Do you remember the original SimCity games? How about Golden Ax, The Oregon Trail or Wolfenstein? Beginning in 1981, MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) saw thousands of games coming out in all genres. If you miss games in the DOS era, you will learn here how to install DOSBox on Raspberry Pi to enjoy all these classic DOS games.
At the end of this tutorial, you will have transformed your Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming platform.
Once your MS-DOS emulator is up and running, you’ll need certain games, so you’ll learn how to access thousands of free MS-DOS games, including classics like Lemmings, Street Fighter, and the 90s Aladdin and Lion. King Games.
What you will need
To complete this tutorial, you will need:
- Raspberry Pi running Raspberry Pi OS
- Power cable compatible with your Raspberry Pi
- External keyboard and way to fix it to your Raspberry Pi
- HDMI or micro HDMI cable, depending on the Raspberry Pi model
- External monitor
- Game controller, preferably
Once you’ve assembled your tools, you’re ready to build your gaming platform.
Update your Pi
If you have not already done so, connect your keyboard, monitor, controller and any other external device to your Raspberry Pi, then connect your Pi to a power source.
Before building your platform, make sure your Raspberry Pi is fully up to date. Open a terminal and type the following command:
DOSBox: installation of the MS-DOS emulator
DOSBox is an emulator that mimics a computer running the DOS operating system, which allows you to run DOS games on your Raspberry Pi.
DOSBox is popular with retro-game enthusiasts and video game publishers, with a number of big names using DOSBox to reissue classic titles, such as Bethesda Softworks, which used DOSBox to reissue some of his Elder Scrolls games.
Note: Also see the DOSBox Installation Guide for Linux, macOS and Windows.
To install DOSBox, run the following command on your Raspberry Pi:
And that’s all! DOSBox is now installed on your Pi.
Before you can enjoy DOS games on the Raspberry Pi, you must configure your DOSBox configuration.
To start, create a directory where all your DOS games will be stored. A directory called “dos-games” was created in this tutorial in the personal directory of the Raspberry Pi.
To create a directory, run the following command:
The DOSBox configuration file is not created until DOSBox is run for the first time, do so now. In the terminal, simply type the following:
Remember to press the Enter key on your keyboard.
Playing DOSBox games with a controller
Now that DOSBox is operational, the next step is to configure your joystick. If you haven’t already done so, connect the controller you want to use.
Then press the key Ctrl + F1 keys on your keyboard and the key mapper window should appear on the screen.
Note that if the keymapper does not launch, then DOSBox may not work. You should be able to resolve this problem by entering
dosbox in the terminal, by pressing Enter, then repeating the keyboard shortcut.
Depending on your game controller model, DOSBox can detect and map your controller automatically. If DOSBox does not recognize your controller, you will need to configure it manually by following the on-screen instructions.
Once you have configured your controller, DOSBox is ready to work. You just have to decide which game you want to play.
Find free DOS games: SimCity, Golden Ax, Street Fighter
There are a few places where you can download DOSBox games. Abandonment offers thousands of free DOS games.
Abandonia is an abandonware website that specializes in software and games not supported by the original owner, publisher, developer, or manufacturer, and that are not currently available in the retail market. Unsurprisingly, many DOS games meet these criteria!
To download one or more games for your DOSBox platform, open your Raspberry Pi’s web browser and spend some time browsing the Abandonia selection of free DOS games.
When you find a game you want to try, just click “Get” to download the game as a zip file. Free Apollo 18 the game is included in all the screenshots in this tutorial.
Create a DOS game directory
Once you have downloaded one or more games, you will have to extract the compressed files in the “dos-games” directory that you created in the previous step.
Once done, your DOS games are now ready to play!
Enjoy your DOSBox gaming platform
To play a game, open the decompressed game file and locate the game’s .exe executable file. The exact file will vary by game. for example, for the Apollo 18 game, this file was “apollo.exe”.
Right click on the “.exe” file and select “Open with …”
In the next window, select “Games -> DOSBox Emulator”.
This game will now launch in DOSBox, ready to use.
After installing the DOSBox on Raspberry Pi, you should now have a gaming platform capable of playing all classic DOS games.
If you prefer retro gaming, you can also transform your Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming console or a simple Minecraft server on Raspberry Pi. What are your favorite DOS games?
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