Okay, Ike didn't cause the world to collapse. It was a very expensive, huge storm that caused a lot of damage, but it didn't kill many people. My brother in Beaumont was fine. I feel vaguely foolish for having gotten so wound up about him being there. Meh.
Anyway, I found an old CD with Infocom games on it ("Lost Treasures of Infocom"). These were the old text-based games that are now called "Interactive Fiction": Zork, The Lurking Horror, Infidel... This was all very magical to me when I was a kid. I wanted to become a computer programmer because of this kind of game. So I got my CompSci degree at the Academy and after the Marines I taught Seychellois people to use computers and... somehow I ended up working for FEMA. Go figure.
The trouble is that when I went to start up Zork, I got odd characters on the screen. This killed my eighties buzz. I vaguely remembered that these weird characters were the program's attempt to talk to ANSI.SYS. This was the way programs used to do super advanced graphics like dark letters on a light background (WOW!). I understand that Al Gore invented ANSI.SYS.
Okay, here's how you fix this:
- Start up a command prompt (Start->Run->CMD)
- Edit your CONFIG.NT file (notepad %systemroot%\system32\config.nt)
- Add a reference to ANSI.SYS at the end of CONFIG.NT (add this line: device=%SystemRoot%\system32\ansi.sys)
Now ZORK and company should start up correctly and not give you any weird characters. XYZZY.