Windows 95 Laptop & DOOM


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Occasionally working in IT provides you with some interesting experiences. Along with those experiences you sometimes inherit recycled pieces of tech, usually very outdated and obsolete, but nevertheless interesting.

One of these items is a 1996 Toshiba Satellite laptop running Windows 95. The charming mid 90’s look of this boxy device reminds me of a laptop I saw Kelsey Grammer using in an episode of Frasier.

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This model actually included an optical drive in place of a floppy.

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Standard VGA and parallel ports on the back

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This model also has one of those weird pointing stick things embedded in the keyboard that functions like a joystick for the cursor. These are typical of Lenovo ThinkPads but I don’t recall ever seeing them on any other brand.

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These older laptops were apparently powered on using a standard 2-slot polarized power cord, like the kind you would use to power a Sony PlayStation 1 or typical DVD player.

Given that the laptop was nearly 20 years old, I wasn’t even expecting this thing to even turn on. To my surprise the first cable I grabbed allowed this relic to power on.

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Seeing this laptop fire up was a bit of a nostalgia rush.

I honestly enjoy the startup sound of Windows 95. Maybe I’ll replace my current Windows 10 sound bite with this one.

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And there we have it, fully booted and running on 40MB of RAM with a 774MB Hard Drive.

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The laptop is actually quite responsive for what it is. And it had some very exciting apps installed such as…

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Well, maybe it would be more interesting to try to get Doom running on this thing. So I started searching around for the old original DOS version of Doom.

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I was in luck as it turns out the original game files are located on RGB Classic Games.

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I downloaded Doom v1.9 and promptly burned it to a disc.

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To my surprise the optical drive still functioned properly.

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I doubled-clicked “Deice.exe” to begin the installation.

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The install took about a minute.

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Once the setup finished I had to manually navigate to the C:\ drive as no shortcut was created automatically or a follow up menu. The .exe was in the Doom folder.

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While combing through the Doom folder I found this README file with a little story tidbit that I’ve never seen anywhere before:
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THE STORY SO FAR

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“You’re a space marine, one of Earth’s toughest, hardened in combat and trained for action. Three years ago you assaulted a superior officer for ordering his soldiers to fire upon civilians. He and his body case were shipped to Pearl Harbor, while you were transferred to Mars, home of the Union Aerospace Corporation.”

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Once the process finished I was prompted to select a music and sound fx card, I just picked Sound Blaster for both.

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DOOM, in all its early 90’s glory!

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I’m still amazed at how satisfying killing demons with a shotgun is in this game. This is in contrast to the loose and empty feeling gun-play of some modern titles I’ve played.

It’s like there’s a perfect equation for what makes a kill in a video game feel meaty and forthright and it’s not necessarily something that can be replicated easily.

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I found the “READ THIS!” section amusing.

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Out of curiosity I did try calling this number and no…it wasn’t id Software anymore, actually I think it was a debt collector line. Oh well.

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Welp, it was a nice trip down memory lane and I’m glad this laptop got to experience something a little more exciting than Microsoft Excel 97.

Maybe I’ll play through the series again while awaiting the 2016 reboot.

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I suppose it’s time for this laptop to officially retire.

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