My Old Sierra Games

Does anyone remember Sierra Online Entertainment?  I certainly do.  How could I ever forget?  They were the very first computer based video games I had ever played, and that was in the 80’s and 90’s.

I played King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella on my old Apple //e that I bought from my brother-in-law in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a tower with a motherboard or a hard drive, because it got destroyed before I bought it.  Long story, it was my friends fault lol.  Anyway, I remember that this was the very first game I bought and I had so much fun with it.  I sold the computer a few years later.

In 1997 when I bought my very first Windows-based computer, I wondered if they still sold it, so I looked and found the King’s Quest Collection at a computer store for $20 and I bought it.  I also bought many other Sierra game collections and loved them all.

I have been very hard at work rebuilding my old website to make it new and fresh, and while looking in my CD book for a CD with a backup file, I came across all of my old Sierra games and it occurred to me that maybe I should make a page that showed all of them and mention how much fun I had playing them, so I did.

Shiver’s 2 is one of the games that I couldn’t remember playing.  I have the 2 cd’s, but I just don’t have any memory of playing it.  I tried to install it, but it wouldn’t let me.  Every attempt at installing it resulted in a crash.  I didn’t give up though, I did a Google search looking for Sierra installers and I actually found a website.

New Installers for Sierra Games.  I installed the King’s Quest collection using their installer and it worked.  Although some of the games crashed, not all of them did.  I ran the 4th and 5th game, but the 7th one crashed.  I even had it install Mixed Up Mother Goose and I tried playing it, but it wouldn’t do it.  I think the reason is because it needs to be in 256 colors.  I can only do 16 and 32 bit.  I do remember when I played some of those games in the 90’s that I had to physically change my resolution to 256 colors before I could run the game.  I don’t think I will play them so I uninstalled it.

They had the Shiver’s 2 installer and I was successful in installing it, but here is my issue, when I run the game, it’s mostly video footage and it freezes up on me.  I can hear the sound perfectly, but the video freezes up too much.  It’s basically unplayable with my computer.

There are a few games that I never got to play, like the Police Quest Collection and the Quest for Glory Collection, so I may end up trying to install those and see what happens.  If they play then they play, if they don’t then they don’t.

I did have to install 2 programs for this.  DOSBox and ScummVM.  I’ve heard of DOSBox, but not the ScummVM one.  There is one annoying thing though.  I have avast anti-virus, and every time I tried running one of the games, avast would pop up on my screen saying it had never heard of Sierra, so it was checking it to see if it was a virus.  So I would suggest if you do have these Sierra games and intend to play them and you have avast, you could either wait for it to allow you to run it, or just close avast down.  I mean, you won’t need the internet with these games, usually, so you don’t have to worry about getting a virus.  If it only hassled me once then I’d say let it add that particular game to its list of approved programs, but if it does it every time then it’s annoying, shut it down.

I will try to play those other games and if/when I do, I will update my Sierra page on my website.

Windows 8 Installation Issues

Do you ever feel like your stick in a situation you can’t get yourself out of when you try to install a new operating system that doesn’t want to work properly?  Yeah, me too.

My first computer in 1989 was an Apple //e.  It didn’t have a tower with a hard drive, it did but my friend asked my brother-in-law to put a sound board in there that would make the computer talk when you typed and when he tried taking it back, it fried the motherboard.  All he was left with was the clunky keyboard, 2 floppy drives and the monitor.  He sold it to me in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a mouse or any icons, it was all dos.

My second computer was an IBM, but it had a tower with a motherboard and a hard drive, but it didn’t have windows on it.  I only had that for a couple of weeks in 1997 before I bought my very first Windows-based computer which had Windows 95 on it.  When 98 came out, I upgraded and when ME came out I upgraded to that too.  When XP came out, I had already built my first computer and put that on it and gave the one with ME on it to Darrin when we moved to Bakersfield.  Over the last 12 years, I have rebuilt my computer and given Darrin my old hand me downs and I am now on my 4th XP based computer.

I never upgraded to Vista when that came out because I heard nothing but horrible things about it from friends that I played EverQuest with.  When Windows 7 came out I wanted to buy the upgrade, but the upgrade adviser told me that my hardware wasn’t compatible (that was before my latest upgrades).

