Seven years is not a very long time, really.

Seven years ago a variety of things happened, one of which was the release of a game called “Constructor” for the PC. It was a good – though very hard – build-em-up game, with a host of evil things you could do to the other players, like send hippies in to squat in their empty houses, gangsters to rough up their foremen, ghosts, evil clowns, yobs. It was a nice game.

Well, not a nice game, but a fun game.

I own it. Though various reasons, I in fact own it twice. Once in it’s original CD edition, once in a budget DVD-box edition which I bought a couple of years back. So today I tried to install Constructor.

It took three hours, and still didn’t work right.

The installer for Constructor doesn’t like XP. It says, in fact, that Constructor requires Windows 95 or better. Whether WinXP is better than Win95 is left as an exercise for the reader, but for my purposes it was unhelpful. So, since I’m still on my 30 day trial of VMWare, I set up a Windows 98 virtual machine and installed it on that. So fine, so hoopy.

It didn’t run, though, because VMWare and DirectX don’t play nice, so I copied the install, and all registry settings, from the VM back to the main machine.

No dice.

Discovered the “Run as Windows 95” compatibility option.

Lack of d6.

It was a memory error of some kind. I gave up. Fortunately, Constructor is old enough to be a dual-OS DOS/Win95 game, and so I installed the DOS version under a command line. It installed. It detected my sound-card. It detected everything. It launched…

… No cuboids of any kind.

It refused to run without the CD – that it had just installed from – in the drive. Grr.

Eventually, I got it working under dosbox a Dos emulator designed for Linux and ported to Windows. Because it was emulating DOS, the game – seven years old, remember – barely ran on my 1.6Ghz machine. In fact, dosbox had the same problem as DOS did, in that it didn’t like the CD drive. So I had to find – and download – an abandonware version of Constructor (which – obviously – is hacked to make you able to run it without the CD) and use that.

I’ll repeat that. I’ve just downloaded a pirate version of a game I own because it’s lasted better than the original.