How To Play MS-DOS Games on Chrome OS

MS-DOS games on Chrome OS

With the arrival of Android applications and games to Chromebooks, these laptops made much more sense. The excuse that Chrome OS is only used to use Google applications in the cloud lost validity and made these cheap laptops a great bet.

Currently, you can enjoy many Android games on your Chromebook, and even games from other platforms through the best emulators for Android.

But what if you want to play MS-DOS classics like Wolfenstein 3D, the original Doom, or Quake? You can do it too! In this tutorial, we will teach you how to play MS-DOS games on a Chromebook, and since we will use an Android app, then it also works for your mobile.

What do you need to enjoy your MS-DOS games on your Chromebook? Requirements

Unlike most console emulators where you download the game and run it, emulating an MS-DOS game is not that simple. If it were, a tutorial wouldn’t be necessary, would it? To get started, you need to have a Chromebook that runs Android apps.

Don’t you know if yours can do it? Then check the list of Chromebooks with support for Android applications. In this list are all the compatible models from 2016 to 2019, and if your model is after that year and is not there, do not worry, because it is compatible.

The other thing you will need is an MS-DOS emulator. In Android, multiple options work both by command line or by the graphical interface, but without a doubt, Magic DosBox is the best.

This is one of the few emulators that still maintains its active development, and its compatibility with games is very wide.

Also, its support for keyboards, mice, joysticks, and controls is excellent, so it will also serve to use it on your mobile.

Magic DosBox has a free version that is the one we will use in this tutorial, but its premium version unlocks some additional features. You can download it from the Play Store.

Magic Dosbox Free Magic DosBox

What else do you need? Well, create a folder to host your games called DOSBox. Since you will use an Android app, you will have to create it in the Downloads folder of your Chromebook. The reason? It is the only Chrome OS directory to which Android apps have full access. With that, we are ready to start.

How to add MS-DOS games to your Chromebook using Magic DosBox

Once downloaded, install Magic DosBox on your Chromebook, you can check this tutorial on how to install Android apps on Chrome OS if you don’t know-how. Now, it’s time to see how MS-DOS games are installed with Magic DosBox, follow these steps:

  1. Download the installation package of your MS-DOS game. An excellent page for this is DOS Game Archive, and it is legal to download these games because their licenses have expired and are now shareware. We will use DOOM as an example.
  2. Once downloaded, create a folder with the name of the game inside the DOSBox directory you created earlier. Each game must have its folder so that Magic DosBox does not make mistakes.
  3. Unzip the game installer and copy the files into that game’s folder.
  4. Open Magic DosBox and press the “+” button to create a new game.
  5. In the window that opened, press the “Choose” button to tell the app where the installation package is located. Doing so will open the file explorer, select the folder, and confirm.
  6. Back to the previous screen, but the name with which you want the game to appear. Here you can also configure the amount of memory to use, the power of the CPU, and the sound card. In general, the base settings work, but some games have special requirements, especially sound.
  7. Confirm the changes with the corresponding button.

How to install MS-DOS games on your Chromebook

So far, you have already specified to Magic DosBox that there is a game on your Chromebook, but you have not installed it yet. To do this, continue with the following steps:

  1. On the Magic DosBox main screen, click and hold on the icon of the game you created and press “Edit” and then “Setup” to enter the installer.
  2. The game installation menu will open. Press the “C” key and then “Enter” to tell the emulator that you will install the game on the virtual disk C: \ (which is the folder you created earlier).
  3. After copying files is complete, the emulator will ask you which input device you will use to control that game. Since you are on a Chromebook, select “Keyboard + Mouse” and confirm.
  4. Complete the game installation by pressing “Enter” in each of the remaining steps.
  5. When you get to the final window, select “Save parameters and launch …”.
  6. The game will start and you will be able to enjoy it, but we recommend you do something additional so that you do not have to go through this process every time. Do the following:
    1. Emulation ends and returns to the main screen.
    2. Make a long click on the game icon and press “Edit”.
    3. Go to the “Software” section in the configuration menu.
    4. In the “Main program” section press “Choose” and select the executable of the game (“Doom.exe” in our case).
    5. In the “Setup” section press “Choose” and select the game installation executable (“Setup.exe” generally).
    6. Confirm the changes and voila!

    In this way, the game will start directly because it is already installed, and you will not have to go through the installer before starting it.

    How to configure the controls of an MS-DOS game in Magic Dosbox when using your Chromebook

The great advantage of using a Chromebook to emulate MS-DOS games is that you already have an integrated physical keyboard. Magic DosBox will automatically detect and map it, allowing you to immediately play hundreds of games. The same applies to a Chromebook with a touch screen, but what if you want to use a mouse, mouse, or controller? There the thing changes a little.

How to configure a USB mouse or the touchpad of your Chromebook in Magic DosBox to play MS-DOS games

Magic DosBox automatically recognizes USB mice and touchpads, but its accuracy is quite poor in the base configuration. For the emulator to perfectly follow the cursor movements, press the “Backspace” key and you will open the configuration menu. Among the options, go to “Widgets”, there to “Mouse Navigation” and put it in the “Absolute control” mode.

With this, the precision of the mouse will improve a lot, since the movements will not be taken as a virtualization of the touch screen. There are many MS-DOS games that only or mostly use the mouse, such as SimCity, and in this way, you can enjoy them to the fullest.

How to configure a controller or joystick in Magic Dosbox

Since MS-DOS is created for use on a computer, most of its games are played with keyboard and mouse. However, some that used a few buttons were compatible with controls, and of course, Magic DosBox allows you to do the same.

To configure a controller in this emulator, the first thing is that it is compatible with your Chromebook. If you have a controller to play on your Chromebook it is because you have used it before, therefore it should not give problems.

To configure the controller, just press the “Backspace” key to enter the Magic DosBox configuration. There, go to “Widgets” and there to the “Virtual Joystick” option. Once inside, map each button, joystick, or crosshead on your controller manually. Ready! To enjoy.

How to run MS-DOS games from disk images on your Chromebook

Sometimes certain MS-DOS games are found only as part of a build, and the download file comes in a disk image. This is something that also applies when you have the physical disk and digitize it. Likewise, some games necessarily require the disk to run, so the unit must be virtualized.

For all these cases, it is not enough to follow the standard installation steps, but you must change some things in the process. So what is the process? This is what you must do to run MS-DOS games from disk images on your Chromebook.

  1. Download or create the game disc image.
  2. Copy the image into the DOSBox folder.
  3. If the image is a file with a .img extension, change it to .iso so that Magic DosBox can read it.
  4. Create the new game in Magic DosBox and configure the C: \ drive in the DOSBox folder where the disk image is.
  5. Scroll down to the “CD-ROM” section and check “Enable
  6. Press the “+” button to the right of that same section and select the ISO image.
  7. Put the name you want to the game and confirm changes.

After this, you can run the file and Magic DosBox will give you the option to start an installer (in case you want to save everything in the storage) or directly run the disk. Select and enjoy it!

With all this, you will already be a true expert emulating MS-DOS games on your Chromebook. Now is the time to go enjoy those legendary games that existed for this platform.

Remember that Magic DosBox is an Android app, so you can configure the emulator on your mobile by following this same tutorial. Of course, there will be certain things that will change, like you can create the games folder anywhere or the settings of the controls, but in general, the process is quite similar.

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