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Video Games Compatibility Guide

The QUT Library at Kelvin Grove has a number of game titles that are from older generation operating systems and consoles. Games currently in the collection are titles that have been confirmed compatible in some way on a modern console or operating system. Of course, if you own an older system or compatible ‘Retro Tech’, these games can still be played as they were originally intended.

The following guide has been developed based on the titles currently available at the Library and their system requirements, and is broken into the following sections:

  • Microsoft, Apple, & Linux
  • Nintendo
  • Sony PlayStation & Microsoft Xbox

Microsoft, Apple, & Linux

Microsoft & Windows OS Families

The below compatibility chart breaks down Microsoft Windows releases into 5 categories. The oldest Microsoft game in the collection is currently the MS-DOS release of Doom II. The 5 categories are:

  • MS-DOS
  • DOS Shells: Windows 1.0 to 3.0
  • Windows 9x: Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me
  • Windows NT (Unsupported)1: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
  • Windows NT (Supported)2: 8.1, 10

1 These operating systems using the NT kernel are no longer supported by Microsoft.

2 These operating systems are still supported by Microsoft, and as such are noted as ‘modern’ operating systems for the purpose of this guide.

The below tables refer to “plug-and-play” compatibility, where little or no additional set-up is needed to run the game. However, with the right technical knowledge and skill, all games requiring Windows in the collection at QUT Library can be played on modern operating systems, albeit sometimes with the use of third-party programs. Titles in the collection requiring further set-up to play have instructions included in the box, but a variety of alternate options may also be available. Please see the note below for further options.

 

Microsoft & Windows

Operating System (OS)

MS-DOS

DOS Shells

Windows 9x

Windows NT1

Windows NT2

OS required by Game

MS-DOS

Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

DOS Shells

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Windows 9x

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Windows NT1

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Windows NT2

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Compatible

 

Apple-made Operating Systems

Apple-made operating systems can be broken two major categories: Apple operating systems, which is based on DOS; and Macintosh operating systems, of which the current macOS belongs to. There are currently no games in the collection that are made for any Apple-made operating system, or are compatible with modern macOS. Apple users may wish to consider using a Windows computer, virtual machine, or emulator when testing games. Please see the note below for further information.

 

Linux (and other Unix) Operating Systems

Given the sheer number of available Linux distributions, ranging in various capabilities, configurations, and complexity, we are unable to provide guidance on compatibility. However, most Linux users requiring the use of programs only compatible with Windows and Apple products should be well versed in alternative options. With older titles, Linux users may find much more success than their Windows and Apple counterparts in achieving a smooth gaming experience.

 

A note on Virtual Machines and Emulators

To play older computer games in the collection, a virtual machine or emulator may be required to imitate the game’s native operating system system. Windows and Mac users enjoy built-in virtual machine software, with Microsoft Hyper-V and Apple Boot Camp. Instructions for these, and many more options like VirtualBox or the more specific DOSBox, can be found with a quick Google search.

Please note that use of third-party programs is at your own risk and discretion. If you have selected a title not compatible with your system are not comfortable with these options, please return it and select another title. HiQ is unable to assist with setting up your computer to run these games.

Nintendo

Note: This list is not exhaustive, and consoles not mentioned do not have titles available at the Library.

Handheld Consoles

Console

Game Boy

Game Boy Advance

Nintendo DS

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo Switch

Launch Console

Game Boy

Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Game Boy Advance

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Nintendo DS

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Not Compatible

Nintendo 3DS

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Not Compatible

Nintendo Switch

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

 

Home Consoles

Console

GameCube

Wii

Wii U

Nintendo Switch

Launch Console

GameCube

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Wii

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Not Compatible

Wii U

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Not Compatible

Nintendo Switch

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

 

With the Nintendo Switch sporting a new cartridge-based system, no games are backwards compatible on this system.

Nintendo 3DS’s of any variety can usually enjoy games from previous generations. A few exceptions apply:

  • The Nintendo DSi line is not compatible with Game Boy or Game Boy Advance games, as the larger cartridge slot is not present in these systems.
  • The Nintendo DSi XL included a region lock that prevented it from playing DSi-only titles from other regions using a different standard. This means an Australian PAL system is not compatible with a NTSC title. However, few games were released as DSi-only, with straight DS titles unaffected.

Sony PlayStation & Microsoft Xbox

PlayStation

Console

PlayStation

PlayStation 2

PlayStation 3

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 5

Launch Console

PlayStation

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

PlayStation 2

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

PlayStation 3

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

PlayStation 4

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

PlayStation 5

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

 

As a general rule, older PlayStation games require their original launch console to play. Backwards compatibility is limited to a few exceptions:

  • The original PlayStation 2 was backwards compatible with most PlayStation games. However, the PlayStation 2 Slim is not backwards compatible with PlayStation games.
  • The original PlayStation 3 20 GB and 60 GB models are backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 games. These consoles are now exceedingly rare due to their fragility and the lack of available repair options.

 

Xbox

Console

Xbox

Xbox 360

Xbox One

Xbox Series S

Xbox Series X

Launch Console

Xbox

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Xbox 360

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Xbox One

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Varied Compatibility

Varied Compatibility

Xbox Series S

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

Xbox Series X

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Not Compatible

Compatible

Compatible

 

Xbox users enjoy a large amount of backwards compatibility. Generally, most popular titles have been optimised for use of the consoles succeeding them at this point, including those in the collection at QUT Library. Microsoft publishes a list of compatible games and updates it regularly, so be sure to check the list for the if you aren't sure the game you've selected is compatible with your console.

Subjects: Creative industries / Animation, Creative industries / Interaction design and visual communication, Information technology / Computer science, Information technology / Games design
Tags: computer animation, Computer-generated imagery, console games, game aesthetics, Game design, game developers, game narrative, Game worlds, games design, Games development, IGB181, IGB220, IGB283, indie games, Interactive environments, IT05, KNB127, Mobile entertainment, Player immersion, playstation, playtesting, Special effects, virtual reality games, vr games, xbox