I have a 486-33 just for such an occasion, to play my older games. It runs DOS 5.0 and QEMM which gives me all the conventional memory I need. I mostly use it to play X-Com 1 and 2 and the Wing Commander games.
Last summer, I gathered all my excess spare parts and had enough to build two older systems: a K6-2 350 MHz for playing Win 98SE games (late 90s) and a 486 DX4-S 100 MHz for DOS games and Windows 3.11 (early 90s).
In addition to the classics you mentioned, the 486 rig has stuff like Doom, Sam & Max, Monkey Island 1 & 2. I think Tie Fighter and Master of Orion are on the K6-2.
Now ask whether I’ve had time to play these games, after tweaking AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files to get them to run.
I’ve thought about building a nostalgia rig mostly for Win95/98 games. Running old Dos games under Dosbox with a userfriendly front end like Dfend works great, but I’m having one helluva time trying to get Independence War to run on my XP machine.
OTOH, I suppose a dual boot (Win98/XP) would be suitable but I don’t know if my 6800GT and my Creative X-Fi would run under Win98SE.
Where can one find old 486 and early Pentium computer parts (CPU/MOBO/memory etc)? Ebay the way to go?
As an old-time game player, I’ve had a variety of rigs. Right now, though, most of your DOS gaming needs are going to be met best on DOSBOX and a fast (AMD 3000+ or better) rig.
The hard games to run are the earlier Win9x ones, like the first Cyberforce, I-76, and the like – even if XP can choke it down, the game will simply run too fast. The last DOS games are a pain in the ass, too (Carmageddon) – they still need DOS to run, but since DOSBOX is really pretty much a 486 emulator, it can’t provide enough power.
About a year and a half ago I tried putting a Pentium 100 together from all spare parts in order to run Privateer. I didn’t have a harddrive so the OS had to fit on a floppy. After about a week of trying to free up enough Conventional memory, I found the light of DOSBox, and threw that POS out the window. Emulation is so much easier on the nerves.
I have most of the bits of a 486 stuffed away in a closet and parts drawers; I think all I’d need is a floppy drive and a sound card.
Every time I think about reassembling it though, I remember that I don’t have enough time to do all of the current stuff I want, let alone wallow in nostalgia. Same goes for most of the emulators I’ve installed, too.