Mainframe Games for DOS

Let me start by mentioning that this page does not deal with arcade games or home video games in the modern sense. If you are interested in such nostalgia, please check out Vintage Gaming for those. I have nothing new to contribute in that area. What I do here is preserve the classic PDP/VAX games I played via paper terminal and 300 baud acoustic modem (remember those?) back in the late 70's and early 80's. I have collected DOS ports of these games and have included maps, walkthroughs, etc. where possible.

Please remember that in most cases I am working with 15-20 year old memories, so if I cannot help you when you get stuck, I apologize in advance.

If you know where I can get DOS ports of other TOPS-20/VMS games please let me know:

Adventure The famous Crowther & Woods game. This is the one that made gaming acceptable (at least for players). 269 KB
Adventure Source Code Original Fortran source code for historical purposes only. Do not even think about compiling it. 51 KB
DND The game Digital Equipment Corporation tried to ban. As you can see, it did not work. 87 KB
Dungeon MIT's answer to Adventure and grandfather of Infocom's (and now Activision's) Zork series. 577 KB
Dungeon Source Code Original Fortran source code for historical purposes only. Do not even think about compiling it. 157 KB
Eliza Source Code Original C source code that you could probably compile. Why pay good money for bad advice from a shrink? 36 KB
Empire The grandfather of all war games. You can see the influence in Alpha Centauri which is my modern favorite. 47 KB
Empire Source Code Original C source code that you could probably compile. 47 KB
Galactic Trader I have not found it yet, but Ian Bell has graciously made the orginal Elite available for FREE on his homepage. ???
Hack The precursor of NetHack which is still alive, if not well. 158 KB
House Help Cecil Help! I can not find this game, but I do remember its questionable sense of humor. Having a cigarette with a witch who is into bondage? Your mother would faint if she knew that! ???
Haunt Another member of the questionable family. This beauty was complete with the "vomitorium" for the ghost's binge-and-purge sessions. The only game to require an answer to nature's call. ???
Larn One of the first non-linear adventure games. Admittedly, not the most exciting of the lot, but very good for its time. 91 KB
Moria Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's work, but never officially repressed, unlike DND. It never really got the attention it deserved. 201 KB
Omega Possibly the most absorbing pre-graphical game ever. You can lose alot of sleep with this one. 302 KB
Rogue The first, and most imitated, of the ASCII art games. Released for just about every platform. 49 KB
Wumpus Source Code Original C source code that you could probably compile. 10 KB

If a DOS port is not good enough for you, try DEC machines emulation.

"What's this about banning DND?" you may ask. Believe it or not, there was an official policy ordering all Digital Equipment Corporation employees to destroy any copies of this game or face disciplinary action (firing). Apparently, one of the company's legal eagles got wind of the fact that this might violate trademarks owned by Tactical Study Rules and/or Avalon Hill Games. Naturally, if those companies felt that Digital was profiting from this all hell would break loose. Since Digital was not interested in licensing entertainment software it was decided that making the game "kosher" was not worth the effort. Why this was not the case with Moria, which clearly violated J.R.R. Tolkien's copyrights is beyond me.

Thanks to an email I received from Jim Burrows we now have clarification of the original DND issues, courtesy of the man at ground zero during the ordeal.

You can also learn more about DND courtesy of Dan Lawrence

Keep in mind that the ban is, to the best of my knowledge, still in effect. Of course, since Digital is now a division of Compaq, I can not imagine that anyone still cares. Almost all Digital employees with less than ten years experience have never heard of it, along with a fair number of those who lived through that period. I offer it to the internet at large for the sole purpose of keeping this classic alive. By the way: I am not, nor have I ever been, a DECcie. My father was, that is why I had the honor of playing most of these games when they were the hottest thing around.

Oh, one more thing: Although the game contains a nagware screen asking for US$25, do not pay it. The original pascal source code was to be distributed for non-commercial use only. Some clowns put their own copyright notice on it and tried to sell it. Since their copyright is invalid you are under no obligation to respect it. I have not attempted to contact them, it is highly likely the company no longer exists. I hope it does not, that suits those lame excuses for humanity well.