Retro PC gaming

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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outdated_gamer
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Retro PC gaming

Post by outdated_gamer » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:40 pm

Usually, when people talk "retro gaming", you hear a lot about the 8-bit/16-bit/32-bit/64-bit micros and consoles of yesteryear, but very rarely is there talk about retro PC gaming. Perhaps this is so because the platform never really faded and there is the perception that old hardware in PCs belongs in trash cans. But this is a ignorant perspective and luckily there are now more enthusiasts making dedicated retro PCs from the best eras of PC gaming. Here are some videos to help fix the missconception that retro PC gaming is not a thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NudEusAMzr0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoD0KNEdXnY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_ZEWvokp3o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pmpdQ073-4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYGWvPN76Rg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HI15dfFcpM


I have to admit I got some motivation to refresh my old PCs a bit after seeing these vids... :wink:

It's also rather cheap to get some solid retro PC parts these days so if you never had a good PC, you can now experience for quite cheap what all the fuss was about back then. Certainly the evolution of PC gaming is a interesting one, going from almost strictly business machines with tiny green monitors, monochrome graphics and beeper sounds to console-sized boxes that deliver next-gen performance today. Not to mention the tons of software written for the platform and it's ability to run software from other platforms via certain programs as well.

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outdated_gamer
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by outdated_gamer » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:50 pm

A interview with 3dfx employees from 97, the people who fundamentaly helped shape the face of PC gaming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIPStpvkSwE

An article about 3D graphics cards and their evolution:

http://www.maximumpc.com/from-voodoo-to ... -graphics/

A channel with cool vids:

https://www.youtube.com/user/RetroCompaqGuy/videos

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ncf1
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by ncf1 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:56 pm

You know, ive only just got to thinking now after viewing some of those vids that my memories of pc gaming, early 90's ish, is from the pc builds I had... and I usually had the cheapest stuff as its all I could afford. But I haven't actually imagined how it would have been with souped up versions of each of those systems... the best graphics cards, the SoundBlaster AWE's for instance... how amazing it must have been to have those sorts of builds!

I remember the 486DLC, they were a 486 without the maths co-processor, so really was a 386 but we sold a few at the time but was a nightmare trying to explain to people about it. PC Computing was pull-your-hair-out stuff back then, SO many options.. damn.

Just an aside, there's this unreal torrent, EXODOS 2.0, just amazing, anyone interested in earlier PC stuff *must* find this, its fantastic. I haven't even had time to delve into it much but it is simply superb.. look for it!

Nice post btw outdated_gamer!

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Katzkatz
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by Katzkatz » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:31 pm

I got into PC gaming around the early 1990s. I saw X-Wing running - and that was a sort of wake-up call as to what a PC could now do. Funnily enough, there was an article in the now defunct "The Games Machine" magazine about how the PC could become a gaming power, as it just started to feature things like VGA and soundcards, and there was CD-ROM on the horizon - that was written in around 1988. That did get me thinking about it a little at the time.

My Dad got a 386 SX for his work - and he got a few games for it. Lemmings(it was funny using the PC speaker for sound). Then, he got the PC version of Civilization - and boy, that was amazing - no disk swapping for a start.

I got my first PC in early 1994. It had MS-DOS 6.22 on it - so you could use the multiple memory managers in the start-up. Coming from an Amiga, getting used to things like memory managers and knowing what drivers to have for VGA and the graphics cards etc. - it was a bit confusing at first. My PC was a 486 SX 33Mhz. I eventually got a Thunderboard(Soundblaster Pro clone card) for the sound, and a Gravis analogue joystick(still got that to this day). Lots of fun to be had : Dune 1 and 2, Tie Fighter(oh the joy of the Dark Side - I can see why Kylo Ren joined), Pinball Fantasies(amazing at the time), Civilization, Railway Tycoon, Transport Tycoon and Syndicate. Later on, I got a CD-ROM drive and that was great for things like Cinemania, and also the LucasArts adventure games(Sam and Max, etc).

