Did you know that you can play thousands of old games directly in your web browser? Actually you can, there are many games now available freely online for you to enjoy. Get that nostalgic feeling when you jump across dangerous gaps in Prince of Persia, build cities in Sim City, take on adventures in King’s Quest or Police Quest. The list goes on.
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Where do I find all these games?
The amazing website called Archive.org hosts all these game titles, along with many other things. One of them being “The Internet Archive Software Collection” – the largest vintage and historical software library in the world, providing instant access to millions of programs, CD-ROM images, documentation and multimedia. In addition to this, they have lots in the categories of books, video, images, web and audio. I only recently learned of this site myself, and it looks like you can spend eternity here without looking at the same thing twice. Definitively worth a visit! It is a huge online digital library.
Why are they free?
These games are mainly software that are no longer supported by its developers or its publishers and is no longer available for sale in any form (digital or retail). Just being old doesn’t mean that it is legal to copy and distribute it. Many publishers have released old titles to the public as freeware, other publishers don’t exist anymore, and some just does not enforce copyright on the old software. Every game not released as freeware is still subject to copyright laws. Some games are sold on sites like gog.com (Good Old Games). Fear not, the collection at Archive.org is legal, since the website is an international renowned library.
How does it work?
You surf over to their great MS-DOS game archive, find the title you want to play, and then click run. An emulator starts, which downloads required files and then runs the game for you, all inside your web browser. Depending on the game, some can be controlled by both mouse and keyboard, others only with the keyboard. I doubt it saves games for you, haven’t really tried out that yet. I did however fire up Wolfenstein 3D to test this emulator, and it worked great. Took only seconds to download the game, since it is old and small in size. Works just like in the old days. I could even control it with my mouse, although the mouse sensitivity needed some adjusting if possible.
I can vary how smoothly the games run, after all it is an emulator running it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your computer is sluggish, it is more how the game is written and how good the emulator can cope with that.
Why do I want to do this?
By using this site, and its integrated MS-DOS emulator, you can play all of these classic games without any hustle. Namely, downloading and installing the emulator, and then locating and downloading the games legally. Furthermore install the games and make them run in the emulator.
Great for killing some time and having fun while doing it. And experience the nostalgia.
What’s your favorite classic game? Leave a comment below.