, that's all you need

Re:Meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173340)

and niggers on tv. lots of niggers on every commercial. they're 13 percent of the population but that won't stop us from putting them in 90 percent of all commercials and shows because dammit we have an agenda to persue! lots of niggers.

Long term... (5, Interesting)

seifried (12921) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173130)

We're better off with DOSbox, emulators tend to last a lot longer than physical hardware. Plus we can just keep layering emulators (DOSBox in Linux in VMware on top of whatever comes next).

Re:Long term... (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173284)

Unless your game is using a non-standard keyboard. Example: Try playing Sid Meier's Red Storm Rising on an emulator. Since he wrote it to work with a C64 keyboard, you really need a C64. Hence the need for the original hardware.

But other than that, yes I agree emulators are easier to maintain and keep working. Unless you are playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time which uses the unique N64 controller, and is nigh-impossible to play on an emulator.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time (2)

MrTrick (673182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173354)

Plays well enough with an Xbox360 controller. (In fact, they are fantastic for most console emulation) Don't even bother trying to play N64 games with a Playstation controller, blecch.

Re:Long term... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173450)

There's Red Storm Rising for DOS too...

Re:Long term... (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173572)

So you're emulating the C64 version of RSR? My One True RSR (fired up mere weeks ago in DOSbox, though sadly without keyboard overlay) is the DOS version. Thus the thread title.

Re:Long term... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173650)

You can get USB adapters for n64 controllers. They work really well with emulators.

Re:Long term... (2)

mellon (7048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173596)

Yup. Also, it's not that hard to reverse engineer the hardware the game expects to talk to if you really want to play it. Actually, in my foggy memory of Apple ][ game hacking, I am pretty sure that hacking the game was more fun than playing it anyway.

FWIW... (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173134)

...I still have an SB8 sitting in the drawer, right next to me.

no substitute for the real thing (5, Informative)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173140)

Not for DOS-era games, but the ones that came just after that (Dungeon Keeper 2, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Need For Speed 4, etc)

I've spent a lot of hours trying to get those games running reliably in a Win7 environment with no success (compatibility mode, virtual machines, etc).

Re:no substitute for the real thing (1)

diodeus (96408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173276)

I used to play Duke Nukem 3D multi-player over Kali (on the net) with Friends. It was a lot of fun. I've never been able to get it working properly on the 'net with anything newer than Win98. I used to keep a separate box round, just for that. I've probably tried a dozen emulators, not no luck. I miss my laser trip-bombs. Not even DOSBox could make it work.

Re:no substitute for the real thing (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173314)

Probably won't help, but hopefully Duke Nukem Forever will have the lazer mines, pipe bombs, shrink ray, and everything from the original. A very nice level editor would be nice too, just for old time's sake

Re:no substitute for the real thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173600)

Why not skip the emulators and go opensource on the Duke?
See: http://eduke32.com/

Re:no substitute for the real thing (1)

jluzwick (1465485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173300)

Drogo, I was able to get DK2 working on my Win7 Machine after countless hours of messing with settings. I can tell you how to do it once I get home, but from what I remember it involved setting up the right properties on the shortcut and then modifying a specific registry key in the games registry folder, related to the graphics, to get it to run properly. Anyways, PM me or reply to this if you are interested. DK2 is so great.

Re:no substitute for the real thing (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173326)

I agree... For some reason, I've never been able to run ST: Armada in a stable fashion on my XP box. It always ends up crashing or kicking me to the desktop. Same goes for the floppy edition of Tie Fighter. (that one will also end up crashing if it's not run on a standard SB16). I'm keeping an old 800Mhz P3 running 98SE for that purpose. I could go all the way and rebuild my oc'ed 5x86 on DOS 6.22, but I really don;t see the point as all DOS and Win9x-era games can be run on that machine.

Re:no substitute for the real thing (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173510)

Armada is a weird game with newer software. In my experience, it will run perfectly in Windows 98, but anything after 98 except ME and certain Win7 installations (haven't dicked around enough to get a pattern) don't ever get the sound properly working in combat (cut scenes still work for the most part though). I've never had a crash problem except when alt+tabbing though...

Re:no substitute for the real thing (5, Interesting)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173546)

Yeah, the games designed for Win98 just don't work well on anything after XP. Most don't work that well in XP, either.

