Going Retro: Bridge for DOS
By Alex J. Coyne © 2017 Great Bridge Links
Remember when you were a couple years (or decades) younger and things just seemed easier? Well, this is as close as you’re going to get to a time-machine: Fire up your old DOS PC or download an emulator like DOSBox (with detailed usage instructions on its website)and let’s play some retro bridge games.
A bit about DOS
DOS was first introduced in 1981, and if you’ve ever wondered, it stands for Disk Operating System. (Before that, they named it QDOS: Quick and Dirty Operating System; good thing they changed it!) An emulator (like DOSBox) fools the system into thinking that you’re running the software on an older PC, avoiding compatibility issues like crashing or speeded-up graphics – in 1986, they didn’t see quad-core systems coming just yet…
Bridge Pal (1989)
Bridge Pal is one of the more obscure bridge titles to ever come to PC screens, though you can still find some mentions about it in back issues of PC Mag in 1988 and a version available for free download if you’d like to play it yourself.
Grand Slam Bridge (1986)
Grand Slam Bridge was released by Electronic Arts Inc in 1986 (though some sources state a year later), and some considered it – at least at the time – one of the coolest card games you could find. They followed it up with Grand Slam Bridge II in 1992. See a gameplay video here.
Bridge Baron (1989)
The first version of Bridge Baron was released in 1989, and it seems to hold true as a classic: After all, you can still play modern versions of Bridge Baron here on PC, Android and Apple, and it’s still just as cool!.
Bridge Master (1992)
Bridge Master was designed with improving your game in mind and was back-then highly recommended by professional bridge players and teachers like Audrey Grant. You can find more information about Bridge Master (and subsequent releases like Bridge Master 2000) at Bridge Base Inc.
MVP Bridge (1996)
MVP Bridge was awarded the top award by Computer Gaming World two years in a row, and according to Bridge Guys the software has thirteen conventions and a tutorial mode for showing newcomers the ropes.
Omar Sharif on Bridge (1992)
Many non-players are already familiar with the name Omar Sharif: He did, after all, play such great roles in Lawrence of Arabia; those who play cards should also know him for being a fantastic bridge player. The classic game bearing his name was released in 1992. Check out a video of the original gameplay on YouTube or play the modernized version from the iStore.
Bridge Olympiad (1994)
Bridge Olympiad was published back in ‘94 – the same year that saw the release of classic titles like Earthworm Jim, The Need for Speed and Doom II. Gameplay is based around the National Bridge Club; you can join in a twelve-player tournament. Check out a video of the gameplay over here.
Contract Bridge for DOS (1996)
Contract Bridge for DOS is as simple and straightforward as the name implies: No fancy tricks, just gameplay. It’s worth a download if you want to get straight into the game. Some screenshots from the game are available here; don’t expect too much from the graphics here!