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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Run DOS Games

Get DOS games running correctly under your current operating system.

With the widespread acceptance of DirectX, running games on a Windows machine has become very easy and straightforward. Generally, you need only run a setup program and double-click on the resulting icon to start the game. However, running games on a PC has not always been so simple an affair. Conventional memory, extended memory, expanded memory, sound card IRQs and DMAs, mouse drivers, file buffers, boot disks and myriad other configuration details conspired to thwart a DOS gamer’s best efforts. Sometimes, getting a DOS game to run was a game in and of itself.

While Windows has freed users from the hassle of having to remember specific hardware settings when running games, it has done nothing to ease the task of running old DOS games. In fact, Windows NT/2000/XP have eschewed the DOS-based nature of their predecessors in favor of a pure Windows-only OS which only makes running already finicky DOS games even more difficult. Thankfully, there are ways to circumvent these issues and bring your favorite DOS games back into service.

When DOS Roamed the Earth

Sometimes, running a DOS program is as easy as simply running an executable. More often than not, the process is a bit more involved. As developers sought to offer games with more graphics, sounds, and features, the number and complexity of settings users had to adjust to support these features increased. This complexity showed up particularly in the ...

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