The Internet Archive has made 900—yes, 900—classic arcade games available to play in an internet browser. Right now.
Housed at the Internet Archive, the Internet Arcade debuted on Nov. 1 with hundreds of cherished games that can be played in just about any browser—though currently they run best in Firefox.
The catalog of offerings is a variety that should touch on at least a few cherished favorites, ranging from racing games like Out Run to paper delivery simulator Paperboy to fighting games like Street Fighter II.
Booting up any of the games is quick and easy, but not all are guaranteed to work. These versions are emulations of classic games, and as such some of them run into scaling, control, or other technical issues. (Though EW can confirm Golden Axe works and is still as fun as it was 25 years ago.) Still, enough of the games are in good enough condition to lose a few virtual coins to.
One of the creators behind the project, Jason Scott, wrote about the effort that went into the Internet Arcade.
“Obviously, a lot of people are going to migrate to games they recognize and ones that they may not have played in years,” Scott wrote on his blog. “They’ll do a few rounds, probably get their asses kicked, smile, and go back to their news sites.
“A few more, I hope, will go towards games they’ve never heard of, with rules they have to suss out, and maybe more people will play some of these arcades in the coming months than the games ever saw in their ‘real’ lifetimes,” he continued.
The project is an admirable one, considering how easy it is to lose games to time as new game consoles and computers aren’t always able to play every game that has come before—backwards compatibility for games is becoming an increasing rarity. And so Scott’s project allows some of the foundations of gaming, and some of its earliest missteps, to stand the test of time and be there whenever someone needs a break from work for a few rounds of Galaga.
Scott even hopes that the project helps to influence the future of gaming.
“And 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,” Scott said.