How to play old pc games with DOSBox for Windows

With DOSBox we will always have with us all the videogames we used to play in the arcade when we were kids, but to use it you must also install LaunchBox

Retrogaming, or rather the passion for classic videogames, is experiencing a second youth. Thanks mainly to the various consoles of the past that Nintendo has decided to revive. Fans of old PC games, however, can rely on DOSBox, a platform that offers games that have made history.

In recent years, the rediscovery of the games of the past has become a real passion. Nintendo itself has recently presented the mini SNES. That is, the console myth of the nineties revisited in a modernĀ and with 21 classic titles inside. But this is just a drop in a sea of news for video game fans. On various smartphone stores there are classic Atari and Sega games. And to play them all we have to do is install an application. It gets more complicated if we're fans of video games for old Windows systems. But with DOSBox they can finally go back to playing the old video games.


How does DOSBox work? Simple, it is a program that allows you to play on recent Microsoft operating systems (from Windows XP on up) titles designed for older versions of Windows, and now no longer compatible. Basically it will be like having a game room on your home computer. To start playing just download the program and install the latest version of DOSBox from the official site. The software is compatible not only with Windows 10 but also with Linux and Mac operating systems. And there are also three apps for Android smartphones. AFreeBox is the only one that is free.

Front End

The basic problem with DOSBox is that you need minimal computer knowledge to use it. Therefore, it is not really recommended for all users. Fortunately, however, to enable all people, even those with less knowledge about it, front ends have been created. Nothing complicated. These are some graphical interfaces that allow a simple management of video games. These front ends have been developed for Windows, Mac and Linux. On Windows the most widely used is LaunchBox and on Mac Dapplegrey. On Linux the reference front end is DBoxFE. These also serve to save the progress made in the game.

And abandonware portals

The easiest way to find games is to go to a site where you can download an abandonware. That is, a game whose license has not been renewed. The risk of installing these files is to find malware inside them. That's why it is best to do it exclusively from reliable sites. Among them we surely find Abandonia. Abandonia collects all those videogames whose copyrights have expired. And even those that are no longer supported by the manufacturer. The site was founded in 1999 and after a few years of anonymity has begun to enjoy great success. So much so that today Abandonia collects more than a thousand different video game titles and has over 100 thousand registered users. The site focuses on DOS games that can be chosen by name, release date, rating or category. Abandonware DOS is also a reliable site and as you can guess from the name it is specialized on DOS titles. It also has a good archive of old Windows video games. But, of course, nothing recent. The site is very active and has reviewed every title within it to help you make the right choice. You can browse the games by title, rating or release date. Also you can see specific information and previews of the game before downloading it. Another reliable site is RGB Classic Games. The portal has a wide range of classic DOS games, even unpublished titles, and there are even some "modern" DOS titles. Obviously always dated if compared to the video games of recent times. The goal of the site is to preserve games made in the past for operating systems that are no longer available, such as CP/M-86, OS/2, Win16 and Win9x, just to name a few. Finally Remain in Play is a site that differs, in part, from the others listed so far because it refuses to include titles that were released for free since their launch. This site therefore has several titles that have been marketed for years and are now no longer found because they were abandoned by the manufacturer. The site's interface is really annoying, with a black background and garish writing, but Remain in Play will give you a lot of satisfaction if you are a nostalgic gamer.


So far we have seen the theoretical part. Now let's see how to install LaunchBox to use the front end of DOSBox on Windows computers. And thus be able to finally play the classic video game titles of many years ago on today's PC. First, let's go to the official website of the program and download LaunchBox. It is compatible with all Windows systems higher than 7. Once the graphic interface is installed, we'll have a relatively modern program available. For those accustomed to Steam, this is a platform that more or less performs a similar task. To choose the categories of games we just need to browse through the platforms present (in this case if we are interested in old PC games we choose the Windows entry). In this section we will have to add the code of the game we have downloaded from one of the portals previously listed where the abandonware is found.