Here's a fantastic rig for Win98 games:

1GHz P3 on an AOpen A34 motherboard
256MB RAM
GeForce 2 AGP video card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz audio card
Intel Pro/100 Ethernet
500GB HD

Running Windows 98SE with the unofficial 2.1a service pack, DX9, MP9, IE6, and KernelEx to run more recent browsers.

The nice thing about the above hardware combo is that it was supported until fairly recently - most of the kinks have been worked out in the supported games. The GeForce 2 has enough horsepower to play nearly every 98 era game at 1024x768 res as fast as your monitor can refresh.

Re:no substitute for the real thing (3, Informative)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173640)

Try Linux. Seriously. I've gotten a lot of the older Westwood games (original Command and Conquer and Red Alert, Renegade, etc) to run perfectly under Wine (or occasionally Cedega, though I can't remember if that was actually necessary -- I just happened to be using it at the time) when I couldn't get them to run no matter what I tried under XP.

Why don't you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173148)

go and play portal gramps!

Doom? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173156)

I played Wolfenstein 3d at 320x200 -- on a good day!

Actually, I played Wolfenstein (2d) on a "flippy" disk in my day.

Get off my lawn . . . I've still got my C=64!

Re:Doom? (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173204)

Get off my lawn - I still have my Commodore VIC-20 ;)

Re:Doom? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173266)

Get off my lawn - I still have my Commodore VIC-20 ;)

If it works, you win!

Re:Doom? (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173356)

I win then. It works, as does the Atari 400, the Commodore Pet, the Apple II (no bloody c, e, g or gs), and Commodore 64 I've got. I collect old computers for a hobby, but I mentioned the VIC because I've owned it since it was bought for my 8th birthday. It and its *tape* drive are still in operating condition. I also own several old game consoles, and my dad has a working IBM mini computer from 1970 (can't remember the model number, but it has 8" disk drives). When I retire I'll start a museum.

Re:Doom? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173504)

So, get out much?

Re:Doom? (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173534)

Outside is a myth. :)

Re:Doom? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173294)

I still my C-64 and VIC-20, they both work, and have powered them up in the last year.

Lawn, edge, you know where it is.

Re:Doom? (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173364)

Get off my lawn.
I still have the Atari VCS made in 1977.
- AND I still have the original ~1975 television that I used to play it on when I was a kid! It simply refuses to die. ;-)

Re:Doom? (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173442)

Apparently so do you, grandpa ;-)

Re:Doom? (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173494)

Heavy Sixer?

-uso.

Re:Doom? (1)

Discopete (316823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173220)

hm, while we're waving peckers, I've still got an Apple IIe & IIgs, a C128, a semi functional Imsai 8080
and a Kaypro of some indeterminate type (can't remember which model {huge, heavy blue thing}) (the kaypro is in storage. )

On that note, I use VPC for anything that requires an older version of windows and DOSbox for any other app that requires an older intel based proc.

Re:Doom? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173318)

hm, while we're waving peckers, I've still got an Apple IIe & IIgs, a C128, a semi functional Imsai 8080 and a Kaypro of some indeterminate type (can't remember which model {huge, heavy blue thing}) (the kaypro is in storage. )

On that note, I use VPC for anything that requires an older version of windows and DOSbox for any other app that requires an older intel based proc.

Our wrinkly peckers, perhaps.

But do you know what's really funny? I found a program in my archives a coupla months back called "386whoa.com". It slowed down a 386 enough that you could play 8088 games that depended on hardware timing. Now that makes me feel old.

Re:Doom? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173618)

Being old and hoarding garbage is nothing to be proud of.

Try it and see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173158)

Another satisfied customer. Next!

No substitute for real hardware (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173162)

There isn't a true substitute for real hardware. There's no "soul" in emulation. If you don't want to keep the hardware, there's a lot of demand for vintage stuff out there. eBay would be a good start to sell it. Also try checking out communities like www.vintage-computer.com.

Re:No substitute for real hardware (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173486)

I'd think the "soul" would be in the game content itself, not the grinding of a 40 MB hard drive struggling to load Commander Keen.

Re:No substitute for real hardware (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173602)

special pleading... I agree that emulation doesn't always get things right, but when it does, it's REALLY nice.

