2.4K Old-School MS-DOS Games Are Now Online

Internet Archive adds huge free gaming collection that works with most browsers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2015 11:54 AM CST
2.4K Old-School MS-DOS Games Are Now Online
Included in the games: Pac-Man.   (AP Photo/Japan Society, Courtesy of NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.)

"Prince of Persia," "Oregon Trail," and "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" are once again ours for the playing—but this time, they're on the Web. The Internet Archive, purveyor of "universal access to all knowledge" through portals such as the Wayback Machine, has announced a new addition to its software collection: about 2,400 MS-DOS video games that can be played, for free, on most browsers, the Washington Post reports. The update is similar to the digital library's Console Living Room, launched last year to "[harken] back to the revolution of the change in the hearth of the home, when the fireplace and later television were transformed by gaming consoles into a center of videogame entertainment." "Considering the Internet Arcade has dragged in over 5 million people, this new collection will probably bring in a flood of its own. Welcome," Internet Archive curator Jason Scott wrote Monday on his blog.

Not that these are obstacle-free emulators. There are "some awful sound emulation quirks," writes Sam Machkovech for Ars Technica, also pointing out that he's not sure how long popular titles such as "Donkey Kong" and "Street Fighter II" will remain available (there are specific copyright rules for archiving vintage software). Even Scott acknowledges some of the library's drawbacks, noting that "some of [the games] will still fall over and die, and many of them might be weird to play in a browser window, and of course you can't really save things off for later, and that will limit things too." But he's also encouraging users to jump right into the beta Version 2 of the Internet Archive's interface and to send him feedback so that he can successfully steer future offerings and updates. (Keep playing games all day and you might start earning millions.)

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