I tried looking for the Windows 8 upgrade adviser, but they didn’t have one.  All I could do was download the preview from the Microsoft website and try to run that to see if it gave me any clues about my hardware.  Before I did anything, I backed everything up on my backup hard drive in my computer.  I spent hours doing that because I knew something bad was going to happen if I didn’t and I was so right.

When my backups were all done, I bit the bullet and said just do it and I let Windows 8 preview install.  It took 2 hours to install before rebooting.  When I saw the new Windows logo, I got chills because I knew it had worked, but then that went away and all I had was a blank black screen.  I figured it was probably still installing, so I will give it awhile.  I gave it 2 more hours before deciding nothing was going to happen.  I rebooted it and got the Windows logo again, but this time the blank black screen was replaced with a blank blue screen.  I was overjoyed, until that blankness never got filled with words or logos, then I knew I was screwed.

I decided to run the installation again which meant going into the BIOS and making the DVD drive the first drive that runs so it runs directly from the disc, and it did.  It asked me for the code again and I thought SHIT, it’s on the desktop…  I didn’t write it down.  But, luckily it was on the website still.  WHEW!  I entered the code and thought everything would be OK  but it wasn’t.  It found my 2 hard drives and asked me which one to install it to and I chose the one that had my previous Windows installation, but it wouldn’t install.  I figured it didn’t have enough free space, so I had it format it, but it still wouldn’t install.

My only option was to put the Windows XP cd back in and install that, and I did and all was good until I installed the Router software, and then I couldn’t get my internet working.  I spent 3 hours trying to get my internet working to no avail.  I thought it was the router, but it wasn’t because I had the cable modem plugged directly into my desktop.  You don’t need a password, it’s instant on with a cable modem.  It’s like when you plug the cable into a TV, it’s instant on.  Right then I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was more screwed than a hooker who worked for free.

I didn’t know what else to do.  For some reason I thought there was something wrong with my computer, so I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP again and it still wouldn’t connect.  I called our cable company and they transferred me over to Road Runner support and walked me through it.  He reset our connection from there, but had me unplug the power and then the coaxial cable from the box for 30 seconds and then it worked.  VICTORY!

Well, I was feeling victorious until Internet Explorer wouldn’t stay on for more than 2 seconds without crashing.  I was finally able to get it to stay on when I went into the start menu and clicked Windows Update.  Then my heart sank when Windows Update wouldn’t give me any updates.  I was able to download and install Google Chrome and the updated Linksys EasyLink Advisor to get our wi-fi back on.

I think I read somewhere that Microsoft isn’t giving any more updates to people who have Windows XP, so my only option is to find a way to get Windows 8 to install properly.  Now I am forced to upgrade which probably means a bigger hard drive.  If I am forced to upgrade, then I better get on that bigger hard drive as fast as possible, because that $40 upgrade deal expires in January 2013.

This sucks for me big time!  I hope Microsoft releases an upgrade adviser program for me to install to tell me what hardware will work by scanning my computer just like Windows 7 had.  If they had that, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this crap.  I will have to see what I can do and what I can afford to get this done.

Update: Good news, Windows Updates are downloading and installing, so I’m thankful for that.

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…

My memory is not as good as it used to be

Memory has been a huge issue with how slow my computer is because I only have 1GB of ram.  EverQuest play OK, but it’s not great.  Lord of the Rings Online is really bad because as I’m running through a zone or area, the screen will freeze up every ten seconds for up to a second or two which can be a bad thing, especially if something is chasing you.  It can be a matter of life and death, well, for your character anyway.

I recently discovered that EverQuest 2 is free, so I installed it and went into the game and it immediately froze up on me.  In order for me to get out of that I had to hit the reset button on the front of my tower to reboot the computer.  I figured it was slow because I had just installed it, but that wasn’t the case at all because I tried to run it again and it froze up again.  That told me that I definitely need more memory for my computer.

