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Classic Gaming Sites


MrFlibble

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I've always been a retro-gamer of sorts, and I'm glad to see that old game sites and forums are quite active these days. Here's a list of a few noteworthy ones - even if you haven't been inclined towards old games before, you might just as well try going retro now :)

Freeware & Shareware Archives

Remain in Play

This is as much a database of commercial games that have been released into public domain as it is a gaming site. It provides info, screenshots and downloads of freeware games, but keep in mind that the database includes not only playable games, but also source code and raw data if those were the only things released to the public. There options to filter games by type of distributed content, and it's a good idea to look for binary executables if you want to get playable games and not files that are barely useful if you aren't a programmer or game developer yourself.

Theodor Lauppert's Game Gallery (mirror site)

Here you'll find interesting, insightful reviews of games, tons of related links, screenshots, demo/shareware/freeware downloads etc. You can browse games by genre, title, platform (featured games aren't limited to PC only), or country. There are also a few interesting related sites:

King Svatopluk's Court - a nice site dedicated to various RPGs like the Elder Scrolls series.

Svatopluk's Game World - various articles about games.

Svatopluk's DOSBox - a large, unsorted collection of screenshots from various DOS games.

Svatopluk's Arcade - a lot of info and screenshots about all sorts of arcade games.

Demu.org (formerly known as DOS Museum)

This is by far the largest archive of shareware episodes, demo versions, extras and utils for DOS and Windows games, as well as a selection of other programmes. Quite a few rare items can be found here, so it's a must see for everyone :) The only imaginable drawback is that original file names of archives aren't always preserved, and some games have been repackaged in RAR for better compression. Both playable and unplayable demo versions (and also preview slideshows, trailers etc.) are present. There's an option of ordering a DVD with the entire collection of the site per mail. Links to sites that offer full versions of featured games for purchase are present where applicable.

RGB Classic Games

Behind this site is an extensive agenda of preservation of old games (DOS and Windows), and thanks to the initiative of the site's author some old titles have been officially released into public domain by their respective developers following Internet petitions. RGB Classic Games is unique because it aims to include every existing version of each featured game, and the community members actively search for rare releases of old games. Each game on the site is accompanied by an brief but informative description that contains info on developers, publishers, current availability etc. Non-playable content is usually not included. The site also offers their complete collection on DVDs. Links to sites that offer full versions of featured games for purchase are present where applicable. There's also an extensive archive of emulators and other utilities you might need to play the games on modern machines, and comprehensive guides to successfully running old games on new hardware. In addition, there is an option to play featured games right in your browser.

Smush The Cat

A nice collection of shareware episodes, demo versions and freeware full versions of old DOS and Windows games. Descriptions and other info are scarce, but links to official and related websites for games are present if possible. There's an option to browse by multiple categories (platform, game type etc.). The site also offers utilities that might be needed to run the old games on modern systems.

dosgames.com

This is a popular site with a large archive of DOS games, offering playable demo versions and shareware episodes. Well-known classics are present alongside more obscure titles. There's also a community forum where people can get help with getting a game to run on a modern machine, or locating an old game they just can't find. A selection of utilities needed to run the games is also available.

DOS Games Archive

A sister site to dosgames.com. Non-playable content is also present, as are full versions of games that have officially become freeware. There's a multi-category browsing option (by genre, playability etc.), a number of selected screenshots for each game (unfortunately, they're not always from the demo version), cheat code listings and links to places where you can buy the full version if a game is still sold.

The DOS Multiplayer Archives

This site focuses on playing old DOS games over the net (through DOSBox). It offers demos of DOS games that have multiplayer capability, already bundled with DOSBox configured for online play. The collection of games isn't very large at the moment, but it can be expected to grow. Currently, the focus is on the less known games that have a multiplayer option, because they're not as easy to run on modern systems as those well-known classics (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D etc.) that have source ports to newer platforms, as well as large supporting communities.

Game Reviews

Hardcore Gaming 101

A dedicated old-gaming site with a huge database of detailed articles about PC and console games and game series.

The Computer Show

This is an archive of previews, reviews, walkthroughs and other articles about games that have been released in the nineties.

Ancient DOS Games

Periodic issues of video reviews of DOS games can be found here.

HappyPuppy (archived copy)

This seems to have been one of the most active gaming sites in the nineties, with reviews and links to shareware and demo downloads. Definitely worth of checking it out! :D

FTP Archives

Gamers.Org has several old FTP file archives on their site:

Special Features and Services at Gamers.Org:

FTP Archive at the Polish Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematic and Computer Modelling

A nice FTP archive of shareware and demo programmes and games.

