Whizzing around in the vast 3D complexity of today's modern games, I often wonder if gaming has really taken a step forward since the good ole' days of DOS and 3.1 in anything other than graphics. Weak plots, frustrating challenges, lame puzzles, all attempting to cloak the one and only intent: KILL EVERYTHING.
I have no problem with killing everything... its true, after a stressful day there are few things I enjoy more, but other days I can help being bored and somewhat disappointed by it. My mind can't help but think back to the days when games cost a few pounds on tape or diskette, each bringing something new and exciting to the gaming world. This was back in the days when gamers made games in their bedrooms, many a millionaire was created by such simple means, even back when game tapes cost less than £5 and more people had model railway sets than Personal Computers! I'm sure I'm not the first to suggest the the money driven mania that is the gaming industry today is persistently failing its loyal customers more and more, with every title formulaically spewed out.
But there is hope!
Why not get those old diskettes out from their dusty old boxes, filled with nostalgia and get installing! Don't panic if you haven't kept the old disks, they're broken or you can't find your favourite - Abandonware is here to save you. Games get the title of abanonware when they are no longer published or discontinued. This means they are free to copy, distribute and download.
In this guide I'm going to show you how to get your old DOS/3.1/Win95 games working on your newer Win2000/XP machine and how to 'emulate' them if needed. I'm also going to show you where you can find and download your favourite old games for free.
How to download free games
If you can't find your favourite old game or have just thrown it away along time ago you probably will still be able to find it on the internet as its almost certainly now considered abandonware meaning it can now be legally downloaded for free!
Downloading Free Games - Legally!
There are literally hundreds of abandonware sites, but luckily the nice people at the Abandonware Ring have compiled a continually updated and rated list of the top sites. The folks at TUOL also have a huge list which includes links to various resources. Both have a search engine and between these 2 sites you should be able to find virtually any abandonware game you desire, along with enough other games to keep you playing for a lifetime. The Home of The Underdogs is also a great site, however it's dedicated to games that never got the recognition they deserve and not exclusively an abandonware resource (pop-up warning).