320x200? (1)

lunchlady55 (471982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173176)

Bah! I had to press - a few times or it ran like crap on my 486DX2. Most of it was green marble you spoiled whippersnapper!

Re:320x200? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173612)

no l2 cache installed, eh?

Should I toss out my grandma? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173178)

Fuck yeah. If that bitch is past her prime kick her to the curb.

Give her a $600 voucher for health insurance, and let Blue Cross Blue Shield kill her.

Kill the elderly. Vote Republican.

Re:Should I toss out my grandma? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173226)

Fuck yeah. If that bitch is past her prime kick her to the curb.

Give her a $600 voucher for health insurance, and let Blue Cross Blue Shield kill her.

Kill the elderly. Vote Republican.

Too soon.

GOG (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173192)

I've been thoroughly satisfied with everything I've picked up from GOG. However, I do believe that no matter how great DOSBox is, a DOS Box will always be slightly more compatible.

I think for oldschool PC gaming, emulation isn't quite there like it is for oldschool consoles. Yet. The amazing combinations of HIMEM.SYS, EMM386, and SMARTDRV (and clones, HyperDisk was truly amazing) that each developer chose to run with makes for lots of variables that emulation seems ill-equipped to deal with.

Crap, I am pretty sure that I have some game(s) from Origin (possibly?) where the game was also it's own Operating System, requiring you to boot from the game disk to play...

If you need to play it, keep the DOS Box IMHO!

Re:GOG (3, Informative)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173424)

I think for oldschool PC gaming, emulation isn't quite there like it is for oldschool consoles. Yet. The amazing combinations of HIMEM.SYS, EMM386, and SMARTDRV (and clones, HyperDisk was truly amazing) that each developer chose to run with makes for lots of variables that emulation seems ill-equipped to deal with.

Actually, this makes DOSBox a much better solution, especially with a frontend (like D-Fend Reloaded [sourceforge.net] or DBGL [quicknet.nl] [warning, it's Java-based]) that maintains separate configuration files for each game. It also handles booters (those the-game-is-its-own-OS titles) quite well. Now you only have to configure the funky memory setups once for each game, and you're set.

Good riddance (4, Interesting)

VirexEye (572399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173200)

The more physical things we can get rid of, the better

I for one I'm quite happy to not have a closet full of 286/386/486/PIIs/PIIIs/etc boxes and peripherals... so much less stuff to store/maintain/move. It also makes you look like a sane person when you bring a woman home =)

Re:Good riddance (5, Insightful)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173292)

It's that word. "Closet". That says it all.

The question being asked wasn't "should I get rid of all of the fun stuff I use every day that's sitting in my entertainment room?" Instead it was "can I throw out my unused crap that's all in storage, neglected?"

All that stuff about emulators is just a smokescreen. You're not playing your legacy DOS stuff now, you won't tomorrow, and the day after that you'll be dead. It's a real trick to recognize when you're saving stuff because you have sentimental value attached to the memories, not the stuff itself.

Re:Good riddance (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173506)

I think you're right about the sentimental attachment, but in my case it's to the software rather than to the hardware. For instance, I remember the last time I spoke to my late Uncle was when he called while I was playing the file sorting puzzle in Lost Mind of Dr. Brain. I couldn't give a damn what hardware it's running on, but hearing Rathbone say "A flight of fancy" brings a tear to my eye.

I could probably map milestones of my youth directly to games I was playing at the time. Some people do this with books they read or music they listen to. For me it's games. These other people have it easy because they only need to pop in a CD or head down to the library to relive their past. My history is plagued with platform incompatibilities; I still own the CD for Lost Mind of Dr. Brain, but I can't experience it without a good deal of effort. This is why it's nice to have a legacy machine lying around I could just boot up and not worry about the little things that detract from the nostalgic experience.

Re:Good riddance (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173642)

no.. it just suggests to her that you'll willingly submit to her whims and judgments about your lifestyle when you're married and she asks you (tells you) to sell your hobby (whatever it is) off so 'we' can afford to do whatever is that she thinks is important..

if you like that stuff, keep it.. if she hates it, you're with the wrong girl. just hit it and leave it.

futuremind (1)

fsiefken (912606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173202)

I've got a very old futuremind sw powered mindmachine, which uses the parallel port and a SB AWE 32 for it's sound. Neither can be emulated. I was thinking of recording the sound and film the LED output, make an mp4 out of it which I can then play and watch on my OLED Z-800 HMD. No time to look into it unfortunately. The same goes for the hundreds of 80's en '90s tv shows on VHS which are gathering dust.