The following are mirrors of a certain old FTP site with shareware and demo downloads:

http://www.ftp.funet...ex/msdos/games/

ftp://nic.funet.fi/pub/msdos/games/

Sites Dedicated to Specific Games and Companies

3D Realms' Master Download Page

Apogee Software, more commonly known as 3D Realms after it's sub-brand focused on 3D games, pioneered the shareware model of game distribution, in which a sizeable portion of a game ("episode") was offered for free download and distribution, and the rest could be ordered by "registering" the game, if the player liked it. This successful strategy was later employed by other companies, like id Software, and the result is a large number of classic shareware games that are freely distributed. The downloads archive features shareware episodes of games published by Apogee/3D Realms, and also offers full versions of games that have become freeware. Generally, the 3D Realms website has a lot interesting stuff to explore, visit their FAQs section and the extensive Apogee Legacy interviews archive by Joe Siegler.

El Zee's Amulets & Armor Forum

A fan forum for discussing Amulets and Armor, a first-person action/RPG game that runs on the Doom engine.

leileilol's Unofficial Amulets & Armor Shrine

A little site about the game, which aslo includes downloads of the shareware version.

Rise of the Triad Headquarters

As the name suggests, this is a site dedicated to Apogee's Rise of the Triad, and it contains extensive information about the game and everything related to it. The downloads section offers source ports, the shareware version, and various extras. There's also a forum.

The Sierra Help Pages

As the name suggests, the site is dedicated to games by Sierra On-line. There's extensive information about the games, hints and tips, and helpful information about running them on modern machines. The site also features and extensive collection of demo versions of Sierra games.

The Sierra Chest

An extensive database of Sierra games, with screenshots, downloadable demos, and various links.

SierraGamers - The Official Website of Ken and Roberta Williams

Exactly what it says on the tin, it's a site maintained by Ken and Roberta Williams and dedicated to Sierra games and legacy. A must visit for every Sierra fan, and anyone interested in the history of computer games.

The Chaos Regime

A site about games by Bitmap Brothers. Features demo downloads, screenshots and interesting info.

Interplay Official Website

The official website of Interplay Entertainment. They've got tech support for their old games, as well as demos, patches and other extras like PDF manuals and, in some cases, even music. Some links seem to be broken though.

Westwood Remembered

A tribute to Westwood Studios, this archive at CnC World is a copy of the company’s official site from 1996.

Miscellaneous Gaming Sites

A Force for Good

This website is about old PC games, and how to run them on modern systems. It offers detailed reviews of many games, both for DOS and Win9x, and general information articles about where to find old games, and what tools and tricks to use to get them running.

Videogame Music Preservation Foundation

A database of music from video games, regardless of platform. You can browse entries by games, by artists, formats or platforms. Also has its own Wiki.

leileilol's 90's Hunter

An interesting collection of obscure shareware and freeware games from the nineties. Also featured are largely unknown modifications for certain old games.

Leliork's Site

The site features a rather extensive list of old FPS games, organized by year of release, and contains screenshots and download links for demo/shareware/freeware releases of each game (if applicable). The content seems to exclude vehicle FPS games though, but it has quite a few rare titles so it's worth looking into.

S&F Prod.

A neat site about oldies, with various interesting and useful info about classic games (and, in some cases, utilities like game data extractors).

CuteFloor’s YouTube Channel

Has a large section of videos from unreleased DOS games, as well as alpha and beta versions.

Retro Game Forum

A promising forum dedicated to old gaming on various platforms, including home computer systems, consoles and game arcade machines.

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Yep, that's DOSGuy's (the creator of RGB Classic Games) idea to present opinions of community participants in this way :)

Another really noteworthy site, focused more on the history and analysis of games (but also featuring an extensive downloads database) is Theodor Lauppert's Game Gallery (mirror site). There are articles about game genres as well as individual games, lots of pics and quite a few rare finds. Apart from PC games, Mac, Amiga, arcade and other platform-specific games are featured. Overall, it's a very educational read for everyone :)

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There's a (presumably unplayable) official demo of Civilization, but I couldn't make it work, even in DOSBox (maybe it requires EGA mode to do so, but I didn't give it a try yet). Here's the link:

http://www.gamefront.com/files/2059201/civdem_zip

On the other hand, there is a playable demo of Master of Magic:

http://www.gamefront.com/files/2059241/momdemo_zip

I have no idea if Civilization is still being sold anywhere, but you could always try GOG.com or similar services. Alternatively, just like Andrew said, FreeCiv is a pretty viable option. IIRC you can set it to play using Civ1 rules.

And yes, please no "abandonware" (except for abandonware in the RGB Classic Games's sense of the word) or warez site links here.

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DOS Games Download [link removed]

Yet another nice site that offers legal downloads of old games. There's browsing by genre categories, and info on release date, publisher, distribution type (demo, shareware, freeware), a brief description and a screenshot is provided for each title. As far as I'm concerned, original file names of distribution package archives are also preserved.

