Back in my post Golden Graphics, I pointed to an article by Shamus Young on what he called “the golden era of PC gaming”. He didn’t think much of DOS.

His main complaint was the need for fiddling with the memory on occasion. Yes, DOS was not all that great with memory management (and hey, remember there were three competing versions: MS-DOS, DR-DOS, and PC DOS?). I made a few boot disks in my time, with customized autoexec.bat and config.sys files. Mostly, I used QEMM to handle the memory stuff.

So what? It was a bit annoying, maybe, but no big deal. On the other hand, DOS had some advantages. For one, no registry growing like a cancer on your hard drive, filled with who knows what garbage. And no one ever advised re-installing DOS every six months, like Windows.

When you installed an application, it went all in one directory. You didn’t have parts scattered all over the place, as in Windows. This in “Program Files”, that buried somewhere in “Documents and Settings”, and maybe something else tucked away in an obscure location.

Want the whole thing gone? Just delete the directory. No need for an uninstaller that may or may not screw your system (Pool Of Radiance 2, anyone?). DOS was quick and clean.

Copying files was easier, too. After having played Avernum 5 N times, I wanted to check out some dialogue options I always skipped (being the good person I am). However, the dialogue files were mixed in with various script files.

Now, far as I know, to copy the ones I wanted, I’d have to open Windows Explorer and manually click on each file. This is not having the computer do the work for you. This is BS (pardon my vulgarity).

On the other hand, at the Command prompt (a sad remnant of DOS, but still with some functionality), I had only to type one line:
copy *dlg.txt c:\tempdlg
And all the files I wanted were copied to the previously-created directory (I hate that term “folder”) tempdlg. 118 of them. Who wants to click that many files, one at a time, and with no guarantee a few won’t be missed?

When I got my first PC (a 286), the DOS manual that came with it was a lot thicker than the one for my Apple. I looked at that, and thought, “Uh Oh!”. Happily, it turned out I could ignore 98% of it.

There were maybe six or eight commands I used regularly, another one or two on occasion, and anything else I could just look up in the manual. DOS was easy to use most of the time.

So yeah, I really miss DOS. What about you?