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Working/Non-Working Games on the Palmtop

ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-02-24 3:22 PM
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Hi guys,

Finally I'm having some free time to play with my 200lx after Christmas. I decided to try out a few games from my childhood and see if they would run on a 80186 in real mode. My first PC was actually an IBM-Compatible 80486 running Win 3.1, so full blown 32-bit stuff there - at least in hardware, as Win 3.1 was still 16-bit. But as we all know, for the sake of compatibility, many games were still being produced for 16-bit hardware and 640KB of RAM or at least had a version that would run in such hardware.

Finding real mode games is complicated, because specs would usually say only that the game requires an IBM-compatible PC. That could mean anything. To make things worse, the 200lx runs on a "non-standard" 80186. IBM never released a PC running on a 80186. It was either 8086 (or 8088) or 80286. The 80186 was meant for embedded systems and, for the PC industry it is kinda in the limbo. In theory, the 80186 should be compatible with the 80286 in real mode as the new real mode 80286 instructions are also present in the 80186. So, real mode games that were meant to run on a 80286 should also run on our 80186 palmtops. The next issue is graphics. The 200lx has a CGA display. Many games require EGA or VGA, but if you dig a little further you will find that some great games actually have different versions specifically for CGA and other less common graphic modes.

That's the case for The Secret of Monkey Island. I love that game, and played it quite a lot on my 80486 PC. The most common version of the game you can find is for VGA graphics. But that's not the only version that was released. Actually, there was an earlier EGA release, that also supported monochrome and CGA graphics. It took me a little while to find that version of the game, but I found it. And to my delight, it actually plays pretty well on the 200lx! Graphic-wise it doesn't look that great on a monochrome screen emulating 4 CGA colors in tiny 320x200 pixels. But, it is playable! I'm currently trying out some other great games from late 80s and early 90s and will report back those that worked. You guys feel free to add to my list as well, so that we can have a good MS-DOS games list for the 200lx!

Currently tested: 
 
GAME                            | STATUS 
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------------------------- 
The Secret of Monkey Island     | Playable. Needs earlier EGA version. Start with 'c' switch for CGA 
Super Offroad                   | Crashes on load even when using the cga argument 
Jill of the Jungle              | Loads the config menu but crashes right after 
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-02-24 3:39 PM
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186's were moderately common here, but our industry used to do its own thing back in the days when we had one.
The print server and the PC in the art room at school were RM 186's; I remember that because the art room machine was dead and not working and I fixed it as playing with a 186 was a curiosity in the era of the 486. Like a rosetta stone of a long dead past.

My first IBM PC was an Amstrad 086.

I remember Battle Chess on it. Rockford, I think. I can't remember anything else
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-02-25 8:42 AM
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Original lemmings of course. I think the 086 could run police quest?
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-02-25 2:56 PM
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Lemmings is a great pick! I will try that next. Although playing without a mouse would be a bit frustrating, no?
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2022-02-26 8:17 AM
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Frustrating, but not impossible with the keyboard from memory
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mholm Page Icon Posted 2022-03-23 10:04 AM
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I tried out some old games yesterday, but only got one of them working:

Working : "Scrylis", but i have no idea what the game is about
Not Working : "Battletech the Crescent Hawks Revenge" v1.02, the sound is in the background, but dont get past the initial load screen.
Not Working : "Mega Phonix" same as with the Battletech game above

Don't we need a sticky with Application and Games, that has been testet ?
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2022-03-23 6:18 PM
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A sticky editable post would be nice.

I have new games that I tested and work perfectly: lemmings and golden axe. Golden axe runs a bit slow on the 186, but it runs. Also, to use the numpad 5 (hit button on golden axe) you must hold the menu key on the keyboard. That was the only way I could find for that to work.
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-03-23 7:45 PM
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I agree that a sticky is good idea, so this post is now one.

Everybody, please keep the thread on-topic: working/non-working games on the Palmtop.

Jake
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drmadison
drmadison Page Icon Posted 2022-05-17 7:12 PM
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I tried out Commander Keen 4 (CGA version) on my 200LX. Unfortunately the blurriness / smeariness of the screen made it unplayable. Not entirely surprising but good to have the confirmation I suppose!
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2022-05-17 11:50 PM
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It is. And thank you for posting your results.

Jake
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RSA99 Page Icon Posted 2022-05-24 9:03 PM
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Anybody know how to get Prince of Persia running on a 200LX?

I'm sure I have seen it running on one in a video on YouTube.

But, when I come to run it (v1.4) it just says 'Graphics Mode not available'

I've tried the command line options (cga, ega, hga) in the PoP FAQ but, they don't work either :-(

Do I need an earlier version?
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RSA99 Page Icon Posted 2022-05-25 6:17 PM
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Prince of Persia v1.0 works! :-)

Use the "cga" command line option.

Arkanoid works too.
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