LaunchBox is a portable games database and launcher. It was designed to work with DOSBox (which comes bundled with the program), but can now handle PC games, emulators, even import your games from Steam.
There's a lot of functionality here, but a splash screen helps out by listing the various possibilities and providing links to video tutorials.
If you prefer to jump straight in, there are wizards to immediately import DOS and other games, but even as a beginner, it doesn't take long to set something up manually.
We clicked Game > Add, and were prompted to enter a game name. Type in just part of a game title - "Meier" - and LaunchBox quickly searches Wikipedia, presenting you with various matches. Choose one of these options and LaunchBox finds all the associated metadata (title, release date, genre, platform etc), and you can download any associated images (box art, screenshots etc) in a couple of clicks.
Next you must tell LaunchBox more about the game itself. There's nothing particularly difficult here, either: it's just a matter of pointing the program at the executable files/ folders, and (if necessary) telling it to run the game via DOSBox, ScummVM, or an emulator.
Repeat this process a few times and LaunchBox presents your games via their cover art. You're able to organise and filter your collection by genre, platform, ESRB rating, developer, and publisher. Clicking any of them displays all the metadata you downloaded earlier, including a rating and description, and you can launch your favourite with a click.
A LaunchBox Premium version extends the program with a big-screen home theater-type view, colour themes, custom fonts, saved filters and more. A single $20 payment covers lifetime upgrades and usage on as many PCs as you like.
LaunchBox looks great, is highly configurable yet also very easy to use.
What's new in 12.12 (see entire changelog for full history)?
- New Feature: LaunchBox can now downloaded bezels for both MAME and RetroArch, during import and media downloads (courtesy of the Bezel Project)
- New Feature: Image packs can now be both created and imported via Tools > Image Packs. This should make it much easier to custom curate the media for your collection using the awesome packs that are available on the LaunchBox Community Forums (and to create your own packs!).
- Improvement: The saving process that occurs after LaunchBox or Big Box closes should be significantly faster
- Improvement: The picture viewer was visually updated with added context regarding what type of image you are looking at
- Improvement: Platform matching when searching for EmuMovies content has been improved
- Improvement: The Export to Android process now works with games that have multiple discs
- Improvement: The Export to Android process now resizes any overly large images to a maximum of 2000x2000 pixels
- Improvement: The Export to Android process now includes an option to only export favorited games for specific platforms
- Improvement: The Export to Android process now includes an option to extract archives
- Improvement: The Tools > File Management > Export/Copy ROM Files from Selected Games to New Folder feature will now copy all discs for the selected games (if there are multiple discs)
- Improvement: FlowContext now has new properties that allow you to rotate the item (for Big Box theme developers)
- Improvement: FlowContext now has new properties that you can use for styling based on where the item is in relation to the selected item (for Big Box theme developers)
- Improvement: A SelectedItemSpacing property was added to FlowControl that allows the spacing around the currently selected item to be different than other items (for Big Box theme developers)
- Improvement: The Enable Game Controllers option in Big Box is now on by default