I have been doing research over the last few days to find the most inexpensive memory because I just don’t have a lot of money to spare right now.  My go-to website used to be TigerDirect, but when I discovered how quickly I got my orders from NewEgg, that became my go-to site, but they are too expensive for 4GB.  A friend told me to try the Fry’s Electronics website so I checked it out and they are way cheaper than NewEgg.  I did go to TigerDirect and they aren’t too expensive, but I don’t want to have to wait a whole week when Fry’s is in Los Angeles and I could get it as quickly as NewEgg.

My ideal brands are Kingston and PNY, but they don’t have any available that will ship out immediately.  Fry’s Electronics also had some other less expensive brands that I would have liked, but shipping was unavailable, so I chose the Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-6400 (800MHz).

My motherboard will accept PS2 memory up to 8GB.  I can’t afford to buy 8GB so I am buying 4GB for now and then I will buy another 4GB later when I can afford it again.  What I love especially about this memory I am buying is the heat sink.  The memory I have doesn’t have that.  This is the description of this memory, and it really fits for what I use my computer for too.

“Patriot Gamer Series (PGS), part of the Extreme Performance (EP) Enhanced Latency line is engineered to expand your gaming options. These modules are designed to operate at 800MHz at 5-5-5-12 timings and is available in 4GB kit capacity. Equipped with lightweight aluminum heat-dispersing shields, these modules are designed for maximum performance and stability under extreme overclocking conditions. Engineered with quality and Performance in mind, Patriot Extreme Performance line is the ultimate solution for extreme overclockers, gamers, and PC enthusiasts.”

I think that “Extreme overclockers, gamers, and PC enthusiasts” really fits me lol.

Another issue I have with memory is Hulu, YouTube and Facebook games.  I don’t really care too much about Facebook games, but it is fun to play them every so often, you know?  I can’t play them at all because they freeze up my computer.

I will  order this memory now and then see how it works out.  I really hope that it’s as fast as it says it is, and it if is fast, I may just forego buying the other 4GB, but can you imagine how much faster it will be with 8GB?  I actually would love to see how much faster it would be so let’s hope I can afford that next month.

I will let you know how fast my computer becomes when my new memory comes.  I can’t wait!

Update: I ordered it early this morning and it has already shipped.  WOW that was fast!  I don’t have a tracking number yet, but if they ship it from Los Angeles, I should get it by tomorrow, that is if the mail comes on the 4th of July.

Update 7/13/2012: I called Fry’s a couple of days ago asking them why the tracking isn’t working and where my package is since I bought this on the 3rd, but they told me there was a tracking number, it just wasn’t listed yet because it wasn’t working on the UPS website yet.  I told the woman who I spoke with that it’s supposed to come USPS, but she said they ship it out with UPS, then they hand it over to the post office to send it to me.  Well, I was finally able to check the shipping on the UPS website, and the tracking says it should be here on 7/16/2012, but we will see if that is true on Monday, I won’t hold my breath.

My reason for buying this through Fry’s instead of NewEgg or TigerDirect was that I thought they were shipping it from their LA store, but they are really shipping it from back east, which wasn’t what I had thought.  If I knew I would have to wait for 2 weeks for my memory, I would have gone with TigerDirect which only takes 1 week.  They had the same prices, NewEgg was more expensive.  So this is the first and last thing I will ever buy from Fry’s.  I wanted to buy the other 4GB from Fry’s with my next check, but I think I’ll just live with 4GB.

My Computer Finally Works

What a bad time I have had with my desktop lately.  I will give you a quick recap of my situation.

First my video card stopped working so I bought a new one but it wasn’t nvidia like I should have bought, it was Radeon.

It didn’t work right away and I should have returned it to get an nvidia but I was so thick headed that I said no screw that, I want Radeon.  It worked but only if I didn’t turn my computer off but then the PG&E turned it off to install a new pole.  When our power came back on I couldn’t turn the computer on at all.

I read message boards that told me that if nothing showed up on the screen then my problem is power supply and I looked in the Radeon website and found out that my new video card needed a specific power supply.  I had to wait a month to buy it when I had the money.

The power supply came and it still didn’t work so back to the boards for help I went.  I read that it was the motherboard so I had to wait to buy that.  Darrin loaned me the money this week and it came on Wednesday and my computer turned on but it wouldn’t load Windows from my hard drive.

