Nearly 2,400 MS-DOS games are now available to play -- for free -- in almost any browser on the Internet Archive. Meaning: A lot of people of a certain generation (hi!) are once again able to play the games they played over and over and over again as kids.
The Internet Archive is arguably best-known for its Wayback Machine, the neat and useful repository of home pages past that lets you, say, see what the White House's Web site looked like 15 years ago. But it does a lot more than simply send surfers back in time.
Many video game enthusiasts learned that over a year ago with the launch of the console living room, a similar project that brought early games (like those on the old Atari consoles) into the browser as playable emulations.
Here's a sample of the playable games out there:
A super popular turn-based galactic conquest game that might remind some players of the Civilization series.
This game probably needs little introduction, but just in case: you travel from the east on the Oregon Trail like a pioneer -- and it's magical and addicting.
...What? I liked it when I was a kid. Deal.
The MS-DOS project is likely to see similar popularity to the console experiment. Although this isn't the first time some of these games have made it into a playable browser format, the Internet Archive's undertaking is an unprecedented work of interactive preservation. In addition to simply posting a best-shot attempt at emulating the game experience in a browser, software curator Jason Scott is soliciting feedback on what does and doesn't work for users as more and more people explore the software archives.
In a Monday post announcing the new resource, Scott wrote:
I really worked hard to have only fully-functioning programs up, or at least, programs that gave viable, useful feedback. Some of them 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 on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly.
(h/t Anthony De Rosa)