Last Year for Games

Software related questions

Last Year for Games

Postby Tempest » Mon May 02, 2016 8:01 pm

What's the general consensus on the last year for games to run at a reasonable speed on the PCjr? I tried a bunch of games that supported Tandy graphics from 90-91 but they were way too slow to play (Castlevania was particularly funny to watch as Simon inched his way across the screen like he was a 90 year old man). I wasn't really expecting them to run well, but I was hoping they would at least be somewhat playable.

So based on my testing 88 is the last year where games can almost all be counted as playing well on the Jr (I'm sure there are exceptions) while 89 is hit and miss and 90 is almost always out of the question except for maybe non-action games like RPGs and Strategy games (I guess this is when ATs and 386s started to become the norm). Does this sound about right to everyone?
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Trixter » Mon May 02, 2016 8:27 pm

Tempest wrote:What's the general consensus on the last year for games to run at a reasonable speed on the PCjr? I tried a bunch of games that supported Tandy graphics from 90-91 but they were way too slow to play (Castlevania was particularly funny to watch as Simon inched his way across the screen like he was a 90 year old man). I wasn't really expecting them to run well, but I was hoping they would at least be somewhat playable.


Castlevania wasn't programmed all that well, though. For a better side-scrolling full-screen engine, try Commander Keen 4 through 6 (CGA version).

So based on my testing 88 is the last year where games can almost all be counted as playing well on the Jr (I'm sure there are exceptions) while 89 is hit and miss and 90 is almost always out of the question except for maybe non-action games like RPGs and Strategy games (I guess this is when ATs and 386s started to become the norm). Does this sound about right to everyone?


1984 to 1988 is a safe bet. There are always outliers, like games written as late as 1991 that run ok, and games written from 1981 to 1983 that, if they use the BIOS for everything, run just fine as well.

Here's a list of games that support 16-color mode and have a high chance of working on the PCjr: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/p ... c,2/ti,31/
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Tempest » Tue May 03, 2016 5:09 am

I only tried Castlevania for the curiosity factor, not a big loss. Same deal with Metal Gear, although I couldn't get past the title screen on that one. Contra ran well, albeit in CGA. Both Double Dragon games did as well, but they had graphical glitches which I assume are from a bad crack or they don't like the Jr for some reason. I was bummed out to discover that the later Sierra games (PQ3, Conquests of the Longbow, Codename Iceman) won't run. I guess they need a 286.

I thought Commander Keen was EGA only, I'll have to try those.

One odd thing I noticed is that some games (Bards Tale, Eye of Horus) played, but the graphics didn't appear. I could hear the game, but it still showed the menu from the batch file. I wonder if it's because I launched them from the batch file menu or if it's just a bad crack? I need to do more experimenting. The slowness couldn't be because I'm running it from that batch file system could it? I was kind of shocked at how slow some of those menus were since I'm used to dealing with much faster pcs.
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Trixter » Tue May 03, 2016 7:54 am

Tempest wrote:Contra ran well, albeit in CGA.


Contra only supports CGA.

I was bummed out to discover that the later Sierra games (PQ3, Conquests of the Longbow, Codename Iceman) won't run. I guess they need a 286.


Those should run. Slowly, but most if not all SCI games should run. What are you seeing?

I thought Commander Keen was EGA only, I'll have to try those.


The latter 4-6 use a different engine.

One odd thing I noticed is that some games (Bards Tale, Eye of Horus) played, but the graphics didn't appear. I could hear the game, but it still showed the menu from the batch file. I wonder if it's because I launched them from the batch file menu or if it's just a bad crack? I need to do more experimenting. The slowness couldn't be because I'm running it from that batch file system could it? I was kind of shocked at how slow some of those menus were since I'm used to dealing with much faster pcs.


I don't know what menus you're talking about (my batch menus?) but batch files are, in general, very slow. As for the games playing but without graphics, it sounds like the games were configured for EGA which is why you saw nothing. You need to make sure each game is configured or set up for your system before you launch it for the first time. Sometimes that means running SETUP.EXE, sometimes that means running it with specific command-line arguments, sometimes that means running it with NO command-line arguments.
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Tempest » Tue May 03, 2016 8:54 am

Ah I didn't think about them already being configured for EGA, I'll try running a setup program and see if I can change that.

As for the Sierra games, they just showed a dash in the upper left corner and sat there. Maybe they were loading really slowly and I needed to wait longer? Then again they were probably set up for EGA or VGA, I'll take a look at the configuration files.

Yes I was talking about your batch menus. I was wondering if running a game from them could somehow slow it down (I doubt it, but I was thinking that maybe the various .bat files were still running in the background stealing memory or something).
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Trixter » Tue May 03, 2016 1:12 pm

Batch files don't work that way, so no worries on that front.

I will have time the weekend of June 3rd to do some major coding (like, 10+ hours), and I plan to work on the 8088-friendly launcher during that time if I haven't already started.
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Tempest » Wed May 04, 2016 5:23 am

I didn't think that's how batch files worked, but Its been a long time since I've played with them so I thought I'd ask.

Great about the launcher. Looking forward to it. So how exactly is it going to work? Is it going to be a file chooser type of thing?
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Re: Last Year for Games

Postby Trixter » Wed May 04, 2016 10:00 am

The end-user experience is a point'n'shoot list of games with a search-as-you-type filter. It will require indexing on a modern system. I'll post more details when it's ready for testing.
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