Running NBA Live 95, NBA Live 96 & NBA Live 97 in DOSBox

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This a guide to getting the PC versions of NBA Live 95, NBA Live 96, and NBA Live 97 to run using the open source DOS emulator, DOSBox.

Note that NBA Live 97 PC includes both a DOS and Windows version; however, as the Windows version is a 16-bit program, it will not work in 64-bit Windows. It is possible to play the Windows version of NBA Live 97 in an older version of Windows using software such as VMware, but for most users, running the DOS version under DOSBox will be a quicker and more feasible solution.

Please note that some basic computer skills are required to carry out the steps in this guide. If installing games and programs, or typing in commands at a prompt is overwhelming, you might want to get some help from someone more knowledgeable in those areas, or brush up on your computer skills first. Use this guide at your own risk; no responsibility will be taken for any damage you may incur (although that's highly unlikely to happen).

Installing The Games[edit]

Download DOSBox here, and install it on your PC. For more information on how DOSBox functions, please see the included documentation, or consult the official DOSBox Wiki.

Before you run DOSBox, there's a line you'll need to add to the configuration file to make things a little easier, especially if you want to create a desktop shortcut later. Under the DOSBox program folder in the Start Menu, select the Options subfolder, and then select DOSBox 0.74 Options to open the configuration file; it should open automatically in Notepad. Scroll to the very bottom of the file, and add the following line in the [autoexec] section: MOUNT D D:\ -t cdrom

If your optical drive is assigned a different letter, replace D accordingly (eg MOUNT E E:\ -t cdrom, if your optical drive is E). This command will automatically mount your optical drive every time that you fire up DOSBox, which is a handy step to automate, not to mention important if you want to launch a game in DOSBox directly from a desktop shortcut. Save the file, and close Notepad.

Make sure your NBA Live 95, NBA Live 96, or NBA Live 97 CD is in your optical drive, then run DOSBox. You'll be presented with a command prompt window, that should look something like this:


At the command prompt, type MOUNT C C:\ and press Enter. You'll receive a warning about how it's not recommended, but as long as you don't touch or delete anything you shouldn't, there shouldn't be any issues. Type D: (or the letter of your optical drive as appropriate) to switch to it.


You can now run the installation file for the game. For all three games, you can simply type INSTALL at the D: prompt. The NBA Live 97 disc also has a setup.exe file, however that is for the Windows version, which cannot be installed in DOSBox. Once again, stick to the DOS version.


If you're familiar with installing games back in the DOS days, most of the options will be straightforward. However, if you've just picked up those old games for the first time off eBay, or if it's been a long time since you've installed a DOS game, here's a basic overview:

  • Select Sound Blaster for the sound card. If that doesn't work, try Sound Blaster 16. If you run into any problems with the sound, just keep trying all the options, though Sound Blaster usually does the trick.
  • If you're prompted to select video quality, select High.
  • Select the default installation path (C:\NBA95, C:\NBA96, or C:\NBA97), unless you have a particular reason for changing it.
  • As you'll probably have plenty of hard drive space to spare, choose a custom installation type, and select all of the files for a full installation.

NOTE: Because these games are very old, their installation files weren't programmed to recognise today's much bigger hard drive capacities. As a result, the available space will likely be incorrect, and if you attempt a full installation, you may be warned that there is insufficient space. You'll be given an option to proceed with the installation anyway; choose to do this, and the installation will complete successfully as the space will definitely be there...unless of course, your hard drive really does have less than around 300 MB to spare, in which case that's a problem you should take care of before anything else.

Congratulations! You should be finished installing the game. If you're ready to play, proceed to the next section. If you need to install an additional game, repeat the above steps with the appropriate CD-ROM inserted.

Running The Games[edit]

Alright, you've installed the games. Now it's time to play them!


If you've just finished installing the game, you should be back at the command prompt, in the folder of the game you just installed (eg C:\NBA95). You can fire up the game simply by typing in NBA, or the name of the game's executable file directly (eg NBA95, NBA96, or NBA97). Press Enter, and the game will launch.


Upon Starting DOSBox[edit]

However, if you've installed the games previously, closed DOSBox, and now wish to play them, you'll need to mount your C: drive again, and change to the appropriate directory.

Run DOSBox, type MOUNT C C:\ at the prompt, and press Enter. Type C: to change to the C: drive. At the C:\ prompt, type cd\nba95, cd\nba96, or cd\nba97 and press Enter to change to the directory of the game you want to play. Once in the directory, you can type NBA, NBA95, NBA96, or NBA97, as before. As long as the correct CD-ROM is inserted, the game will launch.


Creating a Desktop shortcut[edit]

While the above method is functional and not too difficult if you have a fairly good knowledge of computers (and experience using DOS back in the day), it's still not the most convenient method of launching the games. You can easily create a shortcut on your Windows desktop that will load DOSBox, and then automatically launch the game of your choice.

For this to work properly, you must have added the line to the DOSBox configuration file that automatically mounts your optical drive. If you haven't yet done that, go back and do that before you proceed any further!

Right-click on your Desktop, and in the menu that pops up, highlight New and select Shortcut.

New shortcut.png

In the box where you type in the location of the file you're creating a shortcut to, copy and paste the appropriate path for the game you're playing. Note that the path to the Program Files folder is slightly different, depending on whether you're running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. These paths also assume that you installed the games to the default directory. If you specified a custom location, change the second path to wherever you installed the games.

32-bit Windows

  • "C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA95\NBA95.exe" -exit
  • "C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA96\NBA96.exe" -exit
  • "C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA97\NBA97.exe" -exit

64-bit Windows

  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA95\NBA95.exe" -exit
  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA96\NBA96.exe" -exit
  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -userconf "C:\NBA97\NBA97.exe" -exit

With the appropriate location entered in the box, click Next.

NOTE: Make sure that you include the quotation marks as written here. Additionally, the -exit flag is optional, but it's handy to have there, as it will close DOSBox automatically upon quitting the game.

Create shortcut1.png

On the next screen, enter the name for the shortcut (NBA Live 95, NBA Live 96, or NBA Live 97, as appropriate). Then click Finish.

Create shortcut2.png

Once the shortcut has been created, you can change the icon by right-clicking on it, selecting Properties, and clicking the Change Icon... button. This is a purely cosmetic step, however. If you don't mind the shortcut using the DOSBox icon, it won't cause any problems if you leave it.

You can now use the shortcut to launch the game! Repeat as necessary if you have more than one game installed. Note that this method can be used to create shortcuts to any games you're running in DOSBox; just change the second path to the appropriate folder and program file. If you're installing all three games covered by this tutorial, you can also save yourself some time by creating one shortcut, copying and pasting it to create duplicates, then editing the names and location information of the duplicates.


  • Always make sure the correct CD-ROM is in the drive when installing or launching a game.
  • To maximise the window while in DOSBox, press Alt+Enter. Pressing Alt+Enter will return to Windowed mode.
  • If you don't include the -exit flag when creating a shortcut, you'll exit to the command prompt upon quitting the game. If you've entered full screen mode, either press Alt+Enter to go back to Windowed mode and close DOSBox with the X button, or simply type exit at the prompt.