• Tag Archives Windows 95
  • Panzer General II (Windows 95)

    ‘Panzer General II’

    [PC] [USA] [MAGAZINE, SPREAD] [1997]

    • Computer Gaming World, December 1997 (#161)
    • via CGW Museum


    SSI was one of my favorite producers of computer games from the early 1980s through the late 1990s. They were well known for their detailed turn-based strategy games and role-playing games including the AD&D Gold Box series among others. Panzer General II was released in 1997 and was one of their later and best rated strategy games.

    Panzer General II covers a time period from the Spanish Civil War in 1938 through hypothetical battles in 1946. Like many strategy games of this type, the player controls various units on a hex map in turn based play. It is meant to be a realistic game with a variety of real-life historical scenarios. However, the player can also play various hypothetical scenarios if they perform well. While most games of this era were still DOS based, Panzer General II was a Windows 95 game. Unofficial patches exist and it has since been released by GOG in a form that works on more modern versions of Windows.

    Various General series games (including Panzer General II) can be downloaded here: http://panzergeneraldownload.com/

  • boot (November 1996)

    November 1996 brought a feature heralding the brave new world that DVD was going to usher in…although it was a very long time before many software titles would be released on the format. As for video, the systems of the era were not powerful enough to decode and display DVD-Video, so in addition to the expensive DVD-ROM drive you’d need a hardware MPEG decoder board as well.

    Other headlines include a story about dualbooting Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, a review of Photoshop 4.0, early digital cameras from Kodak and Olympus and the first 3Dfx graphics accelerators.


    The cover of the November, 1996 issue of boot promises lots of goodies.

    First, the cover story is about DVD. In an era when hard drives were measured in the single digit gigabytes, the promise of cheap 4.7GB of removable optical storage was enticing. Even if you couldn’t yet write to it. Computers were still slow enough at this point that you could not even watch a DVD movie without an add-on mpeg decoder board to go with your DVD-ROM drive and it would still be a long while before much software was distributed on DVD.

    Next up is an article on dual booting Windows 95 and Windows NT. It would be hard to overstate how much of an improvement was from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 but it still didn’t have the stability of NT. If you planned to use your machine as a server or do serious database work or certain other tasks then Windows NT was desirable. For most people Windows 95 was good enough but we are talking about power users here.

    Next up is a review of the Pentium Pro 180. The Pentium Pro was originally meant to be the successor to the Pentium line. However, it was expensive and didn’t offer that much of a performance improvement, at least relative to the cost difference. Later on the Pentium II, which was basically a slightly modified Pentium Pro, would be released that was cheaper and clocked higher. The Pentium Pro (and P2) were not much faster, clock for clock, with 16-bit code which was still most common at the time. For 32-bit code it was much better.

    Also included was a review of the first MMX game and also, if you look down in the bottom left corner, you can see that they review the first 3D cards from a new company called 3dfx which would soon dominate the 3D card market (but not for long).

  • Sound Blaster AWE32 PnP

    It’s hard to overstate Creative’s dominance of PC sound in the 1990s, as the company’s Sound Blaster was the de facto standard for many, many years. Much like how IBM so dominated the market that for years PCs were sold as “IBM Compatibles,” any sound card that wasn’t made by Creative had to state “Sound Blaster compatibility” if they wanted to sell.


    Creative’s Sound Blaster line was the de-facto standard for sound in PCs throughout the 1990s. Back before sound was commonly included on motherboards, you had to buy a sound card that would go in your computer’s ISA (or later PCI) slot if you wanted any sound beyond basic beeps. There were other sound cards out there but if you wanted guaranteed compatibility with your games then you wanted a Sound Blaster.

    This particular ad is for the Sound Blaster AWE32 PnP which was the latest and greatest when this ad came out in 1996. The PnP stood for ‘Plug and Play’ which theoretically meant that you could install it without any jumper configuration and it would work in Windows 95. Virtually all games were still DOS based at this point so setting a non-conflicting jumper configuration and modifying your system files appropriately would have still been necessary.

    The AWE32 refers to the fact that it uses wave table synthesis, uses real sampled sounds and can play 32 independent sounds at once. It even had expandable memory so that you could store your own samples.

    This card used an ISA slot which is what was most common in the pre Pentium days (before PCI). In 1996, new computers included PCI slots but also included ISA slots. The minimum system requirements for using this card was only a 386 so there would have been no incentive to make a PCI version at this point. Older computers couldn’t use a PCI card and newer ones could use ISA.