Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:12 AM
I still use an old DOS/Win95 PC for certain cranky old applications and hardware, most of which would be either impossible or inconvenient to use with anything newer: an old parallel-port EPROM programmer, 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drives, etc. I do use it for old games also, but in reality, it isn't necessary to keep an old PC around just for games (at least not yet). Today's PC hardware is a direct evolution from what was available in the 90s, so using 90s software on a new PC is mostly a matter of compensating for the changes in the operating system environment. The most sensible way to do that for most people is to use some sort of emulation, such as DOSBox for the old DOS games, or to run Win95/Win98 games in compatibility mode on a more modern version of Windows.
Later, as platforms evolve and as the machines we all use every day diverge even further from the systems of the 90s, it might be worthwhile to keep an old machine around for games. But I suspect that the emulation technology will improve, too.
(Of course, there's also the idea of using old hardware like a standalone DOS PC for privacy reasons, or to get away from hardware-enabled DRM or other restrictive features that might be integrated into new PC motherboards. That's another good reason to keep old PC hardware around, as I do, and given the way the Internet is (d)evolving, it might be necessary for me to put it to use.)