Of all my years of gaming there is one game that has haunted me. This game is Mechwarrior 2. I purchased the game for my 486DX4 100mhz back in the day. It was great. It was the days when a CD-ROM and DOS was the hottest shit. The game had videos, 3d, the works. I ran at 640×480 and blew my friends away. I couldn’t turn it all the way up because I didn’t have a PCI video card. Heck, I didn’t have a PCI slot! Just 4 ISAs on a riser board.
Anyway, this was the mid 90’s and it was around that time that windows 95 came out, duh. Eventually reluctantly I switched to windows 95 because every new program back then started to require it. Mechwarrior 2 was lost to me. I had beaten it, but it was still my favorite game of the time. Not of all time, just at that time in my life. Imagine being really into a game and still getting tons of enjoyment from it and then all of a sudden you can’t play it at all. Yes, I know what I could have done, but I didn’t have the computery knowledge I have now back then. I mean, I knew more than most, but not nearly as much as I know now.
In the later 90’s I got my first computer that was my own, it was Pentium 3 450mhz. It is serving this web page to you right now. The BX chipset, more specifically the Abit BX6r2.0 motherboard, is the most stable durable motherboard/chipset ever. If I had to pick one computer to use forever I would pick that because it would never fail me in a million years. Anyway, I ran 98SE and Red Hat on it. No room for Mech2.
When I got to college I replace Red Hat with Mandrake four years ago and replaced 98SE with win2k three years ago. 1 year ago, in fact last September, I switched the mandrake with gentoo. At this point I was doing linux and windows 50/50. I also got my new desktop last August, nforce2, Athlon XP 2500+, FX5900. It’s what I’m using right now. I plan to use it for 4 more years. Still no Mechwarrior 2. At this point it has been almost 10 years since I’ve played this game. All my NES games had come back to me through emulation, game boy or other means. The only games from my childhood I could not revive were old DOS games, especially mech2.
Earlier this year, early February, I was fooling around with dosbox in windows xp. I got mechwarrio2 to load and go through the menus, but it always crashed when it was time for the game to actually start. I was so close I could taste it, yet it would not go. I got other games to work, like Quest for Glory, my roommates favorite. But mech2 still eluded me. I know there was a windows version I could have gotten that probably would have worked but I wasn’t going to do that. I had the original DOS CD-ROM and it was going to run goddamnit.
Just this past week I got a new hard drive, 160 gigs for $120. I will never want for space again, until I start ripping DVDs. I took this opportunity to switch to being 50% linux to 100% linux. I do have a 10 gig windows partition, but I only need it to run Steam. If I get winex I wont need it at all. I have managed to use only linux for over 7 days, and I’m going to keep it that way. This decision to be linux only has benefited me in many ways, but my timing could not have been more impeccable. It is as if the stars aligned to return my mechwarrior to me…
I’m sure you are aware of the release of new versions of Firefox and Thunderbird. Well, after I emerge -upped firefox I cleaned out my bookmarks. I found a bookmark to the vogon’s forum where I posted when I was trying to get mechwarrior 2 to work in windows with dosbox. I searched for mechwarrior and there was a thread… Mechwarrior 2 works with dosbox. Holy shit! I click on it, and don’t you know, the instructions were for windows. Was I cursed? No, I was not. I quickly did esearch -c dosbox. Yes! dosbox was available for gentoo. I emerged it in a rush. After taking about 10 minutes to make it go and create a dos folder in /home/apreche/dos I was ready to go. By modifying the instructions in the forum and combining them with my cd-rom and what I learned the last time I tried to do this a miracle came to be. Right now, as I type this, on my other monitor is an X window. It is managed quite nicely by my XFCE4 window manager. And in this X window is mechwarrior 2. It is running absolutely flawlessly. The frame rate is full. The graphics are perfect. The controls are pristine. The resolution is 640×480. I could not ask for more. Apparently the people running it under windows are still having sound problems. HAHAHAHA!!! I am the win!
It would take a whole lot to make me more happy right now. Its as if a long lost friend has returned out of the blue. And he returns to be a better friend than he was when he left. Back in the day I couldn’t run gaim and xmms while I played, guess what I can do now? With no loss in framrate no less. Mechwarrior 2 is one of the best games ever, and the old school dos version runs perfect under linux. This weekend I think I will try to get the ghost bear legacy expansion to run…