Thursday, May 03, 2018

PC Ditto

Today, I thought I would have a quick play with PC-Ditto, an old emulator by Avant-Garde Systems. Now, please do note that I've never owned a PC in my life but I do remember tinkering with the one (and only) Amstrad PC our college had in 1987. So, I figured this would be a nostalgic trip down memory lane? Well, who knows...

Okay, the stock Atari ST is more than capable of running this emulator and many DOS programs will run fine. However, you should probably forget it for games? I used my own Mega STe which barely had the horsepower to handle most that I tried. Video recording: Hatari running a 16Mhz to simulate my experience with real hardware.

Little luck with Castle Wolfenstein (bad copy?) but Serpentine ran quite well.
Surprisingly, I did have some success as you can see in the video which shows me booting DOS 3.3 and then loading a selection of rubbish games. The first is Serpentine, which was definitely the best of the bad bunch and I enjoyed eating the other slo-mo snakes. I then rebooted to try something called David's Kong. Ugh, this is absolutely laughable so please don't waste your time!

Next up was Bird-Brain which didn't seem to work very well because the keys specified on the main menu didn't work for me. Instead, I suffered rapid beeping sound which was rather annoying!! So yet another reboot was called for so I could try Castle Wolfenstein. Ohh, I had such high hopes for this game but alas it didn't appear to run properly and then oddly got itself caught in a loop?

I then loaded Space Commanders which slowed my Mega STe down to the speed of a Casio calculator for some insane reason. In the video recording, I could cheat by hitting CMD X to speed up Hatari but that didn't really help too much. No loss anyhow because this is a ludicrously bad shoot 'em up!!

I was now beginning to lose the will to live and only had one game left: Buck Rogers Planet Of Zoom which is one of my favourite ZX Spectrum games. Sadly, it wasn't (umm) too playable due to slow speeds but I managed a couple of minutes before PC-Ditto disappointly froze for some reason!
Oh boy, how did the PC win the computer warz? The worst Kong and Invader games, ever!!

This was fun and I enjoyed (temporarily) turning my ST into an Intel paperweight. Games require more CPU grunt but I doubt anyone would abandon the wonderful ST archive for these horrendous DOS equivalents? Of course, not being a hardware product meant performance was pretty sluggish, even on my Mega STe, but it did a grand job and I loved how easy it was to get up and running so quickly. However, there's only one thing left to do: del *.* 😇


 - PC-Ditto can be found on AtariMania or using Old Games Finder.
 - DOS 3.3 is downloadable from Atari-Forum thanks to Jake/Depression.
 - I found many DOS games on various websites and I really liked My Abandonware.

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