You can never go back (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173224)

So I'm going to get modded down for this, but you shouldn't go back. I had memories of playing Battledrome over my modem and the game "in my head" was awesome. I loaded it back up, played it, and shattered the nice memories I had of that game - along with many others. I grew up with Doom, Blake Stone, Wolfenstein, etc. They were great in the past. You should not go back there.

However, Ultima 7 is still a great game. I verified that and there is an emulator that allows it to work great [sourceforge.net]

keep some, toss the rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173228)

i have a pc104 486 board that i stuffed into an old scsi box with onboard soundblaster16 compatable, 100Mbit lan, 1m video, 5.25 and 3.5 inch floppies and a solid state ide drive. will play all my favorites, doom, empire, commander keen, space quest, ect.

could replace with old laptop.

Ibox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173230)

Since i played Syndicate on my Idevice, i finally didn't need a lot of hardware and dust...

Neither DOSbox nor a 486 - go Amiga (2, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173232)

With just a few exceptions, an Atari 800 or Commodore 64 or Amiga emulator is better than any DOS-based games. Better graphics, better sound, and so simple even an idiot could make it work (standard hardware == console level simplicity == plug'n'play). No need to mess with complicated DOS configurations trying to make the carn-sarn-flippy-flam VGA or soundblasthing work. (Grrrr.)

For the era 1985 to 95, almost every game looks and plays better Via the Amiga version. Now when you're talking Pentium-level games, which are post 1995, those will eclipse what an Amiga could do. But still - no need for DOSbox. Windows XP will do the trick, or Windows98 if XP fails for some reason.

Re:Neither DOSbox nor a 486 - go Amiga (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173552)

It's not about good graphics but nostalgia, I think. Sadly, I don't have my spectrum nor my MSX around anymore but I got a compaq presario cds 524, still working with win95, but I'm planning on installing either some DOS (if I can get some floppys to get the images on) or (if I can manage it) some very small linux distro. On win95 it's already running carmen sandiego and some other oldies :D

Re:Neither DOSbox nor a 486 - go Amiga (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173632)

True. I think the Defenders of the Crown and It Came from the Desert are probably the best versions released! Still though, there was never WIng Commander 1 & 2 for Amiga. Still one of my top 10 games of all time.

Descent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173238)

I was born in 1988, but I still knew a few oldskool games. Of the ones I played, my favorite was Descent [wikipedia.org] . Arguably, it wasn't really that old - but playing it properly did require a real DOS (although Descent 2 was available for DOS and Windows 95). Even if you get it working on DOSBox, it won't be as fun. A physical box is necessary to produce the right atmosphere. Also, a real soundblaster ISA or soundblaster16 is the only way to reproduce the sound correctly. Especially the "exiting the mine" music :)

Before you throw it all out, please see if there's anyone nearby on craigslist who wants it.

DosBox should do it for personal gaming. (5, Insightful)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173240)

Lacking any modern computer hardware until around 2007 or so, I feel I can relate to you, despite being one of the younger folks here. I grew up slaughtering hordes of Nazis in Wolf3D during the PS2 era, along with saving chicks with Duke Nukem, then getting my nerd on with Shadowland (I think thats what it was called :/). Anyway, I have a strong nostalgic love for these old DOS games, and I've yet to run into a problem playing them on DOSbox (Under Linux, just fyi). However, instead of tossing all that retro goodness, I'd put it up on ebay. You'd make a buck or two, and some other nostalgic fanboy will wet himself in joy. Everyone wins!

New Headline? (1)

Barkenna (1856704) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173242)

Ask Slashdot: Who has the biggest antiquated tech-wang?

old junk? (1)

sanzibar (2043920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173246)

retro lan party.
profit.

MS DOS... (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173258)

Isn't MS-DOS owned by ... MS? It's been years since I have run that, but I thought it was always there.

Re:MS DOS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173336)

Then use PC DOS or DR DOS.

