The Internet Archive has collected thousands of movies, music, books, and other media within the public domain for years as a resource for those looking at them through an academic or educational lens, and now the non-profit collection has expanded that effort into video games with the debut of The Internet Arcade.
The collection’s debut features over 900 various classic arcade and console titles that are all playable in an Internet browser, and all free-of-charge to explore and play, with the collection including many arcade classics such as Millipede and Paperboy. Though many of the games do have some issues regarding scaling, vector games, or control mechanisms that are just not easily translatable to a keyboard and mouse, the collection is still an impressive resource for those that want to revisit some of the classics of yesteryear.
Developer Jason Scott, who worked extensively on the process of converting and preserving the games for the archive, spoke in his blog on the project, detailing:
“Of the roughly 900 arcade games (yes, nine hundred arcade games) up there, some are in pretty weird shape – vector games are an issue, scaling is broken for some, and some have control mechanisms that are just not going to translate to a keyboard or even a joypad.”
“But damn if so many are good enough. More than good enough. In the right browser, on a speedy machine, it almost feels perfect. The usual debates about the “realness” of emulation come into play, but it works.”
“Obviously, a lot of people are going to migrate to games they recognize and ones that they may not have played in years. 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.”
“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.”