DOS Games on Vista

I finally tried some of the old DOS games on Vista.

Most of them demand to be in full screen mode.

Vista doesn’t support full screen mode for DOS, which I already had found but forgotten. I am used to clicking Start, Run, typing CMD and then if it’s a window, pressing Alt-Enter to make the DOS window full screen. I’d tried that and gotten the message.

I was able to use my first DOS game ever, Tetris. I first had to delete the PIF associated with it that had copied along from the other machine, as that specified full screen. Made sure I deleted those for all the others as I tried them, but for those apparently full screen is native.

The Tetris game is so old that it assumes you won’t have arrow keys on your keyboard, and makes it possible to play on the old 84 key keyboards by using J and L as left and right, K as rotate, and M as drop. I originally played this on my 286, with an EGA monitor and MS-DOS 3.3, in 1990.

It will run in a window on Vista, but it’s very slow. Slower and jerkier than it ever dreamed of being on the 286. Freaky.

A couple pinball games, Wolfenstein, Commander Keen 4, Doom… none of them are capable of running on Vista, period, because they all want to go full screen when they launch. Keen at least brings up the intro screen, but “press a key” makes it launch for real and go full screen.

The good thing is I wasn’t expecting much, and I could easily have a dozen other machines for DOS games if I wanted. There are some on the computer in Sadie and Valerie’s bedroom, though we were using it mainly for a keybanger for them. It’s been off a long while because it got noisy; maybe a dying CPU fan, or even just a wire hitting. I’ll have to remember to look at it. Meanwhile they’ve been using the AMD 400 and banging on a word processor instead, having a blast, and getting annoyed when I hook the Vista machine to their monitor. Cute.

On another note, I installed Gimp. It tells you right up front that using it may lock up your computer so you should disable hyperthreading. How nice of it. It feels too complicated, and in at least some case is, compared to PSP 5, but it can do what I need to do readily enough, and I might even get used to it. I suppose if I were to have a look at what Corel has done to Paint Shop Pro, I’d find that overcomplicated too. Meanwhile, Paint appears to have been improved. At the very least it supports more file types. I’ll have to make a point of using it enough to see if the features have expanded otherwise.