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DOS - 1989

Also released on: Apple II - Commodore 64

Alt names Wasteland 1: The Original Classic, Wasteland: Adventure in Post-Nuclear America
Year 1989
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Role-Playing (RPG)
Theme North America, Post-Apocalyptic, Turn-based
Publisher Electronic Arts, Inc.
Developer Interplay Productions, Inc.
Perspectives 1st-Person, 2D scrolling, Top-Down
Dosbox support Fully supported on 0.70
4.33 / 5 - 123 votes

Download extras files
Misc available

Description of Wasteland

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My most favorite RPG ever, and one of the very few games that earned a permanent place on my hard drive since the first time I installed it, Wasteland is an epic post-apocalyptic RPG that set new standards for the genre that arguably have not since been matched.

Set in the California after World War 3 nuclear holocaust, the game casts you as a band of Desert Rangers, a vigilante group intent on bringing some order into the bleak, chaotic society, from town to town, gradually uncovering a sinister plot that threatens what's left of mankind. Just how good is the game, and why does it deserve to be in every RPG gamer's collection? George Shannon's eloquent review for MobyGames says it much better than I could:

"Even with outdated graphics, the setting sets one's imagination aflame, using familiar elements from life and including them in the game, but overlaying the horror of nuclear war on top. While some of the darker elements aren't as evident, it's still very obvious throughout the game that there is a detailed, thoughtful, and even meaningful post-apocalyptic theme everywhere. Another element that makes Wasteland such a great game is the character development system.

Most RPGs have a player select a class for a party member - but what IS a class? Does it let YOU role-play? No, the class tells you what and how to role-play. Does it enhance the game? Perhaps, but once the class is defined there's no real development OF the character - A level 1 knight has the same desires, goals, and value systems as a level 18 knight. Wasteland uses a skill and attribute based system, periodically giving a character 'points' to use on attributes and skills, as well as having skills increase through use.

But moreover, the character development doesn't stop when you use up the points - many places in Wasteland allow a character to separate from the rest of the party and engage in some solo activity - maybe hooking up with a prostitute, or venturing into a cat-and-mouse game within the mind of an android. Stuff like this builds the character individually, and thus, the party. By the end of the game, I look at my characters and not only see what they are (level 20 Corporals, demolitions dude, charismatic leader, tech expert...) but what they went through... their individual victories and tribulations. This makes for a very powerful gaming experience.

In other areas, Wasteland does quite well. Graphics are average to outstanding. The play balance is nearly perfect - the advancement from one area prepares you quite well for the next, neither too hard nor to easy. Not many sounds are included, fortunately they are simple and do not get repetitive. Overall, even without the character development, Wasteland is just plain fun. With such a positive personal slant on Wasteland, it's hard to define problems with it. In some places, the appearance of enemies is too 'generated' (they pop up out of nowhere, Bard's Tale style) and are seemingly endless. Some enemies and situations are a little too 'weird', but Wasteland isn't supposed to be about realism. Some plot elements are a little cliché, but most are handled quite well.

Wasteland is an amazing ROLE-playing game. The setting is thorough and detailed, your characters can get into all sorts of trouble, as individuals and as a party. This makes Wasteland a unique experience every time."

It is too bad that the official sequel Mean Time was never made, and Fountain of Dreams, Electronic Arts' "unofficial sequel" is extremely disappointing. With a unique skill-based system that lead to many excellent adventure-style puzzles, intriguing plot with tons of '80s references, and a truly epic scale full of many hidden surprises and subplots that guarantee hundreds of hours of play and replay value, Wasteland is simply a must-have. If you wonder where Bethesda's Fallout came from, this is its true predecessor (and a game I infinitely enjoy more than Fallout series). A classic in every sense of the word.

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

mamix 2023-01-02 1 point

I bought this on steam which is modded DOSBox version. I just wanted to see apple ][ and Commodore 64 version but it's gone because DOS version is on sale. pity.

larry 2022-06-29 2 points

one of the most important games of video games history.

after so many years of dedication, i think gamers of all ages, deserve to experience this game for free.

