Playing DOS games from GOG

Since I bumped into it last year, GOG, or Good Old Games has become my favorite online merchant. GOG sells plenty of the classics that I never got to play, like the Fallout series and Freespace. And GOG sells them pretty cheap, too, at either $9.99 and $5.99 (and because I'm really cheap, I wait for their 25% discounts.) And they take Paypal. And Best of all, no DRM.

For the most part, the games work on Wine. I believe I've already posted screenshots of Fallout on this blog. And then there are some games that run on DOSBOX, like Earthworm Jim and M.A.X. And that leads us to the strange situation where you run the game on DOSBOX which happens to be running under Wine. An emulator on an emulator, get it?

On the other hand, DOSBOX is DOSBOX, right? I should just use DOSBOX on Ubuntu to play the game, rather than the strange and wasteful emulator-on-emulator. Unfortunately, it had me scratching my head how I would get it done.

Actually, it's quite easy once you know the why and the how. GOG tweaks its DOS games with some special DOSBOX configuration files. You have to run DOSBOX using these configuration files. You cannot run the game executables immediately from DOSBOX. In hindsight, this is actually much much easier.

Before you get to that point, you have to install the game first. This is no problem as GOG's game installers work perfectly with Wine on Ubuntu.

The games will normally be located under ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/

Switch over to the directory of the game you want to play. To start the game, just run DOSBOX with the -conf parameter. For M.A.X., for example, it's:

dosbox -conf dosboxMAX1.conf

And after that, the game just starts like magic.