Wednesday, March 8, 2017

HOW I USED PCem TO CREATE A VIRTUAL 486 PC. Now I can enjoy playing Tornado on it!

Tags: virtualisation, PC emulation, reviving them olde dead games, PCem, DOSBox, Tornado flight sim, high fidelity sound, pure Voodoo graphics, leave your dusty outdated PC in the attic, maximum coolness, extreme awesomeness

I don't have my own 486 PC. The last time I used one was in 2002. I couldn't play lots of old games on my modern PC. So I created a virtual 486 PC on my 64-bit Windows 10 Dell laptop. Now I can play any old DOS or Windows95/98 game on my Intel i5-4210U, 1.7Ghz, 8Gb RAM Dell laptop.

Here's the thing. You've got lots of CDs of old games, but you can't play them because they can't and won't run on your modern machine. Short of downloading the revived versions from Steam or (that's is if they are there!), there is another way. PCem.

Today I figured out how to use PCem to play the old DOS and Windows flight simulators in their native environment. Woo hoo!

I'm talking high-fidelity Soundblaster sounds and music, accurate CPU cycles as per the actual PC BIOS and motherboards. I'm talking about Voodoo1 and Voodoo2 3Dfx rendering of graphics (better than what any 3Dfx software Glide Wrapper can do). In short, I can create my own virtual 486 machine with all the trimmings (devices and drivers) so that I can play classic DOS and Windows games with the authentic 1990s aural and visual experience!

PCem is a PC emulator that's been around for some time. After lots of poking around, I managed to setup up virtual machine (emulator) running on MS-DOS 6.22 bootable disk and Windows 95. The MS-DOS bootable disk is for playing DOS games - especially Tornado which needs at least 605 kilobytes of free conventional RAM. The Windows 95 mode is for running Mig Alley and other dinosaur Windows flight simulators that modern computers abhor.

Using PCem, I emulated a 486DX/2 40Mhz machine. That was expensive state of the art back in the early 1990s.

Here are some screenshots of my efforts. PCem running on my Windows 10 laptop!

Windows 95 running in all its glory on my desktop. To run in MS-DOS 6.22,
I have to attach the MS-DOS 6.22 boot disk image file, just before Win95 kicks in.

Tornado running merrily along. An external view.

For more of this madness, read more here.

Frankie Kam

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