A couple of days ago I was in the mood to play some of my old Windows games. I had no idea what it would involve, but I was determined to get it working. Since these are old Windows games, I couldn’t just run them on my Linux laptop as-is. I had to use a program called DOSBox. This program emulates an old Windows computer. When you open the program, it looks like DOS, which I have barely any experience with. So I couldn’t just download the program & know which commands to use to run my games.
To find out how to play my games, I did a little searching and found a guide that walks through the process of getting your games to play with one click. It was especially nice that the writer was using Mint, everything looked familiar to me.
Following this guide, I was able to run both of my games (without sound) using the following commands while in DOSBox:
mount c /home/myusername/dosgames
These commands navigate to the directory where a game is stored and then loads up the game. The game plays from here, but doesn’t have sound.
To get the game to play with one click, I created a new configuration file that would have the above commands in it. I did this by copying the standard .conf file and adding the commands at the bottom. The next step was to create a launcher in the menu that would run DOSBox with my game configuration file. This is where I ran into problems.
The terminal command I used in the launcher was this:
/usr/bin/dosbox -conf /home/myusername/.dosbox/game.conf
When I ran the launcher I made, instead of my game loading like in the tutorial, I got an error message saying doxbox doesn’t exist. This made me double and triple check my spelling, thinking that maybe I typed doxbox instead of dosbox. I rechecked my paths and the .conf file I made, but couldn’t find where I made a problem. The next thing I tried was to type the above command directly into the terminal instead of using the launcher. Typing in the command directly worked! It was great that I had a shorter way of starting up my game. However it was tedious, especially for multiple games. Moreover, I still had no sound.
To make it easier to run multiple games, I ended up downloading a GUI front-end for DOSBox called DBGL. This program allowed me to put in the info for each game: the .exe file and the setup file (for sound YAY!). It also fetched all the game details from an online database. It’s pretty easy to use, there’s a wizard to use to create a new profile, which makes set up a snap. After I get the profile finished and configured how I like, I can either double click the game or there’s a play button. This in particular is very handy as it allows other family members to play the games after I have them set up. The hardest part of using DBGL is figuring out which file is the setup file that allows me to play sound.
I think my next gaming task will be to find a way to play my middle-aged Windows games on my Linux laptop. The first step, as always, will be to find them again. Maybe in a few months I’ll restart Morrowind, my all-time favorite. I think I can do it using Wine. I’m currently thinking the problem will be finding my original cases for the access codes!