By Colin Malone / November 4th, 2014
Do you consider yourself a “retro gamer?” Then you should be jumping for joy right about now, because the Internet Archive, which bills itself as “a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 435 billion archived web pages” has added a massive collection of over 900 coin-op arcade games to their software archive, both classic and obscure.
The games date from the 1970s to the 1990s and are emulated in-browser using the JSMAME emulator, which is part of the JSMESS software package. The arcade includes such classics as Missile Command, Dig Dug, Golden Axe, and many more. You can visit the arcade here, and look through several of site’s recommended games. There should be enough to keep you entertained for a long, long time.
It should be pointed out though, that not all of the games play perfectly. There are some glitches, some games don’t play sound, and the arcade’s operator, Jason Scott made sure to specify that: “Vector games are an issue, scaling is broken for some, and some have control mechanisms that are just not going to translate to a keyboard or even a joypad.” Despite this, I’d still say it’s worth giving a try, since most of the games work perfectly, and they’re such an important part of gaming history.
The time of arcades was in many ways a golden age for gaming. Innovative and new ideas were commonplace and many of the games that came out, set standards and conventions that still impact the medium, even today. While many curious gamers will see this as another simple way to waste time, Scott hopes that some gamers can get more out of it, saying: “My hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage, will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts. Time will tell.”
This isn’t the first time the Internet Archive has done something like this either, as they also have what they call the “Console Living Room.” A collection of games and consoles from the late 1970s and mid 1990s, ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Sega Genesis, all the way up to the obscure Super A’Can, released in 1995.
Are you all excited to get to see such important parts of gaming history immortalized for posterity? Do you have any games you’re most excited to play, or any you’d recommend others should play? Let us know in the comments!