Re:MS DOS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173420)

Then use PC DOS or DR DOS.

or FreeDOS

Re:MS DOS... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173428)

FreeDOS is out. You need to run under a VM or an older PC. It is 90% compatible and can even run doom

Serial interfacing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173272)

Ever try to program a Motorola commercial radio from the 80's? It turns out that you need some hardware from the era to make it work. DOSBox runs the program just fine, but it can't control the serial ports correctly, so the program cannot read or write radio configruations.

Long Live Commander Keen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173286)

While one might argue that nothing is better than the real, bona-fide experience - like the sweet sound of a 28.8 modem connecting to your favorite BBS - or downloading DOOM in 4 individual 1 megabyte zips for the first time - there's little chance I'm inclined to go find hardware for the good old days, especially when a convenient and functional alternative exists.

The emulator brought back those days for me just fine, and there's still a selection of BBS nodes available over telnet today.

Fence it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173290)

There's always a sucker^H^H^H^H^H^H buyer at eBay.

On getting rid of old hardware... (3, Interesting)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173302)

For every piece of old hardware I have, I can usually find a home for it. I have people asking me for leads on stuff like AT power supplies and boards that aren't all PCI/PCI-E.

So before you chuck that old DOS box away, make sure there's not some other collector who would like it. :)

(Hugs MSD SD2.)

Re:On getting rid of old hardware... (4, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173482)

Mod parent up! When it comes to recreating the sound-effects and music of the classics, nothing beats the original hardware... Chiptune is officially a thing now [wikipedia.org] .

Funny... (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173308)

...I was just thinking about throwing away some obsolete crap myself. Anyone want an old UNIX box?

Roland MT-32 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173312)

I still have my Roland MT-32, and would love to use it for those old DOS games that support it. Can anybody suggest how I'd go about doing that in DOSBox?

Roland MT-32 (1)

tskirvin (125859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173330)

I still have my Roland MT-32, and would love to use it for those old DOS games that support it. Can anybody suggest how I'd go about doing that in DOSBox?

(Posted while logged in this time.)

Chuck it. (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173332)

Obviously this is all just IMHO, but I tossed out most of my old stuff a while ago and have rarely missed any of it. It reduces the temptation to waste an evening (or more) trying to scrounge together a frankenstein system, reading old newsgroups to figure out how to resolve IRQ conflicts and write an autoexec.bat, and all that evil stuff. I have purchased a few old nostalgia items from ebay (non-computer stuff) and I find having it again is never as good as reminiscing about it.

If nothing else, figure the space in your home is $150-$200 / sf. Keeping junk isn't free, it costs money. Declutter and you may feel less desire for a larger place.

Late deletion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173334)

Does this thread mean I missed the curve getting rid of my TI-99/4A?

Re:Late deletion (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173616)

I traded my 99/4a for a 10 band stereo equalizer that was in use until about 4 months ago (and still works) and a CD player that I replaced the laser on once around '92 and then it finally died in 2000.... I'd say I probably got more out of the CD player/equalizer than I would have the 99/4a, even though I have fond memories.

I bit the bullet... (4, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173352)

...and destroyed about 1000 floppy disks chock full of games, shareware, and what not. My grand plans were always to "show my kids" what I grew up with...but now they're almost out of school, and aren't the least bit interested.

So practicality trumped nostalgia. The disks, machines, drives, everything are gone forever. I still have pangs of guilt over the decision, but also remind myself that realistically I would never run anything under DOS again.

Re:I bit the bullet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173530)

You'd be luck if those disks worked then. My DOS disks were iffy... I got them to load in virtualbox...but couldn't get 3.1 to go and Excel disks were just flat out corrupted.

Forget my floppy sliced up copy of GTA, though a year after I found out they were broke, GTA was released to the masses free.

Re:I bit the bullet... (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173584)

we still have an original IBM PC AT in the box up in the attic. we just can't get rid of it but it does get moved from one side of the attic to the other every now and then. Luckily we don't keep all our 5 1/4" floppy's up there. nostalgia is just tough to get rid of sometimes.

LoB

VMWare? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173376)

DOS doesn't run in VMWare? I haven't tried, but I assumed you could setup a DOS O/S environment in VMWare like just about any other O/S that can run in VMWare.

