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Can You Go Home Again? on Game and Player

Can You Go Home Again?

Heather Richtmyre  //  January 25, 2011

The concept of backwards compatibility is sometimes just that.


hile picking up older games brings many risks, from concerns about outdated graphics and controls, to a general loss of nostalgia, I've found that the technical details involved with playing and running such games to be more off-putting than any other factors.

Unsurprisingly, such complications can combine with other aspects to make a game even less appealing. While I have some desire to play The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, having to use DOSbox to run the game and then repeatedly dying to a rat right after watching the opening cut scene does a quite solid job of dampening my enthusiasm.

Thief II is another example. While nothing within the game has caused me particular frustration, the repeated crashes that seem to be a result of running it on a system with multiple processor cores complicate things, even with the application of temporary fixes.

And of course, this doesn't factor in such things as hardware and software requirements. Some games will not function on newer operating systems, and console games tend to require a particular set of hardware as well.

I have, however, found several older games that are worth dealing with the technical issues to play. Ocarina of Time is one, despite the expense of finding a copy of the Masterquest version, along with the aforementioned copy of Thief II and Myst. While not incredibly old, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind also brings up some of these issues, though more in the implementation of mods than in merely the game.

And with the new computer, perhaps I can get Riven to run.

Ed Kirchgessner // January 25, 2011 // 6:43 PM

While I generally prefer Windows Vista/7 to XP in just about every way possible, Microsoft's most recent operating systems seem to make it considerably harder to run old games (Apple was no kinder, having done away with 'Classic' mode). I have a practically unused copy of Myst: 10th Anniversary Collection sitting on my shelf that will most likely never see use again.

One solution: GOG. While I've run into a few issues with games I've downloaded from the site, they generally do an outstanding job of getting old games to load on newer operating systems.

Garrison // April 14, 2011 // 7:01 AM

I've had the same issue with playing Civ 2 on Win7. It was very difficult, and compatibility mode was of no use. Eventually, with a fan-made patch and some file shifting, I got it to run.

But even (relatively) newer games won't run. Battle for Middle Earth II for example. I've tried several things to get that to run and it won't. At least Steam has a few classics, like X-COM.

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