Cabinet-Friendly DOS Games

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This is a work-in-progress listing of DOS games that are cabinet-friendly, meaning they play well using a MAME-compatible control panel. Some games are cabinet-friendly as-is, while others require a substantial amount of keymapping in DOSBox. See the tips where applicable.

To make a suggestion for this list, please see the Cabinet-friendly DOSBox games thread at the Wah!Cade forums.

Contents

Games Requiring No Keyboard Intervention

The games in this list require no keyboard intervention at any point.

Title Year Developer License Description / Tips
Bananoid 1989 William Rieder Freeware (link) Horizontal-scrolling ball-and-paddle game. Clone of Arkanoid.
  • Mouse/Trackball.
  • Exits automatically on game over.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Battle Chess 1988 Interplay Commericial Animated Chess simulation
  • Trackball or mouse controlled.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Beats of Rage 2003 Senile Team Open Source (link) 1-2 Player side-scrolling fighter. Clone of Streets of Rage/Final Fight.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Menu navigation is done using game keys.
  • ESC exits by default
Cyberdogs 1994 Ronny Wester Freeware (link) 1-2 Player top-down shooter.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Menu navigation is done using game keys.
  • Keymapping Enter to 1 is recommended to start game using the player-1 start button.
C-Dogs 1997-1999 Ronny Wester Freeware (link) 1-2 Player top-down shooter.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Menu navigation is done using game keys.
Cybersphere / Cybersphere Plus 1996/1997 Psycon Software Freeware (link) Ball-and-paddle game. Clone of Arkanoid.
  • Mouse/Trackball.
  • ESC returns to main menu, where exiting is easily done.
Electro Man 1993 Epic Megagames Freeware (link) Action / puzzle platformer.
  • Exiting the game requires a "Y" keystroke to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Executioners 1992 Bloodlust Software Freeware (link) 1-2 Player side-scrolling fighter. Clone of Streets of Rage/Final Fight.
  • Player 1 controller is keyboard, and player 2 controller is joystick.
  • INS and DEL must be keymapped to CTRL and ALT respectively.
  • Joystick Y-axis must be keymapped to R (up) and F (down).
  • Joystick X-axis must be keymapped to D (left) and G (right).
  • Joystick buttons 1 and 2 must be keymapped to A and S respectively.
  • ESC exits by default.
Galactic Battle 1990 Softdisk Publishing Shareware (link) Space Invaders/Galaxian clone.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Hard Hat Mack 1983 Electronic Arts Commercial Action Platform / Puzzle
  • Keymapping Spacebar to CTRL and Enter to Alt is recommended.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Jump 'n Bump 1998 Brainchild Design Freeware (link) Multiplayer arena fighting.
  • LEFT/RIGHT/UP For player 1.
  • A/D/W For player 2, keymap to D/G/R.
  • Mouse buttons control player 3.
  • ESC exits by default.
MsPac Pc 1996 JROK Freeware (link) Ms. Pac Man clone.
  • No config necessary for gameplay.
  • Changing options requires keyboard.
  • ESC exits by default.
One Must Fall: 2097 1994 Epic MegaGames Freeware (link) 1-2 Player versus fighting.
  • Player 1 controller is keyboard, and player 2 controller is joystick.
  • Keys are redefinable.
  • Joystick Y-axis must be keymapped to R (up) and F (down).
  • Joystick X-axis must be keymapped to D (left) and G (right).
  • Joystick buttons 1 and 2 must be keymapped to A and S respectively.
  • Changing options requires keyboard.
  • Run the game with FILE0001.EXE instead of OMF.EXE to avoid the cabinet-unfriendly menu at the beginning.
Pac PC 1997 JROK Freeware (link) Pac Man clone.
  • No config necessary for gameplay.
  • Changing options requires keyboard.
  • ESC exits by default.
PC*Bert 1997 JROK Freeware (link) Q*Bert clone.
  • No config necessary for gameplay.
  • Changing options requires keyboard.
  • ESC exits by default.
Prince of Persia 1989 Brøderbund Commercial Action / adventure / puzzle
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Round42 1986 Elven Software Shareware (link) Lo-res shooter. Space Invaders/Galaxian clone.
  • Keymap F1 to CTRL, F2 to ALT
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Spot 1990 Virgin Mastertronic Commericial Multi-player puzzle / Ataxx clone
  • Trackball or mouse controlled.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
TerraFire 1997, 2004 Ort Software Freeware (link) Multi-directional flying shooter. Plays like Asteroids.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Up arrow thrusts, but redefining to ALT is recommended.
Tyrian/Tyrian 2000 1995/1999 Eclipse Freeware (link) 1-2 Player vertical-scrolling flying shooter.
  • Main menu may be fully navigated with a trackball.
  • Player 1 controller is keyboard, and player 2 controller is joystick.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Joystick Y-axis must be keymapped to R (up) and F (down).
  • Joystick X-axis must be keymapped to D (left) and G (right).
  • Joystick buttons 1 and 2 must be keymapped to A and S respectively.
  • The timed option must be set to false in the dosbox conf file.

Games Requiring Some Keyboard Intervention

The games in this list cannot be played without at least one instance of keyboard intervention. In most cases the intervention is limited to game saves, high-score entry, or option configurations.

