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Bo Pezanski

Trust us, you don't need to be Bo to get these games running.

Due to their age and unknown legal status, finding and playing Purple Moon's games nowadays can be a little tricky. This page was created to help those who want to acquire and play the games on modern hardware.

Acquiring the Games Edit

At the time of this writing, the entirety of Purple Moon's library of games can be considered abandonware.  The actual copyright holder of the property is unknown.  While the company and its assets were sold to Mattel in 1999, they have not done anything with the series since 2000.  It is not acknowledged on Mattel's website and the games are out-of-print and not available for purchase on their various storefronts.  There is also a chance that they may have quietly sold the rights off to another person or company.  With all that being said, there are two ways to acquire the games.

  1. Buying used copies.  There are several sellers on both Amazon and Ebay who offer physical copies of the games at cheap prices.
  2. Downloading themAll of the games except Starfire are available as ISO files on the Internet Archive.  (These can be either burned onto a physical CD or mounted on newer Windows operating systems.  Google if you want to know more on how to do either.)  Note that having abandonware up for download like this is a legal grey area.  If the current copyright holder ever comes forward and enforces it, this may not be an option in the future.

Torrents and direct downloads in other places may also be available.

Installing and Running the Games Edit

Disclaimer: The editors of this article are not responsible for any damages made to your computer by following the steps listed below.

Due to their age, Purple Moon games will not install and run on modern computers without some technical workarounds.  There are no patches available that can fix this.  Some knowledge of your computer's backwards compatibility features or a virtual machine are necessary.

Backwards Compatibility Features for Windows Edit

Newer versions of Windows have compatibility options that can be set to allow some older programs to run on the newer system.  These can be accessed by right-clicking on the executable (.exe files), selecting "Properties", then selecting the "Compatibility" tab.  Using these options may be necessary to install and run the games on some newer machines.  The ones you will want to change are:

  • Compatibility Mode:  Windows 98 or Windows XP will usually work.
  • Reduced Color Mode:  Some of the games will only run in 256 color mode.  Others don't need it.  If the colors look weird in-game, try changing this.
  • 640x480 Screen Resolution:  Most of the games don't need this, but will display in a small box on your screen without it.

If you need to use these options to install a game, the file for the installer can be found on the disc and is usually named some variation of "SETUP.exe".  The installers will not autorun and may display a message stating that they cannot be run for whatever reason.  Feel free to exit out of this message and try messing with the compatibility options.

16-bit, 32-bit, and You Edit

Like a lot of programs from that era, Purple Moon's games appear to use installation programs with 16-bit loader stubs. While this was a convenient option that allowed for multiple binaries to be packaged with a game back in the day, many newer systems will not run 16-bit programs. This means that while the game itself may run just fine on a 32-bit or 32-bit compatible system, you would need to find a way to get the game's files onto your system without the installer to play it. (For reference, most modern processors are 64-bit, but can usually run 32-bit programs without problems due to some backwards compatibility.) This can be as easy as copy/pasting the files on the disk to a folder on your hard drive or as hard as reverse-engineering the installer itself (if the program is a custom made one). Thankfully, Purple Moon chose an older version of InstallShield as their installer of choice. So the latter option is not necessary.

For more information, see this thread on the ReactOS forums regarding various installer programs and how to get around them. This article will be updated with solutions specific to Purple Moon's programs as they are discovered.

Installing QuickTime and DirectX Edit

All of the installers will ask to install either QuickTime (usually used to play movies) or DirectX (used in some mini-games).  Unless you are using a virtual machine or a really old computer running Windows 95 or 98, there is a very good chance that you have much, MUCH newer versions of these programs installed already.  Skipping this step and using newer versions of both programs is recommended unless you run into problems.

Registering Your Game Edit

Ignore the prompts to register your game during installation or when starting them.  Purple Moon's site no longer exists. You wouldn't be able to register even if you wanted to.

Operating System Compatibility Edit

Windows 98 Edit

While a few of the games are meant to run in Windows 95, they all appear to be capable of running with few or no issues on a machine or virtual machine running Windows 98, provided it meets the minimum system requirements for each game.

Windows XP Edit

XP's compatibility features appear to be sufficient enough to install and run every game with the possible exception of Camp Adventures, which may crash during mini-game segments. This may just be an issue with DirectX and not the game itself.

Windows 8 Edit

Adventure Maker, Secret Paths to the Sea, Camp Adventures can be installed and ran without workarounds. Though setting them to run in 640x480 mode is recommended.

The QuickTime installer for Starfire Soccer Challenge will not initiate. The rest of the program will install fine, but may be unplayable due to this issue.

All of the other games will not install due to having 16-bit loader stubs. Use a workaround mentioned in the link above or a virtual machine to play these.

Windows 10 Edit

Mac OSs Edit

All of the games are compatible with older Macintosh systems.

Virtual Machines Edit

A virtual machine or "VM" is an emulator that allows a user to run a separate operating system on top of their main one. (It's like you're running a separate computer on top of your main one!) While they are normally used for various business purposes, they can also be used to run old computer games. They are a good alternative if you don't feel comfortable messing with things on your main computer, you just don't want to go through the effort of getting your compatibility settings correct, or you just can't get the dang things working.

