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I'm wondering if classic games (released earlier than say 2000) on Steam are somehow optimized to run on modern OS's and/or hardware?

I own one such game, but it always takes some time to set it up and run (installing latest patches, tuning compatibility, etc) even on a new Windows OS. Even with some latest patches it does have some minor graphics artifacts.

This game is currently on sale on Steam, and I think maybe it's worth it to pay a little to remove all these annoyances? Does Steam somehow guarantee that this game will run on all modern OS's (I'm using Windows 8 Pro x64 now), have all latest patches installed and maybe even have some tweaks or unreleased patches to run it better?

Or still having original CD + patches + etc. will eventually give me same result?

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I don't think there's one answer to that. It boils down to the publishers themselves, I'm afraid. While some games "just work" on newer OSs, some older games, for example, the Space Quest collection has trouble running on Vista/7. I would say that if a game doesn't state your OS specifically, you should probably check for known compatibility issues before buying it. –  JohnoBoy Feb 20 '13 at 10:01
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I do know www.gog.com specifically mentions a game's compatibility with newer OSs, if you're unsure whether the Steam version is compatible or not, I'd go with them –  JohnoBoy Feb 20 '13 at 10:06
    
@JohnoBoy why, I think that's actually an answer which is a "No". You should post it as an answer. I know GOG was made with that idea in mind and it always works near perfectly. I was considering Steam because of much lower price for a game, GOG is still charging too much just for a compatibility troubles (comparing to steam price). –  Petr Abdulin Feb 20 '13 at 10:08
    
No. I have at least three games in my Steam collection that work very poorly indeed, and two more that flat out fail to work at all -- although the latter may have more to do with my dual-monitor setup than OS modernity. –  Shadur Feb 20 '13 at 10:23
    
I've posted my two comments, slightly modified, as an answer –  JohnoBoy Feb 20 '13 at 10:49

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Not all games available on Steam work with newer PCs.

While some old games "just work" on newer OSs, many other games have compatibility issues which make them buggy or unplayable when you don't have the "required" OS. For example, the Space Quest collection has trouble running on Vista/7.

I would say that if a game doesn't state your OS specifically, you should probably check for known compatibility issues before buying it, especially since you mention you're using Win 8.

An alternative would be Good Old Games, which specifically mention a game's compatibility with newer OSs, if you're unsure whether the Steam version is compatible or not, I'd go with them.

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Thanks! I'll probably mark it as an answer eventually, but I would like to wait some more time for a maybe more official reference on Steam position on game compatibility. Also if you can comment on a second part of my question (I've modified question text) that would be great. –  Petr Abdulin Feb 20 '13 at 10:55
    
I think your other questions qualifies as a question by itself, we generally try to avoid posting more than one question in one post –  JohnoBoy Feb 20 '13 at 11:04
    
You are right, I'll make a separate question for that. –  Petr Abdulin Feb 20 '13 at 11:11
    
It is usually just the DosBox games that are having trouble, but even gog.com embeds dosbox in there games. So it will be about the same. –  Lyrion Feb 20 '13 at 13:08
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@Lyrion however GOG makes sure that emulated games are run properly within an emulator. I guess the main difference is that GOG is the party responsible for proper game functioning while in case of Steam it's a publisher. –  Petr Abdulin Feb 20 '13 at 14:47

Set the game to run in a compatibility layer for XP or even 98 depending on how old the game is. This will not guarantee success but you may have more luck on newer OS's.

You'll have to go into the games local folder by right clicking on it in Steam, clicking properties, and then browsing local game content. Find the .exe within the folder for whatever game you want and right click -> properties -> compatibility -> XP or 98.

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