Children of the ’80s and early ’90s, rejoice! The Internet Archive has made a collection of nearly 2,400 MS-DOS games available to play for free in a browser-based emulator. The library encompasses nearly any computer game from that era that you can think of, and plenty of others that you didn’t even realize you remember. It’s a major nostalgia trip for gamers of a certain age, and also a monumental effort of interactive digital preservation.
The collection includes the origins of some franchises that are still major players in today’s industry, such as Metal Gear or Street Fighter. It also has beloved classics like The Oregon Trail, Prince of Persia and Maniac Mansion. Fans of the Kickstarted Wasteland 2 might want to check out the original 1988 Wasteland.
Disney may be back on top with Disney Infinity, but back in the day the company licensed film characters out for platformers based on Aladdin and The Lion King that were actually pretty great. Also be sure to dig into the deeper cuts that might not have endured as franchises but still hold a special place for many, like Dragon’s Lair, Sim Ant, Commander Keen and Mario Teaches Typing. We really could do this forever, and encourage you to do so.
Digital archivist Jason Scott is behind the project, and announced the release with a blog post. The library is an unprecedented production, and still in beta, so Scott encourages you to take it for a spin and provide feedback for how things could be improved. The Internet Archive is probably best known for the Wayback Machine, a database of dated snapshots of websites where you can see, for instance, what the first implementation of Google looked like in 1998, or check out Digital Trends when it started in 2006.
Whether you’re nostalgic, a scholar, or simply curious, this is an extraordinary resource for gamers that is well worth your time, and it establishes a fantastic precedent for how works of digital, interactive art can be preserved and emulated for the easy access of future generations. What games on the list got you excited?