DOS Emulation with DOSBox – Get your old-school game on!

By | 2006/12/25

As a Christmas gift to my brother I decided to do a little research and figure out how he could experience some of the old-school gaming enjoyment that I grew up with. Remember the old games? 2D. Bad sound. No story. Yes, those were the days! Forget all that World of Warcraft stuff, I’m talking about old-school DOS based games.

Well, I hope you’re reading this Taylor because I have detailed below how to setup the DOS emulator and install just about any game you want. I hope this doesn’t hurt your grades in school. I’m sure some of these games made me dumber growing up and, once you start playing some of these, you’ll definitely see why!

First we’ve got to install the DOS emulator, DOSBox. You can do that using your favorite method (Synaptic or command line), example:

sudo aptitude install dosbox

Once DOSBox is installed you’ve got the emulator, you just need to create a folder to store your totally RAD games and play them. First you’ll want to create a directory to store your games. Perhaps in your home/ folder. Open a terminal and use:

mkdir dosgames

You’re already 2/3 of the way there. (What did I tell you about Linux being easy!) At this point you’ll need to install your games and you’re ready to go.

A great place I found to download a TON of old-school games is at Abandonia. They’ve got a lot of old titles that I remember playing when I was a kid. From Tetris to Double Dragon, Prince of Persia, Rampart and a LOT more. Take a look through those and see what you’d like to play. When you’ve found something simply click the “Get it” button and download the .zip file. You’ll want to extract this .zip file into your newly created dosgames folder. (note: look for the little icon that says “DOS BOX” to make sure its completely compatible. If its got that icon you are SET! A few games I found are “protected” by the ESA. If you see this, unfortunately, they aren’t available for free download.)

After you’ve installed the games you want to play it’s just two quicks steps to actually launching them. First you’ll need to start DOSBox, which is done simply by running the command.

dosbox

This will load a DOSBox window that looks like the old-school DOS command line. You’ll then need to mount your local dosgames folder so that it knows where to find the games.

mount c /home/username/dosgames (replace username with your own, or substitute the path with your local dosgames path)

At this point use the good ‘ol DOS navigation to find the folder, look for the executable and get playing. Remember, use cd to move to a new directory and dir to list the contents. Look for a .exe, .com, or .bat file to launch the game. For example, with Prince of Persia you would do the following after downloading and unzipping to the dosgames folder:

dosbox

mount c /home/username/dosgames

c:

cd PRINCE

prince.bat

That should be all. …and if you’ve got other games you’d like to play that perhaps you still have copies of for whatever reason, simply copy the appropriate files to your dosgames folder and play away! Let me know if you have any trouble with this. Between DOSBox and Abandonia you should have hours of wasted gaming in front of you!

25 thoughts on “DOS Emulation with DOSBox – Get your old-school game on!

  1. Pingback: DOS Emulation with DOSBox - Get your old-school game on! « Tuxicity’s source

  2. Marius Gedminas

    Bad sound?! Some of the DOS games did incredible stuff with the PC Speaker. I still remember them fondly.

    By the way, you can skip all that tedious mounting stuff if you pass the directory name to dosbox. Example:

    $ cd ~/dosgames/prince
    $ dosbox .
    C:\> prince.bat

    (Blog comments without preview capability. You lose 1 geek point.)

    Reply
  3. Noufal Ibrahim

    A simple point. You can put all your games in a single top level directory (I use ~/games) and put the “mount” and “cd” commands inside the [autoexec] section of your .dosboxrc. That way, you launch dosbox and it all ready to play.

    Some other things I’ve noted are that you might have to change the video mode to cga for some of the older classics (like digger) and that you might have to tweak the speed using c-F8 c-F12 (defaults) to make them playable.

    I’ve taken all my games from http://www.the-underdogs.info rather than abandonia. It’s great site too. Check it out sometime.

    The classics never really go out of style. Do they? :)

    Belated Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  4. Jean

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this tutorial and the link to abandonia! After years of suffering I finally play “Defender of the crown” and “rick dangerous” again!!! :-)

    P.S: hint for people with strange languages like me (german): checkout the wiki at http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/Dosbox where you find preconfigured Ubuntu configs for DOSbox and hints how to solve keyboard problems

    Reply
  5. chibiace

    i highly recommend star control 2, though there is a better sf project for that now.
    while space quest 3 is one of my favorites. oh and of course commander keen and prince

    Reply
  6. Sebastian

    Thanks for the article. I already knew (and love) DOSBox, but your posting made me try again, having so much time on my hands over the holidays… :D
    I downloaded Dune2 and was really amazed how well it works these days. DOSBox has really improved.

    Reply
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  9. jared

    pleese i need that old prince of persia game can u show me that website were u can download such old school games if you do i will be verry gratefull

    Reply
  10. ChickyRRT

    I just got DOSBox last night and its great…kinda… I’ve only tried the lion king so far , but i remember playing it on sega when i was a kid..loved it… I’ve got it up and running but its so jumpy and slow i can hardly play, also the music/sound is glitchy,….any hints to fix this????

    Reply
  11. jacqueline

    hello i was hoping that you could help me. i am trying to find commander keen game download. i have looked everywhere and i havnt been able to find it. all ive been able to find is the zip folders that go by that name but i want to be able to play it not read something i dont understand anyway. please if you can help me please send an answer. im dying to get it

    Reply
  12. Ross

    OK got er done but when I start the game I get a runtime error R6003
    -inter divide by zero
    Runtime error R601
    -null pointer assignment

    What can I do?

    Reply
  13. Glenn's Guides

    Hi Jacqueline, they have a copy of Commander Keen 6 over at Abandonia if you happen to be looking for that edition of the game.

    Reply
  14. Tooth

    I'm having a hard time with the version of Dosbox I am running. I have the game Privateer with the original disk. I am trying to mount my cdrom and have followed all the instructions when you type "intro cdrom" at the z:/c: prompt. Dosbox keeps giving me an error when I try to access the cdrom drive. Also I tried to copy the game files into the /dosprog folder and Dosbox just hangs up if I try to install from that file. I am running Dosbox ver 0.72 on my Ubuntu operating system with these problems, however my desktop at home running XP with Dosbox ver. 0.73 runs fine. Trying to get a little help here, desperately want to play all these old games on my laptop. Thanks

    Reply
  15. Sarah

    Thankyou so so much, that made that so painless!x

    Reply
  16. Arthur

    i wonder where can i find config.file for dosbox, i really dont like typing mount c /home/arthur/dosgames; c:; cd ….. etc.

    can i put this commmands to the autoexec.bat file to get dosgames as the c: drive on each time i use dosbox?

    Reply
  17. sanjay

    hi i installed ubuntu in my computer. now i want to install dosbox. i have downloaded dosbox.now how to proceed further to install dosbox. i am finding great difficulty in that. pls help. bye

    Reply
  18. jaime

    @ sanjay

    In ubuntu it’s as easy as going to the software center and looking for “dosbox” click install, put your password and there you go.

    Reply
  19. RAKESH CHAUHAN

    I WANT TO RUN MS DOS IN UBUNTU ? HELP ME PLEASE
    EXPLAIN STEPWISE

    Reply

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