Little Big Adventure, screenshot from the rpix86 emulator (via Patrick Aalto)
If you have bought a Raspberry Pi and have not yet thought of anything to do with it consider the following. Patrick Aalto, a Raspberry Pi programmer, has recently set up a website dedicated to get a PC emulator up and running on your Raspberry Pi to play old DOS games. As long as you have a Raspberry Pi along with some free time, you too can be playing classic titles such as Doom, Duke Nukem, Little Big Adventure, and Jill of the Jungle.
The rpix86 works by creating a virtual machine, which emulates a 20 MHz 80486 Intel processor. It has 640 KB of low memory, 4MB of EMS memory, and 16 MB of XMS memory. In addition, it has Super-VGA graphics, with a maximum resolution of 640X480 and 256 colors, along with a SoundBlaster 2.0 sound card. It is available through Aalto's website dedicated to this project or through the Raspberry Pi store. (So many fun games from the 16 to 33 Mhz days.. Commander Keen, Test Drive, Leisure Suit Larry, Hugo's House of Horrors.)
The emulator is designed solely to run DOS games. However, it does not support virtual memory due to the consequence of slowing down the emulator. As Aalto noted, “Adding virtual memory support would slow down the emulation, which is pretty slow even as it is.” However, it will support a USB analog joystick with up to 4 buttons and 4 analog channels.
Aalto began his project back in February, and released a version of its online on March 10th. Since that time a couple new versions have been released and many bugs have already been fixed. Since many people who own a Pi will be the ones most interested in these classic games, this is a perfect use for a Raspberry Pi that may be sitting around unused. He is now working on a version of the emulator to work with Android, “ax86,” and fixing any bugs that may be lingering around.