It seems strange to think that it was just over a decade ago that you had to run PC games through DOS. Many of us remember fondly these first forays into the world of computer gaming, when all adventures started with a flashing command prompt. If you’re tired of this modern world of flashy 3D graphics then take a trip back to when it all started by revisiting DOS. Here’s a simple guide to how to enjoy DOS gaming on your PC.The first thing to do is get hold of the game files. There is a fairly wide selection of abandonware sites where you can pick up DOS games for free. Abandonia offers probably the most comprehensive choice, and each game is reviewed by the site. You can even download instruction manuals and box art. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here you could always try Dosgames.com or Free Game Empire.
Nine times out of ten you’ll find that the game downloads come packaged as a Zip. Create a folder on your C drive game and call it ‘dosgames’. Unzip the game files into a folder within the dosgames folder and make sure the name of this folder is no longer than eight characters. Now it’s time to pay a visit on our old friend the command prompt. Do this by clicking Run from the Windows Start menu. Make sure ‘cmd’ is showing in the text field and click OK.
Switch to the root directory by typing cd\
Navigate to the games folder by typing cd dosgames (or name of your folder)
Now switch to the saved game folder by typing cd foldername (where folder name is the name of the game folder)
Next, you’ll need to look for the EXE file, which you can do by typing dir and hitting Enter
Type the name of the EXE file and hit Enter. You’ll now be transported back in time to a land where blocky graphics and MIDI audio ruled supreme.
Classic games to try
Lemmings – 386 machines gave you plenty of reasons to feel suicidal but you could always count on these lovable critters to cheer you up
Elite – Recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It’s taken me about that long to figure out all of the controls and I’m still on the first level
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Riveting adventure game where the pixelated star looks better than Harrison Ford did in his last Indy outing.
Prince of Persia – Now regarded as a console classic and with a film spin-off in the works, PoP was once a humble DOS game, albeit one that was way ahead of its time
Doom – The daddy of all DOS games, Doom was as big a craze in the 90s as shell suits and Tamagotchis. It looks very, very dated compared to today’s first-person shooters but without Doom the gaming landscape might look pretty different
Sensible World of Soccer – Fine football management game where you also get to play matches using the fabled Sensible Soccer engine
Rockstar – In the days before X Factor the only way you could follow your dreams of rock stardom was through text-based strategy games such as Rockstar. I will remember it as the only game in history where you get to take drugs with your granny. Now that’s rock and roll
Shadowgate – If you like purple you’ll love Shadowgate, an adventure game in which you must track down an evil wizard and stop him taking over the world
Speedball 2 – Ported to DOS from home computers such as the C64 and Atari ST, Speeball 2 was one of the great sports games of the early 90s. Fast, furious, and very violent
Starflight – If you wanted to be Doctor Spock when you grew up then no doubt you were into Starflight, one of the greatest Space adventures of all time