I sort of consider DOS gaming as "retro" - although, maybe nowadays - that's not true. Like yourself - I couldn't afford the top end specifications for my PC - so had to pick the lower settings for graphics, etc. I did get a hand me down 3D card - it took power from the PCI bus - but used a VGA throughput.

It was interesting when things went to the Vesa and PCI bus. I had a motherboard that could support either. That was when I got a 486 DX4 99Mhz. My Dad got one of the first PCI soundcards - a Diamond one. It sounded great on Dark Forces : Jedi Knight.

Then we had the whole MMX extension thingy. I got a Pentium 166 Mhz as another upgrade. Then later on, got a hand me down 233 Mhz processor to plug in. Pretty decent machine.

I nearly forgot to mention when Windows went to 95 - and gaming changed for that platform. Getting the whole Direct X libraries for graphics and sound - and making the controllers easier to setup.

My next machine was an AMD Duron. Can't remember its clockrate. I did get a Soundblaster Live card - that was okay - but the sound drivers were clunky in their interface - took up a lot of room, etc. It was a pretty decent gaming machine. Unfortunately, I had Windows Me on it - that was bad.

I do use DOSBOX a bit. You do have to know about the soundcard, graphics settings, etc - for the start-up file on that. Plus, knowing how DOS works. It was great to use it - for going down memory lane.

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ncf1
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by ncf1 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:39 pm

Katzkatz - it was some jump from the Amiga to the world of PC's, hey.. and like you I saw in some magazine, I think it was C&VG that the ultimate gaming machine was a 386 DX33 with such and such a video card and such and such soundcard, and I had no clue whatsoever what they were talking about, I thought the Amiga I had was the ultimate gaming machine! Couple years later I'd be selling the things and seeing the first CD-burners for - get this - $14,000 (Aust) dollars. Even madder we thought about buying one.

But do look out for EXODOS 2.0 because you don't even need to know about DOS commands or anything, its kind of more like a MAME arrangement where you pick the game and it sorts everything out for you.. ive had it in hard drive for a year or so now , I think its almost time I actually use it a bit more, so much stuff on it. not sure though where I got the torrent from but shouldn't be too hard to find.

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SJ_Sathanas
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by SJ_Sathanas » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:18 pm

My favorite gaming period was when I got my first PC, an AMD Athlon 1ghz with a TNT2 'card and Windows ME. I cant recall the manufacturer but it was from PC World and basically cost me £1000 and that was probably around 1999 I think?
I saw Quake 2 running in HMV and it just blew me away.

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Negative Creep
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by Negative Creep » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:08 pm

Our first ever computer was an Elonex 386 of some description. I was so excited that I'd finally get to play all the game my friends had, then utterly devastated to find it wasn't powerful enough to run X-Wing or Doom. In fact about the only things it could run were some obscure shareware titles, Lemmings and Nigel Mansell's World Championship. Later on we had a Gateway that was pretty powerful for the time, and once I fitted a Voodoo 3DFX card could easily run the likes of Quake 2 and Half Life
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paranoid marvin
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by paranoid marvin » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:00 am

For me the two most significant expansions in term of PC gaming are the advent of the CD-Rom (made all those adventures so much better with real voices) and then with the advent of the 3dfx card.
Mr Flibble says...
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theantmeister
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by theantmeister » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:17 am

My "retro" PC is an AMD K6-3 with an ISA AWE64 and an AGP Mach64 that I got for free from people dumping their old PCs. I've put a pair of PCI Voodoo 2s in it and it is now the perfect late DOS / Windows 95 PC. For earlier stuff I'll still use DOSBox, as the K6 is a little too fast for a lot of early DOS games.

