DOSBox is incredibly handy to run old games. In “DOSBox for Dummies“, I covered basic usage, as well as how to write a Windows batch file to automate some of the more repetitive operations (such as mounting). I also explained how to extend this to games requiring a CD in “Running Games Requiring a CD in DOSBox“.
If your games are all under the same folder, you might want to consider automatically mounting your DOS games folder using a dosbox.conf file. Otherwise, you can resort to scripting via batch files (Windows) or shell scripts (Linux).
For those one-off situations where you just want to try out a game quickly without setting anything up, regardless of where it resides on the filesystem, you can run the following (in Linux) from the folder where your game is:
dosbox -c "mount c $(pwd)" -c "C:"
This is the same method I used in previous articles to pass commands to DOSBox. The only difference is that here I’m taking advantage of command substitution in bash (as seen in “Scripting Backups with bash on Linux“) to pass in the current directory via the
pwd command. That way, no matter where your game folder is on the filesystem, DOSBox will start in the right location. Then, all you’ll need to do is invoke the right executable.
Happy retro gaming!