Any real experience running heavy games like AOE3, NFS Underground 2/MW, SimCity 4, City Life, etc. I don't expect run Crysis on a virtual machine but some old games. Is it possible run these kind of games smoothly and detailed on a virtual machine?

What VM software is recommended? Any hardware specification to achieve this goal?

My host is Windows 7.

1 Answer 1


So I don't know enough about virtual machines to make a good recommendation (you should go to Superuser.com for that), but I did have some success with using VirtualBox.

I've run a large number of games on Virtual Machines, dating back to running Warcraft 2 on OS7 (which I don't recommend btw). Over time I've learned two important rules:

  • Don't play anything with timing is a factor (stick to turn based)
  • Have something else to do (you may be waiting a while between turns)

While you can run games of that nature they're going to perform at a much slower rate. For some games you can pull this off (eg. Civilization). For others its just going to be painful (ie. in college I had a bad experience with WoW on VM). The factors which largely affect this are:

  • AI time (AI burns a ton of CPU so if its slow already...)
  • Graphics time (I don't mean GPU, I mean more like physics engines and water simulators)
  • Number of Moving Parts (more = worse)
  • Latency (if you're playing over internet most games continue even when you slow down)

Try to keep these in mind. While it is feasible, it can often be painful. You might also want to examine why you're using a VM, especially when most of those games already run on Win7...

  • Superuser.com closed my question without explanation. I will wait for more answers, but yours is very useful to me.
    – Maniero
    Commented Oct 31, 2010 at 6:54
  • 8
    @bigown their eyes probably glazed over after they saw the word game... Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 15:16
  • I second VirtualBox. About last year sometime, don't remember exactly when, VBox introduced experimental 3D acceleration. That would definitely be nice to have. I haven't tried it (read: thoroughly tested) myself, but I use Windows XP VM at home to play Mir 2 when my friends badger me into it.
    – Aeo
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 16:20
  • 1
    I disagree, especially in terms of processing power rather than GPU. Most relatively high-end PCs will be able to pull off (relatively) new games using 3D acceleration and stuff like VT-x. I've seen someone run TF2 in a Virtualbox instance of Windows on Mac OS X (before SteamPlay). Mind you that most servers (which require CPU much more than GPU) often run in virtualized environments.
    – user56
    Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 22:41
  • On Linux host and Windows XP guest on VirtualBox 3.2, I still couldn't run Game Maker games inside the virtual machine. So, I'm not sure if VirtualBox is ready for games yet. (On the other hand, Wine, with some tricks, could run Game Maker — but I digress, as Wine Is Not an Emulator, and definitely not a virtual machine) Commented Nov 29, 2010 at 13:10

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