The full Win9x Experiance

I don’t remember what caused me to pull out an old game and trying to install it. The game in question is Pharao which runs on Windows 98. It does not run on Windows XP and certainly not on Linux. Therefore I searched for ways to get it to run.

The first approach was to use Wine. While installation was without a hitch (and way faster than in the old Win98 days), I could not get it running.


So it seems that my 64 bit OS cannot execute the 32 bit binaries. The next logical step then seemed to try another wine version from the days before 32 bit. To do that I installed PlayOnLinux. There the Pharao game already was reconfigured, meaning you could just say install and then the appropriate wine version was downloaded and installed, the wine prefix created and the game installed from CD drive. Unfortunately the result was the same:


err:process:create_process starting 64-bit process L"C:\\windows\\system32\\wineboot.exe" not supported on this platform
err:process:start_wineboot failed to start wineboot, err 193
wine: could not load L"C:\\windows\\system32\\Pharaoh.exe": Module not found

Then I decided to install VirtualBox and there install my Windows 98. This first step was no problem, but when Win98 started for the first time, it chose a standard monitor with a resolution of 800×600. That is so small, that the whole dialog for changing the screen resolution has no place. Further more the resolution could not be changed. Some research produced the fact that I could use a generic graphic driver to resolve this issue. The drivers can be found in the BearWindows project. So I hit the web hell program Internet Explorer (probably in version 4) only to discover that the application refuses to start before I have set up an Internet connection through a modem.

Fortunately I found some old DVD containing old versions of real browsers for a 32 bit operating system. So I installed first a version of Firefox1.5, then downloaded the driver. Once again I had to install an additional package from the web as Windows 98 does not come along with any utility to unzip an archive. Finally I managed to install the driver and fix the resolution of the screen. While it would have been possible to set the resolution real high, that does not make much sense, as the game has only a max resolution of 1024×768. The rest is black border.

So now I have to end this article, to play Pharao!

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