A couple weeks ago, I picked up the Complete PC D&D Collection at EB Games. It was a shame, I thought, that I’d never played such greats as Baldur’s Gate or Planescape: Torment, and that had to change. After grabbing the collection- along with the Neverwinter Nights collection- I rushed home to install them all on my PC. Thankfully, most of them ran quite well, with one minor caveat.
See, the older games in the collection were incapable of addressing my laptop’s video card- an Nvidia 540M GT (my gaming rig is ‘under construction’ for the foreseeable future). Enabling the card caused the games to either outright refuse to run, or run with a wide array of crippling graphics glitches. Thankfully, they ran just fine with the onboard card- after all, it’s not like they took up that much memory.
I also received a copy of Shattered Steel in the mail, addressed to me from Amazon, which I don’t remember ordering. I guess someone out there likes me?
Anyway, we’re getting off track.
It occurred to me that there are probably quite a few of you who might want to play older games on newer systems- but are starting to feel absolutely frustrated with the fact that they either run like you’re trying to play them on a cinder block, crash continually, or simply refuse to run at all. Here’s a few things you can do to troubleshoot- and, hopefully, address- any issues you might be having.
Run in Compatibility Mode
The first, and simplest solution to your problem would be to simply run the program in compatibility mode. To do this, navigate to the program or a shortcut, right click on it, and select “properties.” Set it to whichever operating system was the reigning king when the title released (games released between 2000-2006 usually used XP, games prior to 2000 ran better on 95/98), and then start playing.
Adjust your Graphics Settings
Another option is to adjust your graphics settings- this is particularly important if you’re using a newer graphics card, which the old games software might not necessarily recognize. If you’re using an Nvidia or AMD card, open up the control panel, and seek out the section where you set the defaults for installed games. Add the game you’re trying to play to the list of programs, and set it so that it uses the integrated graphics card- and not your new card.
This one’s a bit swing and miss- it might work, and it might not.
Search for A Patch
In some cases, the issues you’re having might not actually be related to compatibility. For example, when I attempted to create a character in Neverwinter Nights, selecting any colors other than the default turned my character silver. Turns out, the game was improperly patched, and a quick Google search directed me to Atari’s website, where they detailed how to fix the problem. Have a look around, and see if there’s any patches that’ll fix the issue- chances are good that there’s someone, somewhere, who’s having the same issue you are.
Use DOSbox or Virtualize
There’s a reason websites like Good old Games use DOSBOX to release older Windows titles- it works. If you’re finding that the title you’re attempting to run simply isn’t working, it might be worth attempting to open it via DOSBOX. It’s pretty easy to do so, as well- we’ve a pretty decent guide on installing and configuring DOSBOX, as well- check it out.
You could also try using a virtual machine to emulate an older version of Windows, and run the game from there. Generally, the compatibility issues inherent in running older games will pretty much vanish if you attempt this step. In any case, either of the two options is a good one- pick whichever is right for you.
Image Credits: Gamespy
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