How to Play Windows 3.1/95/98/XP Games
As the years goes by, more and more Windows games are added on the website. Some of them still work quite easily, others are lucky enough to have an active community developing patches and fixes to make them run on the most recent versions of Windows.
Almost all Windows games are available as ISO version, meaning a verbatim copy of the game disks. If you don't know how to use these files, read our tutorial. You may also get these usual problems:
- ISO is not a .iso file: an ISO image is a disk image of a CD or DVD file. Several file formats have been created to make ISO files and you will need to install another mounting software. In our archives, you'll come across BIN/CUE, MDF/MDS, CCD/IMG, NRG. You may want to convert these to ISO using WinBin2Iso, but you will lose audio tracks (usually music) if there are any.
- Corrupted ISO: many ISO files can't be mounted with the legacy ISO utility in Windows 10. You need to install another mounting software, see this page.
- Game is asking for CD: games have a copy protection program to avoid piracy. You will need to replace the original .exe program with another one. Sometimes, we provide this replacement on the game page, labeled as "NoCD". Otherwise, look for a "crack" directory in the content of the ISO file.
Late 90s and 2000s titles may have a game page on PCGamingWiki, a wiki dedicated to fixes and workarounds for PC Games. We try to add a link to the right wiki URL on every game page, so you should check out the game links below the game description. You can also make a search on the wiki, or through Google by searching the name of the game + "site:PCGamingWiki.com" (without quotes).
PCem is versatile IBM PC emulator, which allows you to properly emulate a whole computer, including late 99 Pentium computer. You also get a Voodoo2 3dfx card and many other drivers. This emulator can be very effective for Windows games until early 2000s generation. You can read this tutorial. Additional information and resources can be found on Emugen.
Linux + Wine
Running Windows games under Linux can work surprisingly well, we have a dedicated tutorial here.
Mac + Porting Kit
Mac user should definitly use VMWare Fusion to run install Win 95/98/XP, choose free / personnal edition. You can also run Windows games on your Mac using Porting Kit (free), or Crossover (14-day trial).
Windows 3.1 Games
You can give a try at winevdm on 64-bit Windows, download the last stable release, extract it, then drag and drop the game exe file over the otvdmw program. Many thanks to WeAreTheBorg for sharing this tip.
Some games were made for Windows 3.1 instead of DOS, you will need to install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox. You will find a copy of Windows 3.x on WinWorld. Follow these tutorials to get it running: VirtualBox forum, Vogons, Sierra Help or this blog post.
Windows 95 Games
Many of the Win95 games won't run on recent Windows versions, but you can install Win95 in DOSBox. The procedure is a bit complicated, hopefully dada_ and some folks over Vogons and #dosbox@freenode set up a guide to do this, check it out in the Google doc.
Another promising solution would be windows95 Portable made by Felix Rieseberg, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Windows 98 Games
Some of the recent abandonware games were made for Windows 98. You can still get Win 98 working on your computer using VirtualBox. You will find a guide to the installation here, then a second guide to setup properly Windows. You should read BOTH of them before installing Windows 98. You can also use pre-configured Win98 VMWare images, available at WinWorld.
Mac users should definitly use VMWare Fusion to run install Win 98, choose free / personnal edition.
Windows XP Games
Some will work perfectly, some won't. We rarely have all the resources necessary to get these games to install and then be played. You may have to look over the web for a x64 setup file or fixed exe file. If you find a good tutorial, please post the URL in the comment or drop us a message.
The second half of the 90s was very exciting as video games would start to benefit from 3D acceleration hardware. The 3dfx company released the Voodoo Graphics cards in 1996, which provided 3D acceleration for games that supported the technology. Performances and graphics were way ahead of the competition (Riva, Matrox, S3, ATI...) but came at a price. 3dfx released its last Voodoo card in 2000, marking the end of 3dfx supported games.
Hopefully, 3dfx can be emulated nowadays using nGlide, a free 3Dfx Voodoo Glide wrapper made by Zeus Software. Very easy to use, just install and play for most games, but you should visit the compatibility page, as many games require a patch or some tweaking.
Another great glide wrapper is dgVoodoo2, which allows you to play not only 3dfx games, but also DirectX (1-7) and Direct3D games. Both programs are very useful, as one may work better than the other.
As written above, dgVoodoo2 is great for old windows games which often use DirectX. You can also try these alternatives: dxwrapper, an on-going project which may prove difficult to use. WineD3D will convert DirectX to OpenGL, see the readme file in the utility folder.
Games for Windows Live
Late 2000s and early 2010s may require the infamous GFWL (Games for Windows Live) installed on your computer. To install it on Windows 10, you need the offline installer, right click on gfwlivesetup.exe, go to Properties, click on the Compatibility tab and set compatibility to Windows 7, click OK. Then right click on gfwlivesetup.exe and select Run as administrator.