Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old DOS games in Linux using DOSBox, howto

My friend, M loves old computer games, and she loves running DOS games in her Windows XP system using the emulator, DOSBox. At a party with friends, I was inspired to remark that possibly these games could be played on a Linux system. Specifically, I wondered whether DOS games could be run on UNIX systems using DOSBox. Subsequently, I discovered Debian's package, 'dosbox'. Being an x86 emulator, it is available for many architectures beside i386.

I installed the lenny package, and I was pleased to find indeed that it ran well! Caveat: I do not have sound on my system at the moment, so I did not test that part. Following the advice of my friend, these are the steps I followed:

o Make a directory for all your DOSBox games:

mkdir ~/dos-box

o Download a DOS game. My friend recommended the site, Classic DOS games. (I downloaded Crystal Caves.)

o If the download is a zip file, decompress it (with 'unzip') into a subdirectory of dos-box.

o Start DOSBox from the Start menu or from an X terminal (with 'dosbox').

The following steps take place inside the DOSBox window, and are not UNIX commands:

o As DOSBox's C: drive, select your DOSBox directory:

mount c: ~/dos-box

o Navigate (with 'cd') into the game's subdirectory.

o Run the game's installation program, if it has one.

o Follow the games's README instructions to run the game within DOSBox.

o Enjoy!

Copyright (c) 2009 Mark D. Blackwell.