Help! Page

You've probably arrived at this page for one of two reasons (actually, I can think of a third reason, but we won't be going anywhere near that one today). So... either you are stuck on a puzzle that you just can't get past, or you are having technical difficulties trying to get a game to run. Well fear not then, because you've come to the right place... unless it was for that third reason. Anyway, there's plenty of the 'stuck' kind of help just below, and the technical help is further on down the page.

The "I'm stuck on this puzzle" kind of help
The last thing you want to do is spoil a game for yourself unnecessarily by getting help too early. For most puzzles, you just need a gentle push in the right direction, or perhaps a checklist of things to run through. In that case, your first port of call should be an excellent article by Bonnie Collins: Try This ... (seasoned adventurers can skip the beginning bits. There are some good tips for all gamers starting at the section entitled: The inventory).

The Universal Hint System (UHS)
...OK, so you've tried all that and you're still at ends. You need at least a broad hint. Well, most games have a UHS guide written for them. These give you progressively suggestive hints about a particular puzzle, the last hint in the list being the actual solution. You can search for a UHS guide with your favourite search engine, by entering something like 'riven uhs'. Or, you can pay a visit to the main site: Universal Hint System

Sometimes you've had enough of banging your head against a wall and just want the solution to a particular puzzle so that you can get on with the game, and your life (you know how involving these puzzles can get). In that case, you probably need a walkthrough. has an in-house selection available here: Walkthroughs

The technical kind of help
Since the beginning of time (as computer game players know it) we've faced sanity-testing problems trying to get games to work on our PCs. First there was DOS and its various incarnations and now there's Windows which is morphing into enough guises to tax anyone's sanity. Windows 8 and 10 are but the latest contenders striving to push us over the edge. It used to be a challenge simply to get a game to run in DOS let alone getting a DOS game to run in Win 95/98. Now players are finding that some games that played just fine in Win 98 won't work in more modern versions of Windows like XP/Vista/7/8/10.

In the meantime, please remember to look carefully at the System Requirements that appear at the bottom of our reviews and on the game box when you are considering buying a game. Although a perfect match between your computer and the recommended requirements won't guarantee an absolutely pain-free journey it should make for an easier ride. But even if your system specs match or exceed game recommendations it's a good bet that you'll still have to do some tweaking. You may also need to download and install patches and drivers, etc. This is easy to say, but a potential nightmare if you have never done it before.

Help is at hand for all sorts of game and system problems but finding it on the Internet can be a daunting task. What we have tried to do here on our Help! page is gather together some links to useful information from a range of sites. Hopefully, the solution to your problem may be just a mouse click away.

Some additional resources to ease the pain:

Bring out your dead! Getting old games to run in Windows XP
Steve's XP Games Corner - more detailed help in getting individual games to run in modern versions of Windows

Other useful links:

Mr Bill's 'How To ...' Pages Here you can find useful and practical assistance eg How to Download, Store & Use Things from the Internet (Like Saved Games, Patches, or MP3s). Getting games to run in Win95/98 and much more. Easy to follow tutorials including screenshots. Great for beginners!
GameBoomers DOS FAQ Practical and helpful information on getting DOS games to work. Includes tips on editing Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, VESA drivers, DOS memory, mouse and sound card issues.
Game Boomers Games FAQ More helpful info on getting games to run better. Looks at DirectX and QuickTime, Device Drivers, Patches and Saved Games.
Oldskool The Oldskool PC Guide to Getting Old Software Running on Newer PCs written by Jim Leonard. Includes discussion on slowing down your PC, hardware tweaking, sound and video issues and more.
ScummVM Free utility to download that will run older games in Windows including Simon the Sorcerer, Beneath a Steel Sky and LucasArts titles using the Scumm system (Zak, DOTT, Monkey Island, Fate of Atlantis etc).
Atari Support Lots of detailed help in getting games to run. Good sections on DOS, Win 95/98/ME General Troubleshooting, DirectX, Patches, Drivers, Display and Sound issues.
DreamCatcher DreamCatcher/The Adventure Company has a list of the games they publish showing Win XP compatibility as well as some general XP troubleshooting tips.
Brass Lantern Beginner Resources: Finding Your Way Around IFArchive,
Downloading and Running Text Adventures, A Beginner's Guide to Graphic Adventure Games, Macintosh Text Adventure Interpreters, Linux Text Adventure Interpreters, Reading Usenet News
Microsoft Microsoft page dealing specifically with Win XP compatibility issues.
NT Compatible Crammed with information on Windows NT, also includes help with Win 2000 and XP. Has comprehensive list of games showing Win NT compatibility and has started listing games for XP and 2000 compatibility. FAQ and help forums, latest driver news and much more.
Inferno's Adventures A dedicated adventurer's site listing the games that she has got working in XP, plus some useful tips if you are having troubles.
VOGONS Very Old Games On New Systems
Extensive forum where you can search for tips and tricks to get old games going again.
DOSBox DOSBox is a really useful DOS emulator for getting old DOS games to run in Win XP. Steve used it to get Under A Killing Moon to run. Other help for using this emulator can be found: in our very own DOSBox FAQ, at the DOSBox project site, and on the VOGONS DOSBox General forum.
Other tips For a new game always visit the Publisher's or the Developer's Web site if they have one. There might be a patch available, or a troubleshooting FAQ or a game-specific forum where your question has already been answered. If not you can post your own request for help.