[Edit] Apparently, this site turned out to be an unauthorized copy of dosgames.com, whose admin asked me to remove the link to it.

BTW, one of the most common problems with DOS gaming sites is that no information about the type of distribution of a game is given, so it is not always possible to determine at first glance if a download is legal or not. Obviously, the presence of games that never had any public demo versions or shareware episodes on a site is a pretty clear indication of what you can expect there.

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The Sierra Chest

An extensive database of Sierra games, with screenshots, downloadable demos, and various links.

SierraGamers - The Official Website of Ken and Roberta Williams

Exactly what it says on the tin, it's a site maintained by Ken and Roberta Williams and dedicated to Sierra games and legacy. A must visit for every Sierra fan, and anyone interested in the history of computer games.

The Chaos Regime

A site about games by Bitmap Brothers. Features demo downloads, screenshots and interesting info.

Interplay Official Website

The official website of Interplay Entertainment. They've got tech support for their old games, as well as demos, patches and other extras like PDF manuals and music (as in the case of Descent II).

Videogame Music Preservation Foundation

A database of music from video games, regardless of platform. You can browse entries by games, by artists, formats or platforms. Also has its own Wiki.

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I guess the question for me is do these companies (Sierra, apogee, Epic) still make money from their old games? Sometimes I think about registering, for example, Death Rally, but it's still kinda expensive for such an outdated game. I guess HL sales probably went up with Portal 2's recent release, and Duke Nukem 3D as well, probably (though fans of the new game are probably die hard fans of the original and still use the old disks). I mean, I feel like these old publishers are riding the nostalgia into the ground without really planning for the future. I'll admit though, I've been thinking about picking Caesar III back up after weeks of dwarf fortress :)

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No mention of Westwood titles but they've only announced 6 of the 25 so far.

Well, EA's been on a giveaway spree with Westwood RTS titles, no idea if they have any interest in other games/series (Kyrandia, Lands of Lore, Eye of the Beholder etc.).

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Leliork's Site

The site features a rather extensive list of old FPS games, organized by year of release, and contains screenshots and download links for demo/shareware/freeware releases of each game (if applicable).

The content seems to exclude vehicle FPS games though, but it has quite a few rare titles so it's worth looking into.

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Just noticed that the official Descent II soundtrack downloads from Interplay's website aren't working, but the official soundtrack MP3 pack can be downloaded from Planet Descent.

Rise of the Triad Headquarters

As the name suggests, this is a site dedicated to Apogee's Rise of the Triad, and it contains extensive information about the game and everything related to it. The downloads section offers source ports, the shareware version, and various extras. There's also a forum.

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Gamers.Org has several old FTP file archives on their site:

Special Features and Services at Gamers.Org:

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Ancient DOS Games

Ancient DOS Games is a webshow dedicated to bringing to light many of the games made 10, 15, 20 or more years ago for personal computers using the Disk Operating System, aka DOS. Each episode generally covers a single game, shows a variety of gameplay footage, discusses how you might go about obtaining the game nowadays and how to run the game best using the DOSBox emulator on a modern computer.

Each video page also has additional information and corrections to cover any mistakes that creep into the videos or elements that get missed entirely. Information may also include links of interest or additional notes.

Thanks to Dogbreath from dosgames.com for finding this site! :D

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Recently I've stumbled upon an impressive collection of video walkthroughs for all levels of Rise of the Triad (shareware episode and Extreme Rise of the Triad included, plus a few extras):

http://www.youtube.com/user/PsychedelicSA#p/c/7867E6CE6B85FB3C/0/gpqPBku8YvQ

All videos are supplied with interesting and witty comments, listening to which makes a great entertainment in itself, apart from the walkthroughs that are rather detailed and in most cases cover all of the secret areas within a particular level. These videos are probably the number one source of in-depth information about the game alongside with the official FAQ. Apparently, the guy who did these videos is a prominent member of Something Awful.

As an undeniable confirmation of quality of this video collection, Joe Siegler himself gave it his delighted approval.

Another thing definitely worth watching too is this video review of the game, which is part of the Era Game Reviews (a pretty nice series of reviews of old games, by the way):

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I've just been notified of this true gem of ninties' gaming:

HappyPuppy (archived copy)

This seems to have been one of the most active gaming sites in the nineties, with reviews and links to shareware and demo downloads. Definitely worth of checking it out! :D

Also, somehow I keep forgetting about this very nice FTP archive:

FTP Archive at the Polish Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematic and Computer Modelling

It's a very nice FTP archive of shareware and demo programmes and games from the nineties, with some rather rare stuff.

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