Anyone over the age of 20 likely remembers this story: You go to the mall to buy a new game for your favorite game console, only for your parents to pick up the Tiger Electronics handheld version instead. They weren’t great games, but they have tons of nostalgic appeal, and the Internet Archive now allows you to play dozens of them for free using the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) software.
“For a number of years, the MAME team has been moving toward emulating a class of hardware and software that, for some, stretches the bounds of what emulation can do, and we have now put up a collection of some of their efforts,” the Internet Archive’s Jason Scott said in a blog post.
Dubbed the “Handheld History Collection,” the new games include dedicated handheld versions of Altered Beast, Burger Time, and even Karnov, as well as Tiger Electronic classic MC Hammer — yes, it was a game.
A few of the emulated games are tiny tabletop arcade “cabinets” based on classics like Galaxian and Pac-Man. The cabinets themselves aren’t emulated, leaving you with what have to be the worst versions of these games ever created by man or machine. Pac-Man, for instance, doesn’t really feature ghosts, and Galaxian is so choppy that it’s basically impossible to make any real progress.
You will find instructions on how to play the games available within each file, and you can play them from within your internet browser.
In order to emulate the handheld games, MAME contributor Sean Riggs tore apart each piece of hardware, scanning their components so they could be re-created digitally. The LCD screen itself was even scanned, as it contained many visual elements in the various stand-alone handheld games.
Once you had your fill of the handheld electronic games, head over to the Internet Arcade, the Internet Archive’s home for emulated versions of classic arcade games. There are more than 600 arcade titles to choose from, and they have held up much better. As an added bonus, you can stick as many “quarters” into the machine as you like without having to actually spend money!
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