Last week I saw an old Pentium 120 for sale, and I found myself contacting the seller and arranging to buy it from them. It's a great machine, with a super fast 12x CD-ROM drive, 32mb of RAM and an enormous 1.9Gb hard drive. It currently has a single 3.5" floppy drive, and I have plans to add a 5.25" floppy drive, and it runs Microsoft DOS 6 and Windows 3.1. It's exactly the sort of machine I'd been looking for.
It may seem odd to be purchasing a personal computer so outdated and be excited about it, but let me explain. The past couple of years I've been running a tumblr that showcases all sorts of DOS games - both the old favourites I grew up playing, and ones I'd never even heard of before. I've collected quite an assortment of old games from eBay, and I felt it would be fun to have an original machine, that runs these games just how they were supposed to. Although DOSBox is a fantastic piece of software that makes playing DOS based games incredibly simple, nothing quite beats the feel of an old joystick, the chunk of an old keyboard and the hum of an old floppy drive.
But that's not the only reason. For the past 7 years, I devoted a huge chunk of my free time to making games. I started knowing absolutely nothing, and worked my way up until I was lucky enough to be hired to do it as my full time job around a year ago. It's been amazing, and I genuinely believe I have the best job. But now that making those sorts of games is my job, I wanted something different, something to challenge me. Something that will push me to learn more skills, more history and give me something to be proud of.
My plan, then, is to build a game that can run on this old PC. I'll even be using the PC itself to work on the game, if all goes well. I'm going to step away from the comfort zone I've settled into and try something new. To put my goal as a single statement:
I aim to create a short, graphical point and click adventure game designed to run entirely on PCs running MS-DOS 5 or greater, and to write about each step and detail some of the challenges I face along the way.
It's going to be an interesting ride, and I have no idea how I'll actually go with this, but hopefully somebody out there will find the process interesting, and maybe at the end I'll even have something playable to show!