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Theo Moore Questions... Morphology? Longevity? Incept dates?

I was recently turned on to "abandonware". If you've never heard of it, it's interesting...although I'll admit its legality seems a little...questionable. Basically, abandonware is software which the original publisher has ceased maintenance and support, and no longer sells. The website I was directed to suggests that since the software doesn't involve a loss of revenue, the publisher and the law "ignore" the fact that distribution is occurring. I'd never heard of it, so I started looking around on their site. They have literally hundreds of old titles. Interestingly, some of them are clearly marked as being protected by an ESA and you can't d/l and play those. Unfortunately, the old King's Quest, PoliceQuest, and Leisure Suit Larry titles all fall in this category. Fortunately, I actually own all of the LSL stuff on a compilation CD. I even (stupidly) bought the most recent one in the hopes it would be good and true to the originals.

Most of the software they have will run in a DOS emulator (DosBox is the one they recommend), and in many cases, the original sounds will work, too. Pretty slick, really. You can even mount your CD-ROM drive to act like the CD for the Dos VM. Another plus should you own any of that old stuff (I do) and you want to check it out. It even supports protected mode software (you might or might not know what I mean by this) like old school FPS.

I was stunned by some of the titles they have....Betrayal at Krondor was one of my absolute favourite games ever, and they have it! Wow, thought I. Since I still have my copy of BAK, I felt like I could install it and try it out. I did the same with Master of Magic (still have that one, too).

You see, I've never really been one to buy into the graphics hype for games. Oh, I "ooh"-ed and "ahh"-ed over some graphics (Doom3's flashlight, for example...although why it wasn't mounted to the gun, I'll never understand). To me, a great game is defined by its story and level of interactivity. And, perhaps, even the slickness of the interface, in terms of ease of use. Using BAK as an example, the interface was simple, slick, and responsive. I've always thought it great. The story is compelling, if you've ever read the Feist Riftwar series...and even if you haven't. Admittedly, the terrain in this game is pretty bad, but I sort of forgive it since the rest is so good.

So, if yer lookin' for a sense of nostalgia, give your old software a looksee on DosBox. You probably will go back to playing WoW within a few hours, but it's worth checking out.

Posted on Monday, October 2, 2006 1:32 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Talk about retro gaming.....

# re: Talk about retro gaming.....
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I use DosBox all the time to run old games. I think that Master of Orion and Master of Magic are the best games ever made. While Master of Orion (MOO) is faithfully updated in Galactic Civ 2, Master of Magic is fun to play in all its retro glory. Wasteland from the late 80's even works in DosBox. And Star Control II as well. Pure retro gaming bliss.
Left by Scott Miller on Oct 02, 2006 2:12 PM

# re: Talk about retro gaming.....
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No Doubt! I still have my MOO CD, too...I am going to give XCOM and XCOM2 a whirl soon, too. :-)
Left by Theo on Oct 02, 2006 5:08 PM

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