Back To Basics


As Windows XP tightens its stranglehold on the past, many older games have been rendered unplayable - including the ones that founded this very site. My first known releases, way back in 2000, were DOS-based programs that have since been lost to the revolution. That is, until now! Many gamers must feel equally antiquated, because a crop of utilities and emulators have emerged to save the day. The results are somewhat clumsy, but with a little effort you can dig up the past and enjoy it all over again...

The product you're looking for is DOS-Box. It can be found here, along with countless other tools and add-on's to make life easier. In case you're bewildered by the options, here's a direct link to the standard download that you need. Once you've got it, just install it to the default directory and proceed to that folder...

Loading Files
Unless you're supremely computer literate, you may find the raw program heavy going. It requires an understanding of DOS commands and computing terms that I even I'm not comfortable with! Fortunately, Windows allows us to sneak in a few shortcuts. If you simply drag your game's executable over the "dosbox" executable, you should find that the program opens and loads automatically. At this juncture, you may run into one or two problems. The most easily fixed is that the software demands 8-character executable names. "Federation Online", for instance, will have to be shortened to something like "FedOn". Fortunately, most of my older games seem to have small titles anyway - so you'll rarely have to do that. The other problem you're likely to encounter here is that the software has tremendous difficulty with larger games. Federation Online delivers a memory error for me, and I suspect it may do for a lot of people. The solutions to such problems are too complex for me to go into here, and should be investigated on a personal basis...

Boosting Performance
Although you'd expect your modern computer to make light work of an old game, I'm afraid the software's trickery takes its toll on even the fastest of PC's. You may find that the games run at an unplayably bad speed at first. Fear not, though, because help is at hand! If you simply use Ctrl + F12 to over-clock the program's resources, you should find that things soon approach normality. The current setting can always be seen in the window's title bar (as shown above). Personally, I need to jack it all the way up to around 10'000 cycles - but you may have to find your own solution. Before you get to appreciate the effects, you should also do yourself (and your computer) a favour by switching to full screen mode! Simply press Alt + Enter at any time to toggle between the two settings...

Enjoying The Results
Hopefully, all that remains is to then bask in the glow of the games that you had forgotten. Behold the awful graphics, empty concepts, and dire presentation that we were used to back then! If nothing else, this exercise is an encouraging insight into how far my work has come. Barely more than 4 years ago, this stuff was exciting wrestling fans all over the world! Now that job has been brutally snatched by Federation Booker and the mighty Wrestling MPire. If, out of morbid curiosity, you'd like to see the games that made it all possible, here's the real "Evolution Of The MPire":

Hardy Boyz Stunt Challenge
The game that started it all can be found here. Actually, this is some sort of castrated version of the game that was rushed out following a legal dispute with the WWF. Some key references are missing, but the gameplay is essentially the same. I seem to have lost the original, so it'd be interesting to see if anybody still has a copy?

Case 3:16
This one seems to have survived the WWF inspection, because it features dozens of Steve Austin sound effects! It's actually a surprisingly good production, which features the first ever novelty MDickie intro. The concept seems to have stood the test of time too, thanks to an innovative twist on the beat 'em-up format...

Edge & Christian's Con-chair-to was barely playable at the time, so I doubt it's still worth playing today! It was an ambitious little concept though, which featured dozens of characters on screen. Putting names to those faces is about as much fun as you're going to have with this one...

THAT Love Triangle
For a long time, this was one of my most enjoyable games. Like Case 3:16, it put an incredibly creative twist on the beat 'em-up format and squeezed as much life out of it as possible. I haven't had a chance to revisit it yet, but I do hope this isn't another edited version? If it is, I'm afraid I seem to have also lost the original of that - which boasted an amusing Britney Spears soundtrack!

Wrestling Vs Boxing
Following on from THAT Love Triangle, this game took us even closer to the wrestling gameplay that would find fame in Federation Online. It pits Rocky Maivia against Rocky Balboa in a series of novelty matches!

Family Christmas
I was always incredibly amused by this, the first (and last) Christmas special from 2000. In yet another strange twist on the fighting formula, it features the McMahon household beating the crap out of each other... with their Christmas presents!

Big Bumps
This long-awaited follow up to Hardyz Stunt Challenge was a much more coherent version of the concept. It featured dozens of locations, characters, and items - plus my first attempt at decent presentation. All of which may mean that it's difficult to load up in DOS-Box...

Federation Online
Theoretically, this series should be the highlight of our little nostalgia trip - but if you can get it to work in DOS-Box you're having more luck than me! It's worth a go though, because the anarchic gameplay here sewed the seeds for Federation Booker...

Federation Online: September Edition
If you couldn't get the original Federation Online to work, you've got no chance with this even meatier follow-up! It features a handful of new characters, plus re-mastered gameplay that expanded the match possibilities even further...

The Best Of The Rest

Even more DOS projects can be found in the History section...

Copyright MDickie 2000 - 2005