PC Booter

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The IBM 5150 was a boot loader.

PC Booter or Boot Loader is a general term for software that runs on early IBM PCs first released in 1981 and those compatible computers. These computers require you to boot directly into the program rather than first booting into the operating system. This practice was employed in order to have access to precious computer resources that would otherwise be used by the OS. Many games produced for IBM platforms in the early 1980s were PC booters. Although many platforms that are not related to IBM also support booting from a disk (e.g., Apple II, Commodore 64, etc.), this was the expected behavior for those platforms, so a special term is not needed to distinguish software on those platforms.

My family's first computer ran MS-DOS 5 and Windows 3, so I never owned a PC where boot loading was commonplace, but I have used computers that do, and all the pre-Windows NT PCs that I used continued to support boot loading for memory intensive games.

Games

See all PC Booter Games.

The early IBM PC was a terrible platform for gaming. In its original 1981 form, the PC came only with a Monochrome Display Adapter for display (black and white, text-only) and a PC speaker (single channel square wave). You couldn't get color graphics until 1983 with a Color Graphics Adapter (4 colors at a time) and later in 1984 with the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (16 colors at a time). Because of these limitations, few games were developed for PC booters, and, of those that were, few were any good. Most of the good games of the early 1980s were released on the Commodore 64 or Apple II in the USA. IBM didn't become a competent video game platform until 1987 with the released of the Video Graphics Array (256 colors at a time) and the AdLib sound card, but, by that time, games were being developed for MS-DOS rather than specifically for the PC.

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