Some games will only run in 256 colors and/or 640x480 resolution. In Windows 9x you will need to set down your color/resolution:
Control Panel -> Display -> Settings -> Color Depth
and choose 640x480x256.
In Windows 2000 or XP, Compatibility mode is designed to address this by automatically switching to this mode, but doesn't work on some computers. On these machines you will need to manually set the color/resolution. However XP doesn't seem to have anything less than 16-bit color. On Windows XP, you have to dig a little deeper. XP hides the older, seldom-used settings:
Control Panel > Display > Settings > Advanced > Adapter> List All Modes
There are also utilities that can change the resolution for you, such as MultiRes.
WinG (pronounced Win Gee) was an API to provide faster graphics performance on Windows 3.1. Support for WinG was dropped in Windows 98 Second Edition (which integrated DirectX 6), as it only passed through to the Win32 APIs that it was wrapping. WinG DLLs were sometimes distributed with the game here it copyed the files wing.dll, wing32.dll, wingde.dll, wingdib.drv and wngpal.wnd to the 'system32' directory to add system-wide support. If you get an error about WinG being missing you can download the WinG installer here:
AGI Games played on some modern graphics cards might not display text in the Sierra AGI games. The Dialog messages may be displayed as series of black and white lines and dots. You can play the game in DOSBox, which emulates an early graphics card (an old S3) that displays the text correctly.
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