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outdated_gamer
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by outdated_gamer » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:27 pm

I was more a console player back in those times as my PC was so-so and I got it rather late too, but still I was impressed by how fast PC gaming was progressing. It didn't take me long to realize that PC gaming was not just Prince of Persia, Arkanoid, Commander Keen and Wings of Glory (all great games though) with beeper sounds but that a good PC would also run much more complex and advanced games that many console players could only wish for back then. One of the drawbacks of that rapid progression was that hardware was rather expensive and quickly obsolete which is why PC gaming was mostly reserved for adults with a steady income, although "family PCs" were quite common too and many younger people got to experience it that way. Also, despite the hardware costing more, the games were much cheaper than console games, new games usually cost half the price of a cartridge console release and it was a joy seeing that "Arcade perfect" port of Mortal Kombat with full uncensored violence at your friend's place or your dad's brand new system. But it didn't stop just at the graphics since, as I said, the PC had a lot more complex and "in-depth" games too such as simulator and strategy games of all sorts, city builders, tycoons, managers, adventures, AD&D and massive role playing games and so on and there was a lot of experimentation and unique games made too. Basically the DOS/Windows PC continued where Commodore (& Atari) dropped the ball.

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Megamixer
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by Megamixer » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:55 pm

The only time I was a PC gamer of any description was in the mid-90's. Fond memories of playing Myst, Riven and Outlaws on our Texas Instruments laptop with Win 95 and a monstrous 1GB HDD :lol: . It did actually still work up until a few years ago when the CMOS battery on the board finally died but it was an annoying design where you have to actually unsolder the battery and even then, I couldn't find an equivalent to replace it with so the laptop was unfortunately binned :(

Still got the big-box versions of the games including all of the Myst series.
Retro is a state of mind, and cares not for your puny concepts like dates and calendars.

MadManDan79
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by MadManDan79 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:50 pm

1Gb was monstrous 20 odd years ago... Most older PCs were just standard whitish/grey boxes which look ugly nowadays - I used to work in a computer recycling place back in the late 90s and most were office rejects that had led a hard life...

I always have been under the thought that though they can play them, PC's are not best suited for video games due to the amount of upgrades to memory, sound and graphics cards needed. I normally use PC's to download and post on forums...

psj3809
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by psj3809 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:53 am

Loved the early days of PC gaming.

My friend had a PC early early on but i was never impressed by it until i saw Doom ! Incredible. Then after playing Red Alert tons at work i just had to get my own PC. I worked for a computer company and there was a 'special' employee scheme, 66 mhz PC for 1100 quid ! So i did that with lots of monthly payments !

The early days of PC gaming were funny with boot disks for various games. Getting PC Gamer and its cd full of demos was great back in the day to see lots of upcoming games.

Getting a voodoo card for Quake II was an amazing moment, suddenly the graphics looked so clear and crisp. Luckily at work my boss kept upgrading computers and selling me his old ones cheaply. So i got his old 166 mhz (as he bought a 300 mhz), i then got his 300 mhz as he went up to 600 or something and so on.

Used to play Duke Nukem tons, plus Doom and Quake. Good times. But loved those early days of PC gaming, exciting as anything.

I've got DOSBOX on my iphone and its great playing some old classics like Dark Forces. Also lots of DOS games on iOS such as Duke Nukem and others, some dont always control that well but a fair few are fine. Got Dangerous Dave as well (John romeros first game)

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theantmeister
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by theantmeister » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:51 am

psj3809 wrote:The early days of PC gaming were funny with boot disks for various games. Getting PC Gamer and its cd full of demos was great back in the day to see lots of upcoming games.
You still have to get creative with configurations these days when you build a retro PC system. Trouble is, I have forgotten a lot of the tricks I used to use for making boot disks back in the day. :(

I remember getting a cover disk with a demo of Mad Dog Mcree on it. The trouble was, my PC only had a single speed CD-ROM drive and the demo needed a double speed one. Thankfully, I had enough hard drive space to just copy the entire demo onto it - if I cleared out everything first. It totally wasn't worth it :lol:

That's the trouble with PC gaming - I spent the whole of the 90s chasing hardware requirements. Larry 5 only came on high density floppy drives and my PC only supported double density, Space Quest 5 required VGA graphics and I only had EGA, Mad Dog Mcree required a double speed CD drive and I only had single speed, Apache needed 8 megs of RAM and I only had 4 and so on and so on.

psj3809
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Re: Retro PC gaming

Post by psj3809 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:52 am

I loved Baldurs Gate but that was a pain having 5 cd's. Bought it again when it came out on a single dvd which was brilliant back then

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