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.

New features in 7.10 include (see entire changelog for full history):

New Feature: Plugins are now supported in LaunchBox and Big Box! If you're a developer, see documentation here: http://pluginapi.launchbox-app.com
Improvement: LaunchBox and Big Box updates are now downloaded automatically in the background so you don't have to wait for them; this can be disabled under Options > General > Updates in LaunchBox
Improvement: CRC checks are now used to eliminate duplicate images when downloading from the LaunchBox Games Database or EmuMovies on imports and metadata/media updates
Improvement: The Clean Up Images option from the Tools menu in LaunchBox has been modified to also remove duplicate images
Improvement: the Clean Up Images option from the Tools menu in LaunchBox has been tweaked to add a Cancel button and use all cores on your system in order to vastly improve performance
Improvement: Massive startup performance increases for both LaunchBox and Big Box; in some cases it is now well over twice as fast; used multi-threading and other strategies
Improvement: Significant performance increases when selecting platform categories in Big Box
Fixed: Titles are no longer duplicated into the Version field when importing games that don't have a Version

Verdict

LaunchBox looks great, is highly configurable yet also very easy to use.