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I want to setup a Linux computer just for playing my old games. All of the games can run either in DOSBox or in ScummVM. Using DOSBox is often quite complicated, as I must mount the C: and then change directories, then find the binary.

Is there a unified menu software that can help to navigate and launch the installed games into both DOSBox and ScummVM?

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For DOSBox, I recommend good, old-fashioned batch files. DOSBox has built in support for these, so no additional software is required.

What you want to do requires two pieces:

  1. Cause DOSBox to automatically mount your dos drive.

    In the DOSBox configuration file (dosbox-0.74.conf on my Windows system), there is a section at the bottom labelled "[autoexec]". Any commands you place here will be as if you typed them in manually. I have this:

    [autoexec]
    # Lines in this section will be run at startup.
    # You can put your MOUNT lines here.
    mount j c:\dosdrive
    j:
    

    This creates "j:" and then changes to that drive. You can, of course, use whichever drive letter you like.

    Note that I'm not mounting my entire local c: drive. This would be bad practice, as DOSBox could mess up my non-DOSBox system if it has an error. Instead, I have the dosdrive directory which contains all of my DOS games.

  2. Write a small batch file for each game. Place them in your mounted directory (e.g. dosdrive). These batch files change to the appropriate directories an run the executables:

    dosdrive/warlords.bat:

    @echo off
    cd warlords
    warlords
    

    dosdrive/xcom.bat:

    @echo off
    subst x: j:\CD-XCOM
    cd xcom
    xcom
    

    (XCOM has an extra step in its batch file. This is because it needed to run from CD. So, I copied the CD into a folder called CD-XCOM (in dosdrive) and then used the DOS subst command to link to it.)

Now you can just open DOSBox, then type "xcom" or "warlords" and the game will simply start.

I know this isn't really a software recommendation, but I hope it helps!

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2

D-Fend Reloaded fits the bill for DOS games at least.

Unfortunately it's a Windows app, but it still has possibilities. You could use Wine, or a virtualised Windows guest via VMWare or similar.

Should work ok as DOS games don't need much juice. What distro and computer are we talking about? And what games? Do they need 3D acceleration?

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  • I am running Debian. I am only playing old games, so 3D acceleration is not needed. – Village Mar 20 '17 at 18:35
  • What kind of computer are we talking? Raspberry pi or normal pc? Do you need access to cd drives, internet etc from these games? – Ne Mo Mar 20 '17 at 19:24

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