I only upgraded from Windows XP to Vista relatively recently – it was really only when I started at bit-tech.net
that I actually became concerned with keeping up to date. Until then I'd been happy to stay with whatever OS let me play the games I wanted to play, upgrading only as I needed to to play the latest games.
I’ve regretted the move to Vista ever since, though I was at least wily enough to ensure that my girlfriend’s PC ran XP still, ensuring I had at least one option when struck by the sudden need to play a classic game. You know the need I’m referring to – it usually comes when you’re doing some menial task and you’re somehow reminded of an old game you really liked. Quickly that flash of memory grows, flares into an obsession and you find yourself reinstalling games you haven’t played in years, usually Deus Ex
That quick burst of obsession is something I experience fairly regularly, mainly because games are such a massive part of my life and I find it hard to break away from them. Some days I can’t cross the street without thinking that I should quicksave first. Oh, how I wish I was joking.
Oh, wow, it's System Shock 2! Joe never talks about that!
Vista is a frequent thorn in my side, responsible for ruining many of my weekends. That flash of memory will hit me and I’ll quickly find myself desperately longing to go back and play an old game like Outcast
, but trying to get it to run acceptably will often be an uphill struggle. By the time I’ve finished patching, searching, altering .ini files and setting up DOSbox
then the weekend is over and the urge is dead – the flame that burns twice as hot only burns for half as long, as they say. That’s assuming that the game will even run on Vista at all too.
I’m talking mainly about extreme cases here and admittedly there are a lot of games that can easily be configured to work under Vista. It can sometimes be as simple as setting the compatibility mode to Windows XP or 98…but usually it isn’t.
Nor do the compatibility problems affect old games only. The fact that Thief: The Dark Project
(1998) doesn’t work under Vista 64-Bit (at least not for me) is to be expected. That game had troubles working under Windows XP, let alone Vista. Other games though, like Thief 3: Deadly Shadows
(2004) aren’t nearly as old as all that. It may be a bit unreasonable given the colossal task that faces Microsoft when they design a new operating system, but I’m massively annoyed that a huge part of my games library isn’t easily playable.
Every time that powerful urge rises and demands that I immerse myself in a good long session of No One Lives Forever
or Grim Fandango
or Tomb Raider 2
or System Shock 2
then all I get is Bill Gates tutting at me. Grr.
And yes, ostensibly I’m ending this blog post like this because I figured it’s a rant that a lot of people could share in and that a fair number of Vista-based gamers would also be annoyed with. There’s a deeper reason for this blog post though and that’s that I know bit-tech
readers are generally a well-read and clever bunch and I’m hoping some of you will be able to make some suggestions to improve Vista compatibility.
Because I really want to play some Thief 2
right now – the cutscenes for those games were awesome.