I discovered that my hard drive is ATA-100 and the book says it will accept ATA-133 but someone told me that ATA-100 is backwards compatible so it should work but it didn’t.

So on Wednesday night I bought a new hard drive and it showed up at my house yesterday.  I installed it and ran the Windows CD and it copied the Windows setup files to the new drive and rebooted.  When it rebooted nothing happened and my heart sank.

When the Windows setup came on the screen with mouse support I was ear to ear smiles.  But I wasn’t going to celebrate just yet, not until I had the desktop up on the screen and was able to start installing drivers and programs.  That is why I haven’t blogged about it until now, I didn’t want to jinx myself lol.

So I FINALLY have my computer back after 2 months of waiting.  I am so beyond happy right now.

My Computer Still Doesn’t Work!

I am so beyond frustrated at this point.  It all started when…

*Enter the dream sequence*

In the middle of July, my video card stopped working so I had to wait until I got my August check to buy another one.  I bought the wrong one but since I had to wait a week for it to arrive from Tiger Direct, I decided I would just deal with it.  I didn’t want to have to wait another week for them to receive it so they would send me another one yet another week later.

It did work, sort of.  I couldn’t turn off my computer then the PG&E turned it off for me much to my dismay and it wouldn’t turn back on.

I read in the message boards that it won’t turn back on because I needed a new power supply so I had to wait until I got the money which was the beginning of October.  I bought that from NewEgg and still nothing.

I read in another message board that I needed a new motherboard so I waited for 2 weeks when finally I was loaned the money for a new motherboard which I also bought from NewEgg.

*Exit the dream sequence*

Fast forward to today and my new motherboard arrives and it turns on Hallelujah!

It won’t freaking read my hard drive.  NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

If I had just taken the god damn tower to the god damn computer store to begin with, I would have had it fixed by now instead of having to replace all of my god damn computer components.

I was so sick to my stomach today that I couldn’t eat.  Darrin made some chicken and I was so upset that the smell of it was making me dry heave.

Ok.  So this is what I’m going to do.  I’m going to call New Egg tomorrow and tell them what my problem is.  On one hand, I don’t want to have to return the motherboard, but on the other hand I don’t want to have to buy another hard drive either.

I will let them tell me if everything else is compatible.  If it is and it’s just the hard drive that isn’t compatible but I can still use it as an external drive then I will buy a new hard drive that is compatible in November.

I just wish I could have my computer working now, you know what I mean?  I’m so sick of waiting because I haven’t been able to use it in 2 months.  I can only take so much of having to use an internet only netbook with a tiny screen for so long.  It’s killing my eyes!

So, the sun’ll come out… tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow… I’ll call NewEgg…

You know what the difference between Tiger Direct and New Egg is right?  A FREAKING WEEK!  It takes a week to get anything from Tiger Direct but when I buy something before 4pm from New Egg, I get it the next day.  That’s so much better than anticipating for a whole week because at least if I have to return something, it won’t take more than a day to get to them because they are only 2 1/2 hours away from me.

So until tomorrow…

Oh, here is my new configuration if anyone out there wants to tell me what is compatible with what BEFORE I have to call NewEgg.

My new motherboard was the only thing they had that was compatible with my CPU, memory and video card.  I didn’t even think to check to see if it was compatible with my hard drive brand or DVD burner.  Although it reads the DVD drive since it was able to attempt to reinstall windows for me.

  • Motherboard is ASRock A785GM-LE
  • CPU is AMD Sempron 3400+ Socket AM2 1.80Ghz
  • Memory is Kingston 1GB PC2-4200 CL4 240-Pin DIMM…  that’s what it says on the case, I know it’s a DDR2.
  • The video card that started this shit is Radeon HD 4650
  • Hard drive is Maxtor 320GB EIDE HD 7200/16mb/ATA-100
  • DVD Burner is LiteON… I know it’s a Sata drive
  • Windows XP Home which is installed but the hard drive won’t boot.

By the way, I read today on another message board after futzing with it for 2 hours that I needed a fresh windows installation.  It said that it won’t read the hard drive unless I install a fresh installation of windows but I wasn’t willing to wipe my hard drive.