Title Year Developer License Description / Tips
Alien Carnage 1993 Apogee Freeware (link) Action platformer.
  • Basic movement and action keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Other hotkeys are not redefinable, but could be keymapped.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
  • Exiting the game requires a keystroke prompt to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Bio Menace
Episodes 1, 2, & 3
1993 Apogee Freeware (link) Action platformer.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Exiting the game requires a "Y" keystroke to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Classic Jumpman 2001 IngenieurbĂĽro FRANKE Freeware (link) Action / puzzle platformer. Clone of Jumpman.
  • Levels/difficultly selected by typing 1-9 on keyboard.
  • Spacebar jumps, but keymapping to CTRL is recommended.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
  • High score entry requires the keyboard.
  • Extra game modes & options require keyboard.
Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons 1990 Apogee / id Software Shareware (link) Action platformer.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
  • Exiting the game requires a keystroke prompt to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Commander Keen IV: Goodbye, Galaxy! 1991 Apogee / id Software Shareware (link) Action platformer.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Exiting the game requires a "Y" keystroke to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Commander Keen VI: Aliens Ate my Baby Sitter 1991 id Software Commercial Action platformer.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Exiting the game requires a "Y" keystroke to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Commander Keen: Keen Dreams 1991 Softdisk Publishing / id Software Shareware (link) Action platformer.
  • 5 key is required at the start to begin the game. This is conveniently mapped to player 1 coin.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Main menu may be fully navigated with a trackball.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
Dangerous Dave 1990 Softdisk Publishing Freeware (link) Action platformer.
  • High score entry requires the keyboard.
  • Exiting the game requires a keystroke prompt to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion 1991 Softdisk Publishing / id Software Commercial Action platformer.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Exiting the game requires a keystroke prompt to confirm, so keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for easy exit is recommended.
Digger Remastered 2001 Andrew Jenner Freeware (link) Clone of Dig Dug/Mr. Do! This is not the original 1983 version by Windmill Software. This is an enhanced remake.
  • Keymapping F10 to ESC for to exit is recommended.
  • Keymapping F1 to CTRL to shoot is recommended.
  • High score entry requires the keyboard.
  • Run "DIGGER /C" to play the game with its original CGA graphics.
Galactix 1992 Cygnus Studios Freeware (link) Space shooter. Galaxian/Galaga clone.
  • Mouse/Trackball controlled.
  • Keymapping B to L-Shift for megabomb is recommended.
  • High score entry requires the keyboard.
God of Thunder 1993 Adept Software Freeware (link) Action/adventure. Zelda clone.
  • Name entry requires the keyboard.
Jazz Jackrabbit 1994 Epic MegaGames Shareware (link) Action shooter/platformer.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • Game saves and high score entry require the keyboard.
Kiloblaster 1992 Epic MegaGames Freeware (link) Space shooter. Galaxian/Galaga clone.
  • High score entry requires the keyboard.
Raptor: Call of the Shadows 1994 Apogee / Cygnus Studios Shareware (link) Vertical-scrolling flying shooter.
  • Keys are redefinable by running SETUP.EXE.
  • Main menu may be fully navigated with a trackball.
  • Name/codename entry at start of game requires a keyboard.
Scorched Earth: The Mother of All Games 1991-1995 Wendell Hicken Freeware (link) Multi-player turn-based tank strategy.
  • Trackball/mouse controlled.
  • Name entry requires keyboard.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
SkyRoads 1993 Bluemoon Software Freeware (link) 3D puzzle / obstacle course.
  • Keymapping Enter to 1 is recommended to start game using the player-1 start button.
  • Spacebar jumps, but keymapping to CTRL is recommended.
  • Also trackball or mouse controlled.
  • High score entry requires keyboard.
  • Keymapping "Shutdown" to ESC for quick exit is recommended.
Stargunner 1996 Apogee Freeware (link) Side-scrolling space shooter (think R-Type, Gradius).
  • Main menu may be fully navigated with a trackball.
  • Keys are redefinable in-game.
  • High score entry requires keyboard.
Wacky Wheels 1994 Apogee / Beavis Soft Shareware (link) Arcade kart racing. Clone of Mario Kart SNES.
  • Basic movement and action keys are redefinable by running SETUP.EXE.
  • Giggle keys are not redefinable, and must be keymapped.
  • Menu navigation is done using game keys.
  • High score entry requires keyboard.

Disqualified Suggestions

The titles listed here were suggestions found to not provide a cabinet-friendly experience. Comments are provided to indicate why not.

  • Mega Man - Basic movement and actions may be remapped easily. However, the weapons menu requires a keystroke of the letter of the desired weapon (P-Plasma, V-Volt Shield, ESC to close) for each available weapon. Each of these keys could be mapped to an unused cabinet button, but you will quickly run out of buttons this way, and the experience won't be enjoyable. The configuration menu before the title screen is also annoying to navigate.
  • Mega Man 3 - Same reasoning as given for Mega Man, but add three more buttons for three more weapons.
  • Monster Bash - The options on the main menu are only selectable by typing the first letter of the desired option.

Not Yet Reviewed

This space is reserved for suggested titles that have not yet been reviewed for cabinet-friendliness.

  • Avoid the Noid
  • Freddy's Rescue Round up.
  • Beetlejuice
  • Galacta: The Battle for Saturn

External Links