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Frequently Asked Questions

If you're running Windows XP,
you might want to check out the
Get DOS games working in XP! page

  1. I've downloaded a game, how do I play it?

  2. The game gives me some kind of error when I try to run it! How do I fix it?

  3. The game runs too fast! How can I slow it down?

  4. When I try to run a game, it tries to open in [Word, Paint, Acrobat, etc]! How do I fix that?

  5. When I try to run a game, I get a "Runtime Error"! How do I fix that?

  6. The text in the game is all scrambled, but the graphics look fine. How do I fix that?

  7. I used to play this game where two gorillas threw bananas at each other ...

  8. I tried to play Rogue and it doesn't work!

  9. How do I use VGA graphics in Nethack?

  10. Can you find this old game for me?

  11. Who is that guy in the dosgames.com banner?

  12. Why is Dogbreath such a hunky studmuffin?

Q: I've downloaded a game ... now, how do I play it?
A: The best site to visit to answer this question is ClassicGaming.com's Newbie Guide. It explains how to download, unzip, and play games quite easily! If you still have questions AFTER READING THE GUIDE LINKED TO ABOVE, please contact me.

Q: The game gives me some kind of error when I try to run it! How do I fix it?
A: Woah, that's a bit of an open-ended question, there. First, let me say that not all DOS games will work on all computers, for many different reasons, including the fact that many weren't designed to function with today's advanced hardware.

However, if a game doesn't work for you, here are some things to do:
  • If you use Windows, close any programs you can before running the game. This includes any program in your taskbar and system tray. GetRight seems to give me trouble with some games, for some reason. You could even try disabling your virus scanner temporarily to see if that helps. (Make sure you scan the game first just in case, and turn it back on when you're done.)
  • If you're using Windows, reboot into DOS mode, and try running it. Note that unless you (or someone else) has configured your DOS mode to contain such things as your sound card drivers that you may get additional errors, or may not get sound. I can't help you with this ... they differ from computer to computer.
  • If you used DOS on your computer before installing Windows, try pressing F8 when you see the "Starting Windows..." line as your computer is booting up. Choose the "Reboot into old DOS mode" option, and see if the game will run from there.
  • If the game has a setup program, try running it without sound. Many old DOS games don't support modern sound cards, and while sometimes simply choosing "Soundblaster" will work, other times it will prevent the game from working correctly.
If none of these work, you should check the game's official website (if it has one) and see if they've posted a solution for your particular problem. You could also post your problem on our message board to see if anyone there can help you.

Of course, sometimes, it's just impossible to run a particular game on a particular computer. Try to find another computer to play the game on, or just find a different game! There are over 200 in the archive, after all. ;)

Q: The game runs too fast! How can I slow it down?
A: The easiest way to slow down old games is to hit the Turbo button on your computer, if it has one. Of course, not all computers have Turbo buttons, and not all will slow down all games the way you'd like. So, check out the MoSlo utility (it can be downloaded from the Essential Utilities page), one of many that allow you to slow down a DOS program. It works quite well for most games. Unzip the program to the same directory as the game you want to run slower. Then instead of running the game normally, type "MOSLO /## GAME.EXE", where ## is a number (actually, percentage ... using /50 runs the game at half normal speed) and GAME.EXE is the program you normally run to start the game.

Q: I used to play this game where two gorillas threw bananas at each other ...
A: The game in question ("Gorillas") was one of the sample games that came with QBasic, a basic programming language that was installed as part of DOS 5.0 and up. The good news is that QBasic itself can be found on your Win95 CDROM! The direcory to look in is:
E:\Other\Oldmsdos
Or if you have Win98, check in:
E:\tools\oldmsdos
(Replace 'E' with whatever letter your CDROM drive is ... usually 'D', 'E' or 'F') Copy the two files QBASIC.EXE and QBASIC.HLP to your hard disk. (You may want to create a "QBasic" directory.) If you don't have a Windows CD or can't find QBasic on your CD, you can also download a pack of "old DOS stuff" directly from Microsoft: olddos.exe. Supposedly QBasic is part of that package. ;) Then, you can download Gorilla, Nibbles (another sample game that used to be included with QBasic) and many other QBasic programs from www.qbasic.com. (Look a little ways down that list.) Enjoy! :)

Q: How do I use VGA graphics in Nethack?
A: Using VGA graphics in Nethack instead of the normal ASCII characters is quite simple, if you know what to do. (This info is contained within GUIDEBOO.TXT which is included with Nethack, although it's a little tough to locate.)