Oracle VirtualBox and VMWare Workstation Player are two free VM programs that are capable of running Windows 98, which will run every game in the series with little issue. Workstation Player is the more user-friendly of the two and provides a wizard with default options when setting up new VMs. While it will run them, VirtualBox was not designed with older OSs in mind and requires more setup. Though some people swear by it over Workstation Player.

To use these programs, you will need an installation disc for Windows 98. This can be found around the Internet, as it is no longer supported by Microsoft. But for copyright concerns, we will not be providing a link to one.

A Word on DOSBox Edit

DOSBox is a popular, well-supported emulator that is often used to run old computer games created for MS-DOS on newer systems. Unfortunately, Purple Moon's games are not DOS games and most likely will not run in it. While it is possible to install and run Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on DOSBox, it was not intended for that purpose and compatibility for them is limited. (This is especially so for Windows 98 at the time of this writing.) You are welcome to try it, but don't consider this a viable option.

System Requirements Edit

For reference, here are the minimum system requirements for each game.

New School Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486/66 MHz or faster processor
  • Windows 95 or Windows 3.1
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640x480, 256 colors or better)

Macintosh:

  • 68040/33 MHz or faster processor
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space

Tricky Decision Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486DX/66 MHz
  • Windows 95 or Windows 3.1
  • 8 MB RAM or more (16 MB for Windows 95)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640x480, 256 colors)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • 68040/33 MHz
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers and mouse

Secret Invitation Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486DX/66 MHz
  • Windows 95 or 98
  • 16 MB RAM or more
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640x480, 256 colors)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones

Macintosh:

  • 68040/33 MHz
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers and mouse

First Dance Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486DX/66 MHz
  • Windows 95 or 98
  • 16 MB RAM or more
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640x480, 256 colors)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • 68040/33 MHz
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers and mouse

Adventure Maker Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486DX/66 MHz or faster processor
  • Windows 95 or 98
  • 16 MB RAM or more
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640 x 480 recommended, 256 colors or better)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • Power Macintosh
  • System 7.1.2 or later
  • 16 MB RAM or more (12 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Camp Adventures Edit

Windows:

  • Pentium(R) 133 MHz PC or faster
  • Windows(R) 95 or Windows(R) 98
  • Quad Speed (4x) CD-ROM drive
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 50 MB Hard drive space available
  • Color graphics adapter capable of 640x480 resolution at 16-bit, with 2 MB VRAM
  • MPC compatible sound card
  • Mouse and keyboard
  • Printer optional

Macintosh:

  • PowerPC(TM) processor (including G3), 133 MHz or faster
  • OS 8.0 or higher
  • Quad speed (4x) CD-ROM drive
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 50 MB Hard drive space available
  • 16-bit color display, capability at 640x480 resolution
  • Mouse and keyboard
  • Printer optional

Secret Paths in the Forest Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486/66 MHz or faster processor
  • Windows 95
  • 8 MB RAM or more (16 MB recommended)
  • Hard disk with 10 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640 x 480, 256 colors or better)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • 68040/33 MHz or faster processor
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 8 MB RAM or more (5 MB available)
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers and mouse

Secret Paths to the Sea Edit

Windows:

  • IBM-PC or compatible with 486DX/66 MHz or faster processor
  • Windows 95 or 98
  • 16 MB RAM or more
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640 x 480 recommended, 256 colors or better)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • Macintosh 68040/33 MHz or faster processor
  • System 7.1 or later
  • 12 MB RAM or more (8 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 15 MB or more of free disk space
  • Double-speed (2x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Secret Paths to Your Dreams Edit

Windows:

  • Pentium(R) 133 MHz PC or faster
  • Windows(R)95 or Windows(R)98
  • Quad Speed (4x) CD-ROM drive
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 50 MB Hard drive space available (50 MB additional space for saving images)
  • 16-bit color display capability at 800x600 resolution, with 2 MB VRAM
  • MPC compatible sound card
  • Mouse and keyboard
  • Printer optional

Macintosh:

  • Power PC processor (including G3) 133 MHz or faster
  • OS 8.0 or higher
  • 4x CD-ROM drive
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 50 MB hard drive space available (50 MB additional for saving images)
  • 16-bit color display capable of 800x600 resolution
  • mouse and keyboard
  • printer optional.

Starfire Soccer Challenge Edit

Windows:

  • IBM(r)-PC or compatible Pentium 60 MHz or better
  • Windows(r) 95 or 98
  • 16 MB RAM or more
  • Hard disk with 20 MB or more of free disk space
  • Quad-speed (4x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • SVGA monitor and graphics card (640x480, 256 colors or better)
  • 16-bit Windows-compatible sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Mouse

Macintosh:

  • Macintosh Power PC(r) or better
  • System 7.1.2 or later
  • 16 MB RAM or more (12 MB available)
  • Hard disk with 20 MB or more of free disk space
  • Quad-speed (4x) or faster CD-ROM drive
  • 256-color monitor
  • Speakers and mouse