NOTICE: The following information is now dated. Now that DOSBox can now handle most of Sierra's DOS games, these solutions are no longer necessary. This error is timer related. It only occurs on computers faster than those of when the games were originally released. By playing your game in DOSBox, you can avoid this and other timer problems.
Back when computers came with a "Turbo" switch (a sort of speed switch,) Sierra's workaround was to turn off the Turbo switch to start the game, after which you could turn the Turbo back on. If you have your cycles in DOSBox set too high, you may still encounter this problem. You can mimic the turbo switch solution by lowering your cycles (Ctl+F11) before starting your game. You may raise the cycles back up after the game starts (Ctl+F12).
condensed from a thread started by "Nicht Sehr Gut" on the VOGONS boards
Newer, faster machines do not longer correctly load the DOS drivers from a number of older SCI games. With some Sierra VGA DOS games you will get the message:
Unable to initialize your audio hardware
There's no single fix for all Sierra games. When it comes to the later Sierra titles try the Windows version first instead of patching the DOS version. You can try patching the old audio driver (with GOSiERRA or SBSIERRA) or use an updated driver listed below. If all else fails, you can play without audio by opening the "RESOURCE.CFG" file with Notepad and edit the "audioDrv =" value to NO and the game will run without audio.
Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist
Use the latest Sierra AUDBLAST.DRV (sb16drv.exe)
Police Quest 3
Use the latest MTBLAST.DRV from Sierra (486sbdrv.exe)
Space Quest 1 SCI
Use the latest Sierra MTBLAST.DRV (486sbdrv.exe)
NOTE: Using these updated drivers with some games may cause the digital sound to loop indefinitely. See here for solutions for this problem.
You might also want to try one of the new 3rd party SCI interpreters such as FreeSCI. If your game titles are supported by the newer interpreters, those are the best solutions (setting them up may be kind of involved, though).
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