Blast From the Past
By Dwip June 11, 2011, 2:04 am Comments (10) RSS Feed for this post

So, to explain that video in the last post slightly better, I’ve been a gamer since approximately the dawn of time by the reckoning of those dang kids today, and from time to time I like to play games that, were they people would be in high school about now.

Yeah, most of my readers who are older than me, I know.

In the Days of Yore, that meant episodes like this one, but as time advances and my Jurassic hardware falls to the stone clubs and axes of rampaging Neanderthals, other solutions are needed. Which is where Microsoft Virtual PC comes in. And since it turns out that games from the mid-90s are so old they won’t even run in XP Mode, itself a 10 year old OS, that meant busting out the Win 98 SE CD.

Check it out (picture warning):

Initial setup takes following this tutorial and using its boot floppy ISO (!) (remember boot floppies?), after which you can pretty much install as normal.

They’re not lying. It is easier to use than Windows 95.

Also, keep in mind that this is all happening in a 640×480 on my modern desktop, which looks like this:

34 minutes is not what this is going to take, as it turns out.

Yeah, so, about that:

The one I unfortunately missed involves something to the effect of how the new browser integration with the shell makes the Internet easier to use, and it’s totally easier to navigate with the new forward and back buttons in said browser.

Other amusing messages include “Check Out Windows Update” and “Windows is now detecting non-Plug and Play hardware in your computer…”

Ultimately, for much shorter and more pain-free values of ultimately than when I was doing this for real:

Turns out, and I don’t remember this at all, the Welcome screen has this epic rock music attached to it (click the link!), which is apparently a cross between AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells and a U2 Staring At the Sun remix. It’s pretty great.

Also woo, teal and grey FTW.

Moving on to game installs:

So, MMX. Like, does anybody even care about that anymore? Also, remember when we measured things in Kb?

And moderate success. Of course, there’s a strange screen flicker thing I need to figure out, and it hangs and dies 30 seconds into the first mission, but it does run. Mostly.

Addendum: MechWarrior, prepare for combat.

Note that this game is atrociously difficult without a joystick.

Addendum 2: Yay for ebony daggers.

Re: Samson’s question in comments, check it:

That was a lot of room, once.

Yeah! I can’t wait for 199…oh right.

Early Bethesda autorun screens left something to be desired.

You kind of have to pick “power-mad robber barons”, because, well, really why wouldn’t you.

Also known as Sir Hiss.

Man, remember when backstabbing and daedric were skills? Remember when you rolled your stats? Yeah, me either.

Dude on the right there is Fred Durst, but the dude on the left there is Uriel Septim back before he found a supply of Rogaine.

Note the replacement guy after the first one got owned in the face by the start dungeon rat because I couldn’t figure out attacking. Also, I’m pretty sure I could build this entire dungeon in 5 minutes in Blender.


Battletech, Computer Games - Elder Scrolls Series, Computer Games - Uncategorized, Tech Comments (10) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Blast From the Past
avatar Comment by Samson #1
June 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Talk about going back in time! FWIW, I’ve played Mech 2 without a joystick before. Yes, it’s hard, but when you’re used to never using them to begin with, it’s not so bad.

I wonder if using one of these would make the free Arena or Daggerfall downloads work? The DOSBox instructions for Daggerfall fail hard on all 3 systems I’ve tried it on here.

If this virtual PC thing needs a floppy though, I’d be SOL. I haven’t had a floppy drive in my system in years. There aren’t even any floppy drives hanging out in my old hardware bins.

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
June 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Turns out, by the by, that MechCommander works better if you just copy the CD straight into Windows 7 and hit play. The 1.8 patch remains unusable, but you can play the thing. Neither my 98 or XP VMs seem to want to work with it.

Dunno about Daggerfall, I’d have to throw it in. I may give it a shot if I’m bored later. Wonder if I could make Battlespire work too. Wonder why I’d _want_ to make Battlespire work.

XP mode pretty much just works once you download and install. Win 98 took an actual install process, but the instructions I linked to include a boot floppy ISO that you can mount to the VM as part of things. All you need is a CD drive.

Of course, the pain with Win98 is that there’s no good way to transfer stuff over from my real system to the VM short of sticking it on CD. XP you can actually integrate.

avatar Comment by Dwip #3
June 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Re: Daggerfall, see above new section with screenshots. I installed it pretty much straight up with my retail CD, but the download version should work more or less the same way:

– Run the installer. Works fine.

– Come sound card setup, and remember when this was a big deal? I don’t miss those days, auto-detect or just tell it to rock the SB 16, and go with default everything.

– Attempt to drive your guy with WASD. Fail spectacularly.

avatar Comment by Samson #4
June 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Hmm. May or may not be worth it. Daggerfall was the only TES game I didn’t finish. Got stuck somewhere and couldn’t kill something I needed dead, so I tried to cheat. Well, that ended badly because I was unaware that all the game’s quests were triggered by what level you were and my save turned to mush quickly. Ended up getting pissed and deleted the game and my saves. Shelved it. Never came back. Regretted it ever since.

If WADS doesn’t work, then what does? I swore that was how you controlled things, it’s been pretty much THE standard for gaming since like 1954 or so.

avatar Comment by Dwip #5
June 12, 2011 at 12:14 am

Arrow keys work as WASD, with various random keys being for stuff like attack, etc. I’m sure if you tried you could remap it, but the standard is…odd.

avatar Comment by Prettyfly #6
June 13, 2011 at 3:55 am

I’m getting vague recollections of playing Quake 3 back when I was a little kid from this. Only my fingers weren’t really long enough at the time to use WASD and I couldn’t really co-ordinate myself to well with the mouse. I also seem to remember it with present day graphical quality, even though it was anything but. Though it still seems to have been better than Counterstrikes graphics (the only game that my school intranet has enough oomph to handle over LAN).

avatar Comment by AndalayBay #7
June 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

I’m chuckling because I started Elder Scrolls with Oblivion, then went back and played all the others. I was keeping a Pentium MMX running DOS 5 and Windows 98 for these old games, but it finally died.

Ultima Underworld or Eye of the Beholder anyone? Those were my first games.

avatar Comment by Samson #8
June 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Yes, Ultima Underworld was a favorite of mine too. As were the first two Eye of the Beholder games. The 3rd one not so much.

Of course, I’m a dinosaur from the old days who played Bards’ Tale 1, 2, and 3 on their original Commodore 64 platform :)

avatar Comment by Dwip #9
June 14, 2011 at 1:30 am

Daggerfall in the Oblivion age must have been…something.

Played Ultima Underworld 1-2, hated them. Besides Ultima 9, they’re the only ones I didn’t like (and Ultima 7 remains one of the best games ever made).

Did Eye of the Beholder 3, too, which didn’t go so well, though I was masochistic enough to play my way through most of the Gold Box stuff.

ObIAmOld: original Wizardry, anyone?

avatar Comment by Samson #10
June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I never played the original Wizardry. Bards’ Tale 1 made a big thing out of being able to import characters from it though :P

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