CeeJay 2022-05-12 3 points

Fuck y'all for putting a price tag on this

BWYUH 2022-03-10 2 points DOS version

I nabbed this game for free a while before GOG got their paws on it. You can really get drawn into the wasteland world playing this, and of course, I love the Wastelands anyhow.

thealamo67 2019-10-05 0 point DOS version

I got this from, and other than the graphics, the game itself stands the test of time! Also, I'm a huge fan of the Fallout series, so having this game in my library was a must.

Matthew Rease 2019-07-17 0 point

@Geist actually, running this on a Tandy 1000 is exactly my goal. I'm sure I can find the download I need, but those 360k floppy archives sound very nice!

Geist 2017-11-16 2 points DOS version

I have the two 360K floppy DOS version of this game. You think anyone would be interested getting these zipped and submitted? I initially tried the DOS version you guys had on my Tandy 1000 but it wouldn't work. I ran across a functioning set of original floppies for the DOS version of the game and I successfully installed it on my Tandy 1000. I figured it would be nice for the retro PC gamers who use native hardware for the time period.

GTS250Gamer101 2017-05-17 0 point

Loaded this onto my ancient Panasonic Toughbook CF 45...
Running it in Win 95 DOS mode now!

Ranger B 2017-05-10 1 point

The greatest RPG ever made. Yes I have played this game fully through over 50 times (1987-2017) It holds a special place for me, the challenges (Guardian Citadel, Finsters Mind Maze, Vegas Sewes) well thought out, exciting and challenging a true classic! I laughed at the Black Lotus comment above! this game is a GEM, if you haven't given this one a chance your in for a suprise but be warned this game is addicting! but well worth the many YEARS I have given it! I always come back for more FULL AUTO carnage! thank you Interplay!

Guy Fawkes 2017-03-20 -2 points

Mods for Wasteland can be found here:
Some game utilities (mostly for cheating) are available here:
The manual & paragraph book you can find here (C64 version): and Here (Apple II version):

TrainableBus 2017-02-09 -1 point DOS version

I really do not wish to sound basic but I just can't get DOSBOX to work, I have followed so many guides and I have failed to set it up. So please any simple guide or help will be appreciated.

Reyce 2016-08-10 1 point


My adventures in Wasteland were just beginning and from here on out I saw many great places and I killed many great things; mostly mutated vermin, giant rabbits, lizards, crazy people and Native Americans – which I should really qualify by explaining that they ambushed me first. As is a requirement of all old-school RPGs I was ruined many times during my playthrough especially when I went somewhere I shouldn’t have gone such as anywhere near Darwin or Guardian Citadel. The world of Wasteland is a rich and diverse especially when you take into account the year of its release.

Full Review:

blah blah 2016-08-05 0 point

One thing I want to mention, Bad Blood for DOS was considered the better "unofficial" sequel to Wasteland. It was developed by Origin Systems, but instead of using the turn-based, text-based combat system of Wasteland, it used the top-down, isometric view that became a standard around the time Ultima VI (6) came out. It was live-action, so enemies would keep moving even if you stopped. The plot was a bit odd, and the map was HUGE and easy to get lost on. I saw a friend play it, but, unlike Wasteland and Ultima VI, I just couldnt' get into it. But, for folks wanting to try another post-apoc game from the DOS-era, Bad Blood is a good one to check out.

blah blah 2016-08-05 3 points DOS version

Played the carp out of this game back in the day. I would use the reset function from game install to keep resetting the game after I won it. I started with a team of characters, but eventually I had a favorite, Black Lotus (not sure if I named her after the magic the gathering card, or just came up with it b/c I thought it sounded cool), that I just kept running through the game as I dropped other characters here and there. I wuold pick up some of the in-game characters (like Christina and Metal Maniac). But, I just used them as crutches to get Black Lotus through the game. I kept levelling her up until one day she wasn't getting any skill points from levelling. But, I kept playing and levelling her, because I wanted to see just how far up the Ranger chain of command I could get: I wanted to see if I could make her General. Even when you stop getting skill points, there are spots in teh game you can abuse to boost skils. EG: entering the Citadel, you can shoot off Assault Rifles, Pistols and anythig else you ahve at the Goliath guy, and while he remains undamaged, you will see your skills go through the roof. Black Lotus ended up with an Assault Rifle skill of 16 by doing this. I eventually levelled her hand-to-hand combat skill so high she could solo the game with just h2h, and my first stop on each playthrough would be the Citadel to get the proton ax (which, surprisingly, was based on h2h not melee), and I'd head straight to base Cochise to kill the high xp creatures. Black Lotus was a god amongst Rangers. I must have completed the game over 50+ times with her, 1/2 of those just solo'ing with her. No one could stop her. ... except for the "delete" command when I wiped the game from the hdd. Here's to you, Black Lotus.