Re:VMWare? (5, Informative)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173638)

While you can certainly install DOS on most VMs, the problem isn't the CPU being emulated, but other hardware. And even the CPU isn't being directly emulated in most VMs like VMware or VirtualBox, but rather utilising virtualization tech on your main CPU, but I digress - back to the hardware issues.

Sound in most VMs, for instance, is a virtualized AC97 or similar codec. Sure, there are some 16-bit and virtualized sound drivers (in VMware) for instance if you want to install original OS/2, but predominantly what we're talking about is a software-driven sound card as opposed to an entirely hardware based controller. If you've been around a while, you'll recall the difference between real modems and "win modems". One can be polled directly via its own interrupt/DMA (the real one), and the all the others sit on IRQ11 (not necessarily true, example) and wait for a higher-level driver to sort out what goes where.

DOS relied on "real" sound cards with addressable interrupts, etc, which simply aren't emulated in almost all VMs. DosBox does, emulating almost every function of the actual chipsets of SoundBlasters/Adlib/GUS/etc. It's exactly what real emulation is, as opposed to virtualization. VMware, VirtualPC, VirtualBox etc, provide virtualization. DosBox provides emulation. And there is a difference. :)

Likewise, CGA, EGA, VGA cards. Most virtualizers provide a VESA compatiable SVGA driver(think, an S3 Virge, or similar). DosBox actually emulates the individual functions and quirks of the different graphics adapter chipsets. CGA for instance, isn't just "4 color graphics, 16 color text". It's a very broad specification, and DosBox has to emulate how each aspect of that specification can be used, and abused, to provide the various graphical effects that programmers coaxed out of the original systems, and graphical trickery.

And most virtual machines don't support protected run-time mode, which you can look up. :) I've written enough already!

So yeah - you can run DOS on a VM. You just can't play many games on it. :)

Keep the old gear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173384)

DOSBox is great, and is incredibly useful. But the video emulation and CPU timing is tremendously inaccurate -- a huge number of old PC demos don't work at all and probably never will under the current model. DOSBox works "well enough" for most things but is fundamentally not a X86 PC emulator and will never attain full compatibility. The projects that are working towards that goal are too slow to be usable, as expected.

Nothing wrong with keeping an old 486 machine around with a real VGA card and SoundBlaster 16 for the demos, games, and applications you need.

DDOS Box (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173386)

The first reaction when I read "DOS Box" in the title was "Oh, they started producing the set-top box for denial of service attacks?"
Can I order it's cousin, DDOS Box? :)

Getting rid of "Stuff" (1)

Darkenole (149792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173394)

Been going through many years of accumulated "stuff" and I found parts of my old Altair and a Heathkit. They brought an nostalgic moment, but out they went along with my old US Robotics modem and a box of old DOS games.

Can't believe that I hauled all that "stuff" around from place to place all these years.

my stance (1)

mr_bigmouth_502 (1946960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173396)

I use DosBox purely for the sake of convenience, but nothing can really beat an actual oldschool DOS gaming PC.

DOSBox rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173404)

My experience is that DOSBox has allowed me to ditch the need for a DOS PC. There are several DOS games that I still play.

It is good to the point of emulating the bugs in the games to the letter.

That said, if you are the type of person that values preserving history, build yourself a DOS machine. For me, my wife preserves too much of her history to fit in our house, so I toss most of mine.

Try FreeDos with VirtualBox (5, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173408)

Get a copy of VirtualBox for Linux or Windows and fire up the ISO download. I doubt FreeDOS can read modern SATA drives so running it through a virtual machine is ideal. FreeDOS is the most MS DOS compatible OS. Not to mention with virtualbox you can share files with a shared folder. I do not know if the guestadditions for Dos are available as I use Linux under it but it is worth a shot for sure.

What is great about FreeDOS is it comes with a TCP/IP stack and gnu tools like gcc and a nice editor so you can at least transfer files and old files from the internet to it to have the old experience back if you want to run DOOM shareware for example

Re:Try FreeDos with VirtualBox (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173626)

I didn't have too much trouble tracking down a MSDOS 5.0 compatible driver that would talk to the network card in Virtualbox (was messing around getting ancient Win 3.1 image talking to the internet).

Descent and Betrayal at Krondor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173448)

are two games that worked perfectly for me in DOSBox even in 2004. I got rid of all my 486 crap in '05.

