Currently hosting 5 utilities for playing OS/2 games!
Utilities for playing OS/2 games
OS/2 software can be run on any x86 computer, as well as many non-x86 platforms. How this is accomplished depends on what operating system your computer is running.
OS/2 is capable of running DOS and Win16 programs, so OS/2 can be installed on top of those operating systems. Any computer running DOS (MS-DOS/PC-DOS/DR-DOS/FreeDOS) or Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.11 that meets the minimum hardware requirements should be able to install a copy of OS/2. If you want to run a real copy of OS/2, but don't already own one, development of OS/2 has continued under the name "eComStation", which can be found in the operating systems section.
Windows NT-based operating systems (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003) support only OS/2 1.x text-mode programs. Windows Vista, Windows 7, BeOS, Linux, and Mac OS X don't support OS/2 software at all. If you are using any of these operating systems, the only way to run OS/2 games is to install a real copy of OS/2 or eComStation in an emulation or virtualization program. Such programs allow you to run OS/2 and other operating systems as a "guest" operating system in a window on your "host" operating system.
eComStation is the new name of OS/2, which has continued to be developed by Serenity Systems since IBM discontinued development of OS/2. eCS includes IBM-supplied updates that had previously only been offered to customers with maintenance contracts, such as support for USB, and has added a number of features to improve compatibility and performance on modern computers, such as switching the default filesystem to JFS. In addition to being fully compatible with existing OS/2 software, Serenity Systems has been tirelessly converting open source programs to run on eCS, including Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org. eCS should also still be compatible with all DOS and Win16 software. A LiveCD of eComstation 2.2 beta is available, which allows the OS to be tested without the overhead of an emulator, and without installing to a hard drive.
Bochs emulates a PC with a 32 or 64-bit x86 processor. Like virtualization suites, it allows you to run a real copy of DOS, Windows, Linux, and other PC operating systems. The significant difference is that a virtualization suite simply allows a guest operating system to run on your PC, whereas Bochs emulates a PC, so you can run PC operating systems on non-PC computers. Unlike DOSBox, you will need a copy of DOS to play DOS games, but Bochs was designed to run other operating systems as well, which can be anywhere from difficult to impossible with DOSBox. Written in C++, Bochs can compile on many platforms. Please see the Bochs homepage for other versions.
Virtual PC allows almost any PC operating system to be run in Windows with virtually no loss of performance. You can run a real copy of DOS, OS/2, or Windows as a "Guest" operating system within your normal version of Windows (the "Host" operating system). Virtual PC is a virtualization environment, not an operating system emulator, so you will have to install your own copy of whatever OS you want to run as a Guest.
Virtual PC 2004 requires at least Windows 2000, and supports DOS, OS/2, and Windows 3.x (unofficially)/NT/9x/2000/XP/Server 2003 as Guests.
Virtual PC 2007 requires at least Windows XP, and adds support for 32-bit Windows Vista/Server 2008 Guests. Official support for DOS and Windows NT/95/98 First Edition/Me Guests was dropped, though they still work just fine.
The newest version, released on 19 September 2009, is called Windows Virtual PC. It requires Windows 7 and only supports Windows XP/Vista/7 Guests, so it is not useful for running any of the games on this site.
VirtualBox is a straightforward virtualization package that allows almost any PC operating system to be run in a window on PCs running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, OS/2, and Solaris, with virtually no loss of performance (as long as you have enough RAM to spare for the guest operating system). You can run a real copy of DOS (with or without Win16) or Win9x, to play games from this site and be able to switch back and forth between the host and guest operating system without rebooting. VirtualBox is a virtualization environment, not an operating system emulator, so you will have to install your own copy of DOS or Windows. VirtualBox emulates a SoundBlaster 16, which is great for DOS and Win16, and it supports 2D and 3D acceleration and has experimental DirectX support, which is great for Win9x and newer operating systems. Shared folders can be created to transfer files to and from the guest operating system. There are ports for Solaris/OpenSolaris and a number of Linux distributions, so I recommend visiting the home page if the version for your operating system isn't listed below.
CHKCPU uses the CPUID instruction (present in all Pentium and later CPUs, and some late model 486s) to identify the model, speed, and capabilities of your CPU, including support for MMX, 3DNow!, SSE/2/3/4.1/4.2/4A instructions. This will most likely be useful when running an emulator or virtualization suite – to determine what kind of CPU is being emulated and what information is being provided to your games – or when using a slowdown utility to ensure that older games run at the correct speed. For example, The Need for Speed will only run in SVGA mode if it detects a Pentium CPU, whereas DOSBox reports a 486 CPU by default – which I know because I ran CHKCPU – so CHKCPU let me know that I should change the "cputype" from "auto" to "pentium_slow".