I was looking for something in my desk and ran across something I hadn’t seen in probably seven or eight years. It was an old DOS game called “Starflight” and it’s sequel “Starflight 2″.
These games date back to the early 1990’s. They originally came on 5.25 inch floppies (though I had long since copied mine to 3.5 inch floppies, a very good thing since the original disks are now long gone.)
I’ll admit that by today’s standards the graphics were . . . blocky at best. Individual pixels show on my screen as about 1/8th of an inch square.. We’re talking eight-bit four color graphics here folks! most images looked like they’d been drawn with over sized magic markers while riding on camelbak. For sound they used the PC Speaker only. (something almost nothing does today)
However in spite of all that I remember spending many hours with those games, exploring a universe that was surprisingly large given that the game came on a 360K disk (and was intended to run from those floppies too!)
You started with a basic ship that you could upgrade, and a mere 12,000 Monetary Units that you could use to buy a few cargo pods and train your initial crew a little bit.
The ultimate mission was to save the world by both finding planets suitable for colonization and also to stop the sun from going nova.
Along the way you would spend a lot of time searching for minerals, life forms and rare artifacts on over 800 planets scattered among 250 star systems! Only one of those planets was pre-created. The surfaces of the rest of them were generated with a fractal algorithm
You would also encounter a variety of life forms, some friendly, some not. In Starflight 1 you could even have an encounter with the Starship Enterprise, though I never found that little Easter egg myself.
Obviously a game like that, as old as that, simply cannot be played as is on today’s modern computers. They’re just too friggen fast for it. Fortunately I found a solution today when I went looking out of plain old nostalgic curiosity.
If you check out the Starflight Resource Page and click the “Win/Dos” option in the downloads menu you’ll download “sfdosbox.msi” which, when you install it, makes it possible once again to play both Starflight 1 and 2. It’s even got a code-wheel program to satisfy the requirement of entering a code before you can leave spacedock.
Another valuable resource is “Bones’ Starflight Page” that contains links and downloads for a lot of Starflight 1 and 2 material. Granted it’s not exactly the kind of game to make videos of but I still think that my near future holds a lot of Starflight gameplay.
Just copy this code and paste it on your site where you want the link to appear: