Jump to content

90s Atari Gaming on a Modern Computer


Recommended Posts

I have a modern computer. In fact, I built it earlier this year. It's got a 12th Gen i5-12400, 32GB DDR4, a Radeon RX 6700XT 12GB graphics card and a 1TB NVME M.2 SSD. And it's running Windows 11 Pro 22H2. So, very modern. One thing I never put into my computers is a DVD-RW drive. I used to, but I don't bother anymore, since I use digital software and buy games on Steam or GOG. However, recently, I bought a DVD that wouldn't play on any of my Blu-Ray players or my game consoles because it's a region 2 encoded DVD and I'm in region 1. Rather than spend loads of money on a region free player, I bought an external DVD-RW drive and hooked up my PC to my television so I could watch the DVD. Now that I have it, one idea I have is to revisit some old software. I have loads of boxed and jewel case games from back in the day, as I used to buy them and play them a lot. Three of the ones I have are Atari discs, one is a collection of arcade hits and the other two are '90s reimaginings of classic Atari games, Asteroids and Centipede. The fourth one I wanted to try is in the same vein, but not an Atari game, it's the '90s reimagining of Frogger. Still, I first played Frogger (and Centipede) on an Atari 5200 when I was a kid, so I think of Atari when I think of Frogger.





These are all Windows 95/98 era discs. I do have a mini computer with Windows 98 on it, but I thought it would be fun to see if these games would play on a modern computer running Windows 11. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when it comes to old software. Obviously, hardware this powerful wasn't even a dream when these games were made, so it's not that the computer isn't powerful enough, there's the possibility that it's too powerful. Sometimes, software will also be married to a way a certain version of Windows does things, which can cause headaches in later versions. Luckily, none of these games are 16-bit or use 16-bit installation programs, as does happen sometimes with software from that era, otherwise 64-bit Windows would refuse to run the programs at all. All four discs installed with no issues.



The large install for Centipede is a whopping 256 MB. 🤣


Atari Arcade Hits 1 ran with no issues. It's got 6 games on it, Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout and Tempest. Naturally, I have lots of ways to play the arcade versions of these games, but that's not the point here. The point is whether or not vintage software will work.




I like the Arcade cabinet artwork around Asteroids:




By the way, to keep things sufficiently retro, I'm playing these games with a vintage Microsoft Sidewinder Plug and Play controller:




The reimagined Centipede also ran with no issues. It has two modes, Adventure and Arcade:



The other Atari game in the batch is Asteroids, and I had issues with it. This is also the only one of these that's made by Activision, the rest are by Hasbro Interactive. I had a lot of crashes, and to even play a game, I had to put it into compatibility mode for Windows XP with Service Pack 3. Even so, it has an ugly window border around it, even though it's supposed to be fullscreen:



The other issue I had with Asteroids is that it didn't like the Sidewinder at all. The ship was constantly rotating.


Lastly, I tried Frogger:



Like Atari Arcade Hits 1 and Centipede, this game is by Hasbro Interactive. The game looks great except, for some reason, there's a black square around Frogger. I have no idea why this is happening. I tried to fix it in the video settings and by messing with compatibility mode, but the game stopped launching at all. Reinstalling didn't help. Likely, it was a problem with the Windows Registry. To fix it, I wound up running Windows Restore and going back to a save state from a few days ago. I was then able to install all of the games again and I'm just going to have to live with the graphical glitch in Frogger. But, at least the game runs smoothly otherwise.


So, that's that. It was a fun little experiment, and now I have some cool games I can play on my Windows 11 PC. Anybody else ever try things like this? I know it's common to use retro hardware to play retro games, but sometimes I think it's fun to see what retro stuff will run on modern computers. Sometimes it works out, other times not so much. 😂

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, MCHufnagel said:

I have those games, and a few more, for the PlayStation 1. I play them in an emulator on a dedicated HTPC on a 4k tv. I can really crank the resolution on them and they have native modern controller support.

I have those versions of Asteroids, Centipede and Frogger for the Playstation. I thought about putting an emulator on the PC to play Asteroids, but I may do that for Frogger too, since it has that graphical glitch. Or, I could just hook up my PS2. I can't do 4K with it, but I have component cables and an HDMI adapter that both make it look better than it did originally. I also have a disc that has 30 Atari 2600 Activision games on it. I don't know if that was released for anything else, but I bought it for the PS1 back in the '90s and I love it. I didn't grow up with at 2600, we had a 5200 and a 7800, so I think the PS1 was the first thing I ever played River Raid on.

Edited by scifidude79
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool, thanks for taking the time to test these. I generally run them on my '98 box, but it's great to know some will function just fine on modern systems. I have a sizable retro '95/'98 era physical PC game collection and may have to experiment with this myself.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a Windows 98 machine too, but I don't know if it's compatible with my monitor without buying an adapter. It's a somewhat modern mini system, it has DVI out. (it might have VGA too) My monitor only has Display Port or HDMI. Besides that, I just like to see what is and isn't possible on modern machines. I play a variety of old and new games, and I never know what I'm going to be in the mood to play.

Edited by scifidude79
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, with this sort of thing, sometimes you end in frustration. Whilst waiting for GOG to apply a 27.5GB patch to Cyberpunk 2077 so I can actually play 🙄 I decided to try another classic late 90s game. It's not an Atari game, but I was looking at my GOG library, which includes the EA DOS classic Theme Park, I remembered I have the later Windows 98 release, Sim Theme Park on CD. So, I decided to pop that CD in and see how it went. The install went great, but I can't get the game to launch on Windows 11. I tried all kinds of compatibility settings and nothing works. It's possible that the game is tied to some Windows 98 .dll file or something that doesn't exist on modern Windows. Since I couldn't troubleshoot the issue, I just uninstalled the game. Though, in hindsight, I probably should have tried launching the game from the command prompt to see what error it gave me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...