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Computing has evolved over the years the computers are becoming more and more powerful and the best example of this is how games have evolved over the years from 2D Side-Scrollers to present day ultra realistic 3D games . Todays gaming console possess as much processing powers as yesteryears supercomputers . However many of us do still remember the "Alley Cat"(DOS) and "Mario"(NES) and "Contra"(NES and SNES) and other classic games we used to play whether on Nintendo NES or DOS or SNES, these games were simple compared to todays games but were very entertaining nonetheless . Now if you still want to relive your old days and play these classics whether they belong to NES,SNES , or plain old DOS games Ubuntu provides a way of playing these classic on your Linux box . And in this article i describe how to play these games on your Ubuntu box .

I assume you have your repositories in order and have added certain repositories if not read this article first.

If you are using Ubuntu 7.04 Read this article and get your repositories in order .


If you are using Ubuntu 7.10 Read this article first and get your repositories in order .


DOSBOX allows you to run your old dos programs under Linux , DOSBOX provides a full featured dos environment inside your ubuntu box . DOSBOX allows running of DOS programs in Linux and Windows.

To install DOSBOX type the following command in the Console Window (Applications -> Accesories -> Terminal)

sudo apt-get install dosbox

Alternatively you can use the Synaptic package manager located in (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager) for installing the DOSBOX emulator. Launch the synaptic package manager and click on Search button and type dosbox in the text field mark th checkbox of dosbox and click on install, for installation to start.

After completing installation, create a directory say (/home/user/games) where you would like to store your games,
now after copying your games to the directory launch dosbox by typing dosbox in terminal window.
Opening Screen of dosbox

In DOSBOX type the following command to make your games directory visible inside the dosbox emulator

mount d /home/user/games

Now go to d drive , then go to the directory of the game and launch the executable file of the game to start the game.
Alleycat game running under DOSBox

Some of the popular DOS games can be obtained at the following internet address : -

Bio Menace (This game and all it's three series were released as Freeware and can be downloaded from ) ,Commander Keen , Wolfeinstein 3D , Duke Nukem , Hocus Pocus , Crystal Caves and other can be downloaded at the following address some of the games are shareware and some freeware but trust me even shareware games would give you hours if not days of entertainment : -

Alley Cat ( This game released in 1984 is one of my all time favorite i have spent a lot of time playing this on my 386 computer ) this can be downloaded from the following : -

Dangerous Dave ( Well this game released in 1988 is a very simple game which is quite popular here in India even today in school labs you could find people playing this game !!!!!) :-

Mario Brother VGA ( Well this is also a nice game it even has a boss mode to fool your boss that you are working and to top it all it is only few kilobytes in size !!) :-

Get more old dos games here at :

Wikipedia page on list of all dos games :

Wikipedia page on commercial games released as freeware (most of them dos) :


Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System were very popular gaming console in 1980's and early part of 1990's , they gave us some of the best titles including Mario, Contra, and others .Computing wise they may not be marvel considering they ran 16bit / 8bit processor compared to todays gaming console , they do promise however hours of fun . There are a number of emulators available for running the games and the games run even on low hardware configuration owing to fact that these games dont demand much .I am only going to tell about one emulator for nes and one for snes since i have tried them however you can see other at this page :

Anyways for installing the emulator follow the following steps : -
If you like installing applications from command line you could iuse the following command at the terminal to install the zsnes emulator :-

sudo apt-get install zsnes

Now zsnes is a nice emulator that can play SNES games , it has a nice GUI and can run both on Windows and Linux operating system.

However if you dont like zsnes you can try other emlators also one popular one is fceu,To install fceu type the following command at terminal

sudo apt-get install fceu

fceu is for running NES games only.

However if you prefer to install application graphically launch Synaptic Package Manager (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manger) and search for package fceu,zsnes and check them and press install button.