GOML! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173454)

I still have my Woz-edition Apple IIgs, you whippersnappers. Remember playing CannonBall Blitz in DOS 3.3? (AppleSoft DOS, not MSDOS)
Copy II Plus FTW.

Only one thing you need a physical box for... (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173462)

All the games you have on 5.25" floppy. Once you get all that from floppy to images, you can junk the box and bask in the glory of having one less physical system. As an added bonus, your spouse will thank you - or if you're still single, you'll have a slightly better chance of finding one.

Offer it on old dos game forums for the postage. (2)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173470)

I've used Dosbox to emulate all of my companies legacy dos stuff we have to use. It works find with XP.

Every game I've tried it with works though most of mine are text based Remember T-Zero? http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/t.html#tzero [sparkynet.com] all of Infocom's games.

I still play the ones I've not solved yet, I have all my notes.

Virtual PC? (1)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173490)

I don't play games very often these days. Anyway, I remember playing Rise Of The Triad on Virtual PC, and IIRC it did a much better job than DOSbox. It emulated a S3 graphics card.

That was quite a few years ago, when Virtual PC didn't belong to Microsoft yet, and I am not sure VMWare existed.

DOSBox FTW (3, Informative)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173496)

Here are the reasons:

(1) As of the latest version (0.74) it runs every DOS game I've thrown at it.
(2) If a game needs more resources, simply increase the clock rate within DOSBox using a few hotkeys. Better yet, give the game a custom .conf file specifying the clock rate you want (max CPU if required), resolution, audio quality, and any other peripherals it could use.
(3) Sound support NEVER fails. It supports all typical DOS audio interfaces out of the box.
(4) Why boot another computer for DOS games when you can simply launch from your main rig?
(5) DOSBox is open source. It works on nearly everything.

Emulation and Virtualization don't cut it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173550)

Some games just hate DOSBox and Virtualbox/Vmware/VirtualPC. If they relied heavily on dos extenders they can't be extremely cranky.

Pirates Gold and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe are two examples I tried recently that simply refused to work properly. (And this was on high end hardware.)

Keep that old Pentium and SB16/GUS around for classic DOS era gaming.

Donate (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173558)

DOSBox may personally work for you, but lots of people want the real thing for either pragmatic or nostalgic reasons. Giving the stuff to good home is much better than just junking it.

Astrotit! (1)

rasper99 (247555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173562)

How many people remember astrotit? Blast those booobs! Condom for a shield!

I have 4 dedicated DOS machines (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36173566)

Yeah, call me when PowerVR, Rendition, Virge and Glide emulation are all fully implemented.

As a 8 year user of DOSBox I still use old DOS machines.

The young 'free abandonware generation' is the greatest threat to DOS gaming preservation though. They often never grew up with it in the day and know usually nothing but live on some 'old is best' placebo with a pretend care and all those sites that up them never owned games themselves, it's usually regurgitation of warez rips. It becomes even more contradictory with GoG affiliations.

No Kidding (1)

No Lucifer (1620685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173568)

Like a lot of Slashdotters I'm getting older

No, like every single person on earth, you are getting older.

I've got both. Go with DOSBox. (1)

gmarsh (839707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173582)

I still have the 486DX2/66 that I bought with my first summer job. 8 megs of RAM, SB16 and GUS side-by-side, 540 meg hard drive, and 2X Panasonic CDROM with a proprietary interface. It has a cheesy yellow 7-segment LED dispay on the front that displays the computer MHz and switches between 33 and 66 when you push the TURBO button. And I love the thing - the computer came from one of my favorite times in the computer scene, the demoscene was thriving as well as the MOD/S3M/IT community, games were a ton of fun, and the computer's loaded up with all of that good stuff.

Despite all of that, I haven't turned it on in over a year. It's a heck of a lot easier to start up DOSBox than drag the old computer out.

DOS isn't the problem, Windows95/98 might (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173630)

From my experience DOSBox works perfectly well for almost everything I have thrown at it. Games with which I had the most issues with are of the Win95/Win98 era ones, they are to new for DOSBox and to old to run properly in regular Windows. For those games I keep an old computer with Windows98 around. Sometimes there are of course other workaround, Wine can sometimes work better then regular Windows with old stuff, but sometimes the real hardware is just the easiest to get things up and running.

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