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#1 Edited by crankystorming (15 posts) -

I'm looking at our wiki article for 'PC'. It talks a lot about the history of computing in general, but says comparatively little about the actual IBM PC platform and only fleetingly mentions MS-DOS. There are whole sections dedicated to developments on other computers, some of which we already cover in their own sections.

Perhaps some changes could be made such as:

  • Removing most of the History section prior to the 1980s since this doesn't really relate to the platform
  • Add a section explanation of how the licensing agreement for MS-DOS lead to PC clones taking over most of the computer market.
  • In 'Operating Systems', replace the section on Mac OS with a section on MS-DOS

Any other suggestions welcome.

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#2 Edited by bhtav (157 posts) -

I agree that it's a right mess for several reasons. I'm not going to tackle this one, as it's not my main wheelhouse, but here are some observations for someone who might be more daring:

At the time of the computer revolution, the term 'PC' was not being used the way it is used today. A variety of platforms referred to in the article, including the Commodore 64, Apple II, etc... were known as "Home Computers" collectively, and what we think of as a PC today, was called referred to as an IBM Compatible, or even generically as an IBM.

Just as Commodore 64, Apple II, and Atari computers have a platform page, I believe that the IBM 808x and derivatives thereof (Tandy, etc...) should be a distinct platform page. If you look at an old computer game box, it does not say "PC" it says "IBM Compatible". This would be the proper platform of what eventually became known as the 'PC'.

The article as it stands is an article for the entirety of home computers; it is a superset, and does a disservice to the IBM Compatibles of yore / PCs of today. It is a chaotic disorganized mess, serving basically as a history of computing, rather than a proper article covering PC as a platform.

This is, in part, due to the PC's distinction between platform and operating system. While all (well, most) other consoles and computers have a specific operating system (e.g. Amiga runs Amiga OS), IBM Compatible PCs have had a variety of competing operating systems, almost from the beginning. Is it fair to call an OS2/Warp game a PC game? What about a Linux game?

This is why I prefer calling a game a "Windows 3.1 game" 'rather than a PC game. It implies a pc, but contains much more useful information...

Following that logic, should operating systems get platform pages, seeing as though a DOS game and a Linux game are as much ports as, say, a SNES and Genesis title, even though they run on the same hardware? I'm not sure. It should at least be in an infobox...

TL;DR: IBM Compatible should be a distinct platform. The history of computing should be a distinct article. Computer titles should be OS specific, where computers have multiple operating systems. This is what Wikipedia does, and Wikipedia isn't even video game specific. Look at Kerbal Space Program on Wikipedia:

Platform(s)

THAT is how we should be doing it here.

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#3 Posted by bhtav (157 posts) -

I should mention regarding the above, that I realize Linux is a distinct platform on Giantbomb.com. The issue is with PC... is it Windows? Is it DOS? Is it something more obscure, like BeOS?

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#4 Posted by stordoff (629 posts) -

@bhtav: Arguably the "Mac" platform needs a similar split. Apple II / Apple IIgs have their own pages, but anything else seems to just fall under the Mac umbrella. For instance, I recently added Mac as a platform to the Sword of Sodan page, as it was released on System 7, but I'm not sure how useful it is to group that with modern OS X releases.

It's a weird line to try and draw through - unlike consoles, there often isn't as clear a jump between generations. Even within System 7, there's far more variation than you'd typically see on a console 'platform' (e.g. the 68k to PPC transition).

I wonder if there's a case to be made for splitting Platform and OS in the infobox (e.g. Platform: PC; OS: DOS, Win9x or Platform: Mac; OS: System 7), though that's likely an impossible amount of work to do at this point.

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#5 Posted by bhtav (157 posts) -

@stordoff In a perfect world, I'd like to be as granular as possible; but it's not trivial to find the information on OS versions for old games. It's not part of any standard code or anything, so you have to see a box or something to identify the system requirements. That's probably beyond the scope of the article. On a Mac, there aren't competing operating systems (an Apple II and Apple IIgs is a hardware distinction). On a PC, which is open, the operating systems are the platform. This is why Linux has a page.

I feel that the various PC operating systems, but not versions of operating systems, should be distinct platforms. Linux is (and should be) a platform, but so should Windows, BeOS, and OS/2. DOS should be a platform. I don't think the same confusion exists in the Mac arena, simply because there was always only one current OS (like Amiga or Atari or Commodore). You might make a case for the system 7 split, but not for the versions thereof. Interesting thought.

I'm not trying to archive the OS versions at all, just the OS a game is for. In the PC universe, the OS is the real platform (which is why Linux is a platform on GB). For archival purposes, it's important to have separate releases of games that are on separate operating systems, regardless of hardware.