MechWarrior 2 Box art

MechWarrior

Discord Chat

I found this Discord channel on /r/MechWarrior. They have a chats for all the old games, it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for a little Retro MechWarrior multiplayer or discuss options for getting these cantankerous classics to run on modern iron.
MechWarrior Discord

BattleTech

BattleTech
BattleTech Second Edition (I think)

Before the MechWarrior PC franchise was a thing, it was an RPG. Before the MechWarrior RPG, there was a strategy board game called BattleTech, you know, back in the 1980s long before computers were as powerful and commonplace as they are now.
BattleTech Page

MechWarrior 1

MechWarrior Box Art
MechWarrior Box Art

Before your time, and mine, too. Those guys who made Tribes have actually made other games, as it happens.

MechWarrior 2 / Mercs

MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries
MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries splash screen

I am still trying to get this to run somehow. For Mercenaries, buggy as it is, I demand the Windows version with salvage, DOS is crap! Shitty coding of this game makes it really tough to run on modern hardware. I actually have an old early P4 Win98 box for the express purpose of playing the MW2 games, though I don’t think it works, gah.

MechWarrior 3

MechWarrior 3: Pirate's Moon
MechWarrior 3: Pirate’s Moon Box Art

Would you believe this runs flawlessly in a fresh VirtualBox Windows XP VM? Just turn off mouse integration. That Was Easy™. I would still like to run it natively in Windows 10, and I am fairly certain that can be done with enough fiddling.

MechWarrior 4

Usually when you think of abandonware, images of long forgotten, or perhaps simply long worn out floppies for your old DOS games come to mind. To me, abandonware is a very specific thing. Just like old cars, there is a point in time where its “just an old car” and no one gives a damn. Look at the price of Porsches of various vintages over the years and you will have a clear picture of what I am describing if you aren’t already acquainted.

http://wallpaperweb.org/wallpaper/games/mechwarrior-4-mercenaries_29926.htm
MechWarrior 4

These days, classic DOS games like Doom or X-Wing are no longer abandonware. They are the vintage Ferarris and Lamborghinis, the old air cooled Porches — they are cool again. Subsequently, thanks to the awesomeness that is Steam and GOG.com, you can buy them again. Even better, they will be running probably with modern disc brakes and a better than stock cooling system. BUY THESE GAMES. Don’t be a shit.

However, then you have games like MechWarrior 4. In its day, it was a great game. I bought it as soon as it came out. Eventually MekTek made some very nifty updates and additions to it, and at some point with the intellectual property holders blessing, even gave it out for free. Then that free download vanished when the intellectual property holder licensed it out to the guys who make MechWarrior Online. MWO is fun, go buy some shit in it! MWO doesn’t have a campaign, or a MechLab where you can do fiddle endlessly with no worry about funds. For that, I highly recommend finding the formerly free release on file sharing networks.

MekTek MechWarrior 4 Free Release + MekPak 3.1
MekTek MechWarrior 4 Free Release + MekPak 3.1

Nobody sells MechWarrior 4 today, and I highly doubt anyone ever will. Honestly, that is a shame.

Recommended Reading

Local Ditch has some really nice articles on the MechWarrior games