A Fallout Fan 2015-11-17 2 points DOS version

I just wanted to say, Fallout 1 was based off of this and we are all playing Fallout 4 today. If you notice, the character point system is just like 1,2,3,Tactics,BOS,3, and New Vegas. If you look at Wikipedia, it says this inspired Fallout 1. If you liked the older Fallout games like me and like old games, this game will be more addictive than Jet.

pooper 2015-06-20 1 point DOS version

one thing i noticed, i suck at old school games

Random commenter 2015-04-08 2 points DOS version

Most DOS games will require some sort of DOS emulator if you're running anything newer than Windows XP. Luckily things things like DOSbox are typically free.

doomguy21 2014-10-12 0 point DOS version

It's great! Yes!

Aaron 2014-10-01 0 point DOS version

Can i just play it as is, or do i need a MS DOS emulator. If i do then how do i use the emulator and how do i play the game on it?

natefun 2014-08-15 0 point DOS version

This is no longer abandonware because it is being sold for $4.99 on gog and steam. So support the revs and buy the game!

dunn 2014-08-10 0 point DOS version


Bearkiork 2014-04-27 0 point DOS version

Can't wait to try this

lalo 2014-03-21 0 point DOS version


mat 2014-03-10 0 point DOS version

MY computer can't read the .exe for some reason.

Stahu 147 2013-06-08 0 point DOS version

Yeah, Fallout 0.

A Wise Old Man 2013-02-24 2 points DOS version

Wasteland also had the unique feature of being able to program movement macros. This allowed you to, with the help of a well-placed book or a good flathead screwdriver, once you've completed a particular set of moves that allowed you to build up cash and supplies, save the moves, place the book on the F-key you assigned the macro to or jam the screwdriver in to hold the key down in place, and repeat your moves until some random adversary popped up and forced you into combat. If you were good enough, you could program 3-5 runs into a macro, and then run the macro anywhere from one time to my own personal record of 304 before having to stop, actually play the game, and then start the "meat farming" - as the retards playing Kingdom of Loathing call it - all over again. More games need this for the boring stuff, especially the early Ultimas. With Wizardry i-III, there were a couple of macro TSR programs for the Apple ][ that would let you program certain room movements - especially going through from level one to the bottom where Werdna was - or set up specific sets of combat movements for your party that would also make sure that your combat mode didn't get stuck on five seconds automatic display, which made some combat rounds go on for an hour unless everyone ran away and *could* actually get away!

guest 2012-10-03 -2 points DOS version

Review of Wasteland for DOS:

Gydunhn L. 2012-05-30 0 point DOS version

Hi Everybody,

Did you know that is an actual Wasteland 2 Project by Brian Fargo?.

The Wasteland Chronicles

Wasteland Survival Guide

Store to pre-Order $20 USD:

Wasteland Ranger HQ-Grid

mymoon 2012-02-29 0 point DOS version


GnomeLeveler 2008-04-26 0 point DOS version

There should be an option to rate this game at least 10 times higher than any other. This truly is the best PC game of its time regardless of genre. Why? It's the world it creates. Functionally, its almost identical to Bards Tale - same UI and features. But when it comes to the environment, story and the unfolding plot, it was just incredible. I've since played the resurrected version of this called FallOut, and while that one certainly has killer graphics and sound, there's still something really cool about what these guys accomplished on a much more limited platform.

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Buy Wasteland

Wasteland is available for a small price on the following websites, and is no longer abandonware. provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .

Game Extras and Resources

Some of these file may not be included in the game stores. For Wasteland, we have the following files:

MiscWasteland: The Unofficial Game Reset Utility 1.0 English version 25 KB (DOS)

Other Releases

Wasteland was also released on the following systems:

Apple II

Commodore 64

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