- A Sears Tele-Games branded version of the Atari 2600 'Light Sixer' model
- A Model 1 version of the Mattel Intellivision
- A mint condition, complete-in-box NES Action Set
- A complete-in-box, virtually never used black Nintendo Wii that doesn't have backward compatibility with GameCube...
- A number of games for all these systems, some of which were also complete-in-box. (Especially with the NES & Intellivision games...)
This individual's contributions to my 'Game Room of DOOM' have been quite extensive over the years. So, he thought I might be interested in some of these old PC games he had laying around. Some of them were interesting for various historical reasons. There's the shareware version of Doom, all 5 disks of v1.7 of Doom II, Lemmings and a demo version of Star Wars TIE Fighter on floppy disk. The CD-ROMs were just PC Gamer sample discs with demos for old Star Trek games and a full copy of Duke Nukem 3D. In addition to being welcome additions to the collection, they would also make great museum pieces too.
However, they would need to be tested first...
At first, I thought I'd have to break out some old hardware running WinXP. It would have been either an old laptop named Majel 1 or a cheap netbook named Majel 3. I named all my computers after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the wife of Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry, and the actress who lent her voice to all the Starfleet's computers. Yes, I really am that much of a nerd.
Then, my inner Mad Scientist had an epiphany and I suddenly realized that wasn't necessary. I'd be testing those floppies with a USB floppy drive that I bought in 2004, not an internal floppy drive in a machine itself. I didn't need to actually install and run the games to make sure they work, either. All I have to do is make sure I can access the files on them. Then, if I really want to try and run it on Majel 5 (my current Desktop), all I have to do is rip the files to a SD card/USB Thumb Drive/Whatever and open the files in DOSBox.'
So, that's what I did. I plugged the floppy drive into Majel 5 and proceeded to test the disks. They were read and I could access them. That means that they all still work. The miracles never cease, heh? I then tried the CD-ROM discs. Same happy result. They all read and I could probably do a native install of Duke Nukem 3D on my new desktop without using any emulators or backward compatibility tricks. So, that means that I now have a few more DOS & old Windows games to sit in the game room and collect dust on the shelf with my other PC games. Sweet! :P
Speaking of which, I then remembered that I have a number of old computer games that people just gave away. Not all of them are for a Microsoft OS like DOS or Windows, either. There's a plastic case full of cartridge software for the TI-99/4A, which I can't test since I don't have one of those computers. And, there's also several complete-in-box games for the Atari ST, all of which came on 3.5" floppy disks. There are both U.S. and U.K. releases in this small stack of complete-in-box ST games, comprising several genres ranging from strategy to space shooters and (I think) at least one platformer.
I remember reading somewhere that a floppy that was formatted for Atari ST would also read on an IBM-compatible PC back in the day. Since all modern PC's still have varying levels of backward compatibility with the old IBM PC's of yore, I decided to see if they would read. Windows told me that the disk would have to be reformatted before it could be read. I quickly removed the disk before Windows started getting any bad ideas.
I then did a little research and found that I was wrong. Atari ST computers with a double-sided floppy drive could read MS-DOS formatted disks but, MS-DOS PC's couldn't read the Atari disks. Dammit. There was 3rd party software that copied data between the two computers' disparate operating systems and file formats. Atari also built that capability into later versions of the ST's operating system, starting with TOS v1.4. However, that doesn't help me any since I don't have an Atari ST yet! It's one of those old classic systems that I have been trying to find for years without success. Same could be said for the TI-99/4A, Colecovision and Atari Lynx, to name a few. Arrgghhh!!!
So, for now at least, I am still unable to read any of the disks for the Atari ST in my collection. That sucks. I wanted to see what those old games were like, and if any of them were any good. Online reviews, Let's Play videos and discussion forums can only tell you so much.
However, one day, I will get my hands on the appropriate hardware. Until then, maybe I'll quit being lazy and go find an Atari ST emulator to see what those games were like and if I want to keep or re-sell them...
- Lord Publius