Over the years I’ve looked at DosBox many times, I’ve covered it when it was included as part of the Puppy Arcade distro and I’ve covered it as a package in its own right.
To say the package is impressive is to grossly understate this piece of software.
But let me rewind a little as there may be people here who don’t know what DosBox is. This is taken from the website:
DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library which makes DOSBox very easy to port to different platforms.
There you go. Simple eh? Clear as mud. For those who have a social life and don’t see technology as the be all and end all, I’ll explain. Remember when you used to load software on your PC before the days of Windows? Where you would type “dir” to see what was in a directory rather than clicking on an icon? That’s the stuff this runs. Not as exciting a description as “SDL libraries” and all, but at least the average user will get it. I could go on to explain the SDL aspect of what sounds an impressive description, but you’re not reading this article to learn that nor are you interested in different platforms, modifying the source and forking it, or indeed doing anything to it which is the sole remit of those who often have beards (unless they are female) and sit in darkened rooms infront of a black screen and green text.
And I’m sure you don’t want to hear about the processor(s) it emulates either.
Getting past the tech speak, the good news is its available for ChromeOS. The first thing you should note is that this is an offline app, which means that you don’t even need a connection in order to run your old software. It’s difficult to review Dosbox because it performs exactly like any other version on any other platform and I feel as if I am repeating myself.
I tested Dosbox with my Kings Quest series, which was a purchase many, many years ago and a computing experience so unique that it stuck with me through my Amiga days and returned back to me when, in the late 90’s I jumped back aboard the desktop PC. Everything is featured perfectly, the sound, the speed and my Chromebook is now a retro machine paying tribute to one of the greatest adventure games I ever played.
The version under review here is 0.1.4 which was released in March this year. It’s file-size is tiny (less than 5mb), so although its an offline app it’s going to take up no noticeable space at all. You install your dos executables in any directory you wish and again if you look at the software you will be running on this, the file sizes of it will be tiny also.
There is a massive selection of DOS abandon-ware too, so you are going to be spoilt for choice reliving your memories of yesteryear and playing some titles which never really managed to get a better modern day version.
DosBox is highly recommended for all Chromebook users and can be found in the Chrome store.