Technology: the only way to be a wizard if Hogwarts won't have you.

Return of the Rock-n-Roll DOSBox Freak Show

Date/Time Permalink: 08/20/08 12:25:03 pm
Category: Linux Gaming

Summer's going too fast, man. The kids are almost back in school, already, which makes this the perfect time for the grown-ups to huddle back to their simulated DOS directory and play at some goofy, childish fun. So once again, we crank up DOSBox and grab random stuff off the abandonware buffet. Sometimes for nostalgia, sometimes for thrills, and most of the time just for the endorphin rush from the masochism.

Secret Agent

Secret Agent

A little-known and hard-to-find Apogee classic, this game sports harsh Windows 3.1-era colors, buzzy 8-note beeps, and is doggone hard to play. This game is pretty low-quality for an Apogee title, and you get the feeling that they wrote it more to test an engine or fill time between blockbusters than for the game itself. The splash screen is the best part. But it still beats working. Because there's a man who leads a life of danger, and to everyone he meets he stays a stranger. With every move he makes another chance he takes. And something about odds. Get it here.

MicroProse F1 One Grand Prix / World Circuit

Grand Prix

As far as I can tell, this game was doomed by having its name be too long. After that, it's a game of ups and downs. Ups: graphics, handling, realism. It looks fantastic for 1993. Downs: sound (minor) and controls (major!). The controls have a maddening default setup, and you will find yourself in nested-menu-maze hell trying to change anything. Well, what do you use to accelerate and brake? The 'a' and 'z' keys. So, with that in mind, you'd expect to steer with the arrow keys? No, you steer with the mouse by default - which is set to this slow tracking speed so you need to frantically spin the mouseball at Mach 8 to get the car to change its heading by one degree. Oh, so you shift with the mouse buttons? No, silly, it's space bar to shift. Oh, and if you try to steer it with the arrow keys, that will either (depending on mode) switch drivers (you have co-pilots in practice mode), or switch camera views, which will startle you when, without explanation, you teleport to the sidelines to watch your now out-of-control shark fly off the road and nerf a chicken coop. Here it is, good luck!

Barbie Super Model

Barbie Super Model

Meanwhile, while we were all sitting around wondering why there aren't any girl gamers, the executives at Hi-Tech Expressions, Inc. were puffing their stogies around the big walnut table in their Star Chamber trying to figure out how to get girls to game. Their solution was to make games be all cloying pink hearts and diamonds and glitter and bouncy techno music. Barbie must train to be a super-model, which will involve riding a motorcycle through flaming hoops, wrestling crocodiles, beating a Kung-Fu master with nunchucks, and taking off her belt and using it to whip the flaming Jesus out of corporate game executives just like that big Indian dude did to Steve Buscemi in Fargo. You wish. Actually, it involves doing The Catwalk. You want to do The Catwalk? It's Alt, Down, Alt, Left, Control, Up, Control, Up. Better practice that a dozen times so you don't blow it in front of the crowd. Get it here, fer shure!

7 Colors

7 Colors

7 Colors is just the kind of quirky, one-of-a-kind game I go looking for when I go abandonware snarfing. Since it isn't given in the game, I'll say here that you switch colors along the row at the bottom with the 'z' and 'c' keys, and select a color with the 'x' key. Switch colors on your home group to match all adjacent groups, and your home group will absorb more groups and grow to dominate the board. Gain more territory than your opponent and win. This is a thinky game, with classical music and a set-your-own-pace playing style. It's more fun than you're thinking it is, and I could see it making a good casual Flash game. Discover it here.

Family Feud

Family Feud

In the category of "My God, I can't believe I'm playing this!" comes this ancient hoary relic from 1987. Yes, kids, they had computers then. To look at the screenshot, if I told you it was actually a LiteBrite board, you'd believe me. Anyway, the game is very playable, albeit some of the questions date the game severely. If anybody out there can figure out how to edit the questions files and update them, we could start a revival around this thing. But, see, I always sucked at F.F. and Wheel of Fortune type games, because when the question is "Name a specific food some people like with sugar and some like without." and two of the answers are 'coffee' and 'tea', I stand up and howl in rage "Coffee and tea are beverages, dammit, not foods!" And then I just tearfully flail at the ushers until they haul me out of the theater. You can have it if you want it.

Previous in this series:
The Rock-n-Roll DOSBox Freak Show
Son of the Rock-n-Roll DOSBox Freak Show

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