I did try to install windows over itself and it copied all of the installation files to the hard drive but when it rebooted to begin the installation, it wouldn’t read the hard drive so it would go back to trying to install windows from the cd again to either reformat or install windows the way I had already tried.  It just will not boot from the hard drive.

Oh and I tried to go into safe mode but I guess since it won’t read the hard drive windows installation there is no way it’s gonna go into safe mode.

I hope this is enough information and I hope to GOD that someone reads this and tells me what the hell to do.

Thanks for listening.

Update: I think I might have pinned down my issue.  My hard drive is an ATA-100 and I am looking in the manual for the new motherboard and it says that ATA-133 is compatible.  So… that means I need a new hard drive to work with the motherboard.  NewEgg has a 160GB ATA-133 hard drive for $25.  So… I will just buy that and put my other hard drive in a USB case to use as an external hard drive for storage.

Forced Days Off

I’ve been writing my autobiography which takes a long time, especially for someone who is still learning how to write.  I think I’m doing a pretty good job.

Yesterday I couldn’t get anything done because I got a phone call from a friend of mine in the mid west who likes to talk on the phone for a long time.  We were on the phone for over an hour.

I tried to go back to editing a chapter and I start hearing “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” because the city was resurfacing the street in front of my house.  So instead of working I decided that I would get on the instant messenger and see who was online.

I talked to someone for an hour then went to the store to buy some lunch.  Frozen pizza by the way.  It was good.

I didn’t get anything done yesterday.

This morning I get up and walk the dog and the city men are back.  They are working on the other side of 3rd street.  They sprayed the oil on the street so the resurfacing stuff, whatever the heck it’s called will stick to it so they can spread it out and smash it down.

“BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” is all I am hearing right now from my bedroom window.

I can hardly concentrate on writing or editing anything right now.  I can barely write this.

My new motherboard is coming today between 2-4pm via UPS so when that comes I will be able to transfer all of my chapters to my Open Office word processor so I can continue writing on that instead of my Chromebook.

Tomorrow is Chips day off which means another day off because there is no way I will be able to write with him home.  So… back to work on Friday lol.

My New Motherboard

I have been having the worst computer luck lately.  First my video card stops working so I bought a new one from Tiger Direct which took a week to get to me.

When I installed it, it didn’t work right away.  I turned it off then back on again and it still didn’t come on.  I had my hands in my face then I looked up and it came on.  It took a couple of minutes but it did come on.

I installed the software for the new video card and it needed to reboot and it rebooted fast enough so I thought, ok, it just needed time to read the new hardware.

I experimented with it to see what would happen if I shut it down all the way and I waited about 10 minutes.  I turned it back on and it didn’t want to come on.  It did finally come on a couple of minutes later but I figured, the only way that I am able to keep my computer working is if I NEVER EVER turn it off.

Then I get a notice from the PG&E telling me they are shutting our power off to put in a new pole…  CRAP!

My computer didn’t want to turn on again and I did some research and found out it was because my power supply wasn’t good enough for my new video card.  I had to wait a month to buy a new power supply because I didn’t have the money.  When I bought it on NewEgg, it arrived the next day and it still didn’t turn my computer on.

It did come on once but it told me to reset the bios which I did and it still didn’t want to work.  SHIT!

I did more research and found out that I needed a new motherboard.  I borrowed some money last night because I just want my stupid computer to work again.  I bought it from NewEgg because I get it the next day unlike Tiger Direct which takes a week to get to me.

ASRock A785GM-LE AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

I am not familiar with this brand but it was the only one that was compatible with my memory and CPU.  It also has an onboard Radeon video card so I know it will be compatible with my Radeon video card that I bought from Tiger Direct.  I read a review that said that the onboard video is crap for playing games so you will need another video card which I just so happen to have.

This should work and get me back up and running.  I already got my shipping confirmation so it should be here tomorrow afternoon around 4pm which is when we get our UPS packages.

I think the reason that Radeon video card didn’t work with my motherboard was probably because it wasn’t compatible with the motherboard.  My other video card was nvidia so I don’t know what possessed me to buy Radeon.

I will update this as soon as I get my new motherboard installed to say whether it worked or not.  I’m pretty sure it should but I will update this whether it works or not.