Open up your favorite text editor (Notepad will do fine, or DOS Edit if you prefer) and open the file in your Nethack directory called "DEFAULTS.NH". (Or possibly NETHACK.CNF if you're using an old version.) The second section of the file is the "OPTIONS" section. To turn on VGA graphics, comment out all of the lines in the "OPTIONS" section (put a '#' in front of them) except the line that reads "OPTIONS=video:autodetect". That section should look something like this:

# *** OPTIONS ***
#
# The three options on this line should be used for most setups.
# If your machine isn't very IBM-compatible, and NetHack doesn't work,
# try commenting out this line.
#OPTIONS=rawio,BIOS,IBMgraphics
# To use VGA graphical tiles on an MS-DOS PC with VGA or better,uncomment
# this:
OPTIONS=video:autodetect
.....

(The "....." just indicates that the file continues after this line.) Now when you run Nethack, you will see the VGA tileset being used. There are also other options you can set in "DEFAULTS.NH" ... read "GUIDEBOO.TXT" for more info on changing these.

Q: Can you find this old game for me?
A: Sorry, because of school, work, and other responsibilities I can no longer search the web for old games for you. Please read my search tips, and/or post a message on our message board. Thank you, sorry that I can't be more helpful. :/

Q: When I try to run a game, it tries to open in [Word, Paint, Acrobat, etc]! How do I fix that?
A: Short answer: I don't know. :) I've had more than a few people write in with this problem ... it seems very odd to me, as it's almost like there's a problem with Win9x's associations, but that would mean ALL files would be affected, correct? Hmmmm. If anyone has an answer to this, please email me. Thanks! :)

However, here's how you SHOULD be able to get around it: Either reboot into MS-DOS mode (go Start -> Shut Down... -> Restart in MS-DOS Mode) or shell to DOS from Win98 (go Start -> Programs -> MS-DOS Prompt). Change to the directory where the game is stored. (eg. if the game is on drive "C" in the folder "FROGGER" you would type "C:" then "CD\FROGGER".) Then run the game by typing the name of the .EXE or .BAT file and pressing Enter.

Q: The text in the game is all scrambled, but the graphics look fine. How do I fix that?
A: This problem is often caused by an incompatibility with certain chipsets used on modern video cards. For information on a possible solution to this problem, please visit: Soleau Software's Guide to Scrambled Text in DOS Games.

Q: When I try to run a game, I get a "Runtime Error"! How do I fix that?
A: This type of error is usually quite generic, and unfortunately there is rarely an easy fix for this type of error. Sometimes running MoSlo will fix the problem. If not, often there is nothing that can be done.

HOWEVER, if the error you receive is "Runtime Error 200", you may want to visit The Runtime Error 200 Website, which gives more info about this specific error. There is a program you can download called "TPpatch" which is supposed to patch programs that give this error to make them work. You can click here to download TPpatch. Please note I can't give any support to TPpatch! Read the website linked to above for help.


Q: I tried to play Rogue and it doesn't work!
A: Try going here: Rogue Download Page. There are several different versions of Rogue there, hopefully one of them will work for you. :)

Q: Who is that guy in the dosgames.com banner?
A: Commander Keen! He's the eponymous hero of Apogee's Commander Keen sidescrollers. You can download episodes 1, 4, 6, and Keen Dreams from this site.

Q: Why is Dogbreath such a hunky studmuffin?
A: Only God knows why. ;-)




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