PC users - A Prejudiced Tribe!


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Windows 95 - the first step away from MS-DOS. Many DOS games suddenly didn't work anymore. Windows 98 surpringly enough added more compatibility again, with a little effort, most of our favourite games ran again.

With Windows ME, the direction it'll go to became obvious: even though this OS still had a DOS core, it was disabled by default though. Users had to rely on strange Geocities-hosted sites to learn how to get their software running again.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP - based on the old Windows NT. The future of Microsoft's operating system. In theory, it is still possible to run DOS programs, but those are severely restricted because of 'security issues': they're not allowed to start other programs, sound doesn't work and so on.

Furthermore, there are problems with modern hardware. Modern CPUs are way too fast for games programmed more than five years ago. Those running 'just' lightning fast are the 'better' case still, even if it's action games which become unplayable. The worse cases are those which refuse to run alltogether!

The CPU isn't the only problem though. Optical mice don't work with DOS games. There just aren't correct drivers for this. Modern sound cards are compatible with old FM cards from the old days, but MIDI sound will never work because PCI sound cards use the system's main RAM instead of providing their own.

Conclusion: Running old PC games gets harder and harder!

That leads us to the main point of this editorial: Even with all these problems, the average user still insist on using the old PC versions even though there is such an easy and much less fussier alternative: using emulation!

Most games from the 'golden days' of computer games are better on the Amiga, Atari or even the C64 than the PC versions anyway. That argument obviously wasn't enough for the average user even though it always existed. But now there is a second one to which I tried to lead you above.

For these 'obsolete' systems, emulators have been in developement for years. And running them, you can see that: almost every system is emulated nearly perfectly. The handling is incredibly easy. There are no problems with speed, sound, controls or crashes. The perfect solution, one might think!

Might. But apparantely, Mr-I-Never-Used-Anything-But-Windows thinks he's too 'good' for anything which has another name than 'PC'. Amiga? Isn't that one of these crap machines from the stone age? Why should I mess with such nonsense? Urgh!

Now you might ask why I'm so annoyed by that. Good question. First of all, there is of course my emotional link to these old systems. Having 'grown up' with many machines (and none of those was a PC), I want to see them get the recognition they deserve.

But now there is another, more practical reason (which refers directly to the beginning of this article). As the webmaster of an 'Abandonware' site, I'm of course #1 stop as soon as people have problems running their games. And more than 99% of these problems are always the same all over and over again: Windows XP, fast CPU, inability to work with DOS' command line and a few others.

And then, they think I have to help them, tell them step by step what to do exactly to get the game which they of course have a right to play (at least they think so...) running.

More and more often lately, I propose to try some ROM or disk image instead which would of course immediately solve all the problems. But instead of doing that and get angry at themselves for thinking of that before, they all go 'euuuuwwwwwwhl' (strange sound I thought until recently only Welsh people can make) and blame me for not wanting to help them?!

Until 'DOS-emulators' reach the same quality as emulators of other systems, some years will pass. That's only logical, no matter what kind of geniouses have 'already started their projects'. So at least for this period of time, all decent arguments are in favour of emulation as opposed to 'PC-Abandonware'. But you don't need to listen to this, either, eh?

Related links:
Abandon Loader

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