DOS_Deck Plays Retro PC Games Like Heretic In Your Browser With Full Controller Support

dosdeck interface
You hear it said all the time: one of the best reasons to own a Steam Deck is for emulating classic games. The Steam Deck is fundamentally a PC, but despite this, you'll rarely hear anyone talk about playing classic PC games on it. The reason is simple: the Steam Deck's primary controls are gamepad-based, and enjoying old PC games with a modern gamepad requires quite a bit of fiddling. You certainly can install DOSBox on a Steam Deck and go to town with DOS games, but getting it all set up can be pretty tedious.

What if someone did all the fiddling for you? Enter DOS_deck, a website created by Martin Kool that is exactly what you think it is: a place to play classic PC DOS games in your web browser. The interface is carefully crafted to look just like the native interface on the Steam Deck, and all of the games have pre-configured controller binds so you can simply load the site, launch a game, and start playing.

dosdeck heretic

There's a decent little selection of games already available, including shareware versions of Doom, Heretic, Epic Pinball, Jazz Jackrabbit, Command and Conquer, Commander Keen, and more. The author notes that all of the games on offer are "shareware, freeware, demo versions, or 'liberated' software", with the latter term referring to games that have been officially released as freeware. Currently, there's no way to upload your own games to the service (such as free versions of the games), but the author is considering such a feature in the future.

dosdeck keen

Naturally, the website is based on DOSBox, or rather, a port of the long-lived emulator to Javascript called JS-DOS; DOS_deck builds on JS-DOS with its clean UI as well as the aforementioned controller profiles. The emulation is pretty basic at this point—just VGA and a Sound Blaster card, meaning that games with MIDI soundtracks play through AdLib emulation, which doesn't sound great. Hopefully the author can configure the games for Gravis Ultrasound emulation, or even better, General MIDI support.

afterplay dot io is a similar site for classic console games. You'll need to provide your own ROMs, though.

This is hardly the first website to offer classic video games in a web browser, but the slick presentation and zero-configuration-required aspect of the site make it very enjoyable to use. Ironically, it works best on desktop and laptop computers; we couldn't get the site working with a Bluetooth gamepad on Android, and while the site is clearly designed to be used with the Steam Deck, it requires some additional setup to get that working. You can find the instructions on the DOS_deck 'About' page linked at the top of the homepage.