How to run old school PC games on modern computers


No matter how many years pass, some classic games just remain classics – masterpieces of artistic creation that don’t get old even when they look a little rough around the edges. However, over the years, it’s become harder and harder to play such classics easily. A lot of computers nowadays can’t automatically run older games, because the specs they were designed with are so different to the ones computers operate with now. As such, dedicated gamers have developed a few different ways of bringing old gems into the light of the modern day.

How to run old school PC games on modern computers

Use compatibility mode

While most people might never have come across it, the compatibility mode on Windows computers can be surprisingly helpful if you’re trying to bridge the gap between eras. Older games were designed to be played on computers that functioned in different ways to modern machines – and as such, modern computers often don’t use processes that are required to play older games. Compatibility mode lets you use some of these older processes, getting your computer to act like one from the same era as these classic games. Compatibility mode can be used in one of two ways. An automatic function detects any compatibility issues on its own and works to rectify them so the computer and the game are on the same page – or you can manually select the operating system that’s going to work best for your game.

Use an emulator

If you can’t be bothered to go through the hassle of getting your machine to cooperate, an emulator is a very popular choice for playing older games on new machines. Emulators let computers act like games consoles – which unsurprisingly makes them a go-to for a lot of people who want to play classic games on their computers. Emulating consists of giving a computer the game’s information in the form of a ROM file, after which the computer uses emulating software to produce a playable game! Using this method, gamers have kept numerous classic games like ‘Doom’, ‘Hexen’, and ‘Starfox’ alive long after their release date – and this has even made it possible to play the games with altered code, allowing for the use of cheats and improvement of things like image quality and performance.

How to run old school PC games on modern computers

Use unsigned drivers

This method involves getting into the nuts and bolts of your computer’s processes a bit, but it can provide an easy way to play old games without having to install new software or change your operating system. Over the last few years, updates to Windows have phased out the use of unsigned drivers. Nowadays, drivers – programs that interact with computer hardware to run certain processes – have identifiers that the OS uses to verify their quality and legitimacy. Any drivers that aren’t signed don’t get permission to run – and wouldn’t you know it, a lot of classic games run with unsigned drivers, which means that a modern computer won’t even let them get out of the starting gate.

While annoying, there is a way to get around this. If you hold down shift while selecting restart on your start menu, you’ll be taken to a boot menu. In this menu, if you go from troubleshoot to advanced options, to startup settings and then to restart, you can reach the startup settings. Upon restarting your computer, you’ll gain access to a menu, one of the sections of which revolves around driver signatures. Here, you can either disable the signature requirements, or allow the drivers you need to run the game.