Now to launch fceu or zsnes go to (Applications -> Accessories -> terminal ) and type the following commands to run the emulator.

zsnes to launch the zsnes emulator it has it's own graphical interface and hence it use is self explanatory.
ZSNES in Action

For playing NES game you have to use fceu to launch fceu type the following command at the terminal.

fceu -inputcfg gamepad1 /home/user/Mario.nes (Or any other game nes and path)

Now fceu would ask you which keys you want to configure for what actions type the keys accordingly (you have to press twice to confirm the keys).

After this done next time you want to start fceu you dont have to specify your keys again you can use the following command to run fceu.
fceu ROM.nes (Where ROM.nes is your rom you want to run)

Mario Game running under fceu

Now for roms(nes and snes games ) you can use the google for finding and downloading roms , since i dont quite know about legality of using these roms so i wont recommend any site to you , anyways they are quite easy to find using google.

Additional Notes(added later) : -


SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion and was scripting language developed at Lucas Arts for easy creation of graphical adventure game Maniac Mansion . You can think that it is like a gaming engine on which many other point and click adventure games have been developed including Maniac Mansion , The Curse of Monkey Island , Indian Jones series , and others .

Now ScummVM is a open source project that is being developed to allow many of the old games based on Scumm to be run on todays operating system which are incompatible with the original SCUMM engine allowing many of the classic SCUMM based games to run under OS's like Windows, GNU Linux and others.

This is what ScummVM site says about games it can run and what is scummvm : -

ScummVM is a program which allows you to run certain classic graphical point-and-click adventure games, provided you already have their data files. The clever part about this: ScummVM just replaces the executables shipped with the game, allowing you to play them on systems for which they were never designed!

Some of the adventures ScummVM supports include Adventure Soft's Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2; Revolution's Beneath A Steel Sky, Broken Sword 1 and Broken Sword 2; Flight of the Amazon Queen; Wyrmkeep's Inherit the Earth; Coktel Vision's Gobliiins; Westwood Studios' The Legend of Kyrandia and games based on LucasArts' SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) system such as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max and more.

To Install SCUMM-VM under ubuntu assuming you have all the repositories in order type the following command at the terminal : -

sudo apt-get install scummvm

This would download all the files needed to run SCUMM based games under ubuntu , and should take few minutes only.

Now after installation is over go to (Applications -> Games -> ScummVM ) to launch the ScummVM .

Now interface is quite simple since it is graphical so you should have no problem using ScummVM.

If you have your original CD's Floppy's or whatever start playing your favorite games again.

Putting ScummVM into action : -

To Test ScummVM i downloaded the Flights of Amazon Queen game , now after downloading the file(game was in a zip file) i extracted the contents of the archive into a directory say Games , now i launched the ScummVM (Applications -> Games ->ScummVM) . ScummVM provides a nice graphical look i went to the directory where game was located through ScummVM and clicked on chose .This showed me the following screen to add game into ScummVM.

After this i only had to click on run to start the game and this is how my game looked running inside ScummVM on Ubuntu .

Feeling inspired enough get the games for ScummVM here : -

Now many games are available online for download you can look at this under extras section for finding some games , you can find more games using google :-

And also here is list of games released under Demo version :
These may be demo version but do provide hours of entertainment.

and here is the full list of supported games : -

By Ambuj Varshney (
For Linux On Desktop(


  1. cool ! once i recived free cds from ubuntu and i left that thing and distributed to friends i think still they are giving free cds with improved ...

    nature desktop wallpaper

  2. Amusingly enough, Flight of the Amazon Queen is available in the Ubuntu repositories. <3

  3. Nice, this one is really good. Love to play some old dos games :)


  4. Medrin10:27 PM

    You forgot a good old DOS game. The original Elder Scrolls is avialible for free from their website.

  5. Anonymous12:41 PM

    It used to be if you owned the game, you could legally download use the roms, but I think that nasty DMCA changed that.

    BTW, You can get almost every single rom for every single system from or

  6. Anonymous9:09 PM


  7. Anonymous2:53 AM

    just see this : (live cd&dvd width many dos games)

  8. Anonymous8:02 PM



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