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Thousands of titles for free: DOS games brought back to life in your browser

Marek Hoffmann Autor, Hemd & Hoodie

While the focus of the industry is currently geared towards the future, many gaming fans are now able to revel in nostalgic childhood memories, all thanks to the San Francisco-based “Internet Archive.” This international institution—the largest web archiving library of its kind—is essentially an online byword for time travel into the past.

This week, the inventory of the Internet Archive was actually expanded by a major new stock intake: 2400 MS-DOS video games can now be played for free using a browser. The collection of games available not only covers a huge number of titles, but also an eclectic range of genres spanning two decades of publication. The selection includes classics such as Ace of Aces, Frogger and Super Boulder Dash, as well as gems like Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken.

Minor weaknesses

We really are just nitpicking here, the games are arranged in a nice, clear format, with their title screens and the number of views, favorites and any reviews listed below them. That said, it is disappointing that the filter function only lets you filter by views and not by favorites or reviews.

Instead, you have the choice of filtering between title, date archived and creator. For example, if you filter by title and then search for a game beginning with the letter “S”, you have to do a fair bit of scrolling to find the game you want, since the alphabetical filter does not allow for subdivisions by letter. The search function also has its weaknesses and is not always able to find some titles that are definitely in the archive — but we really are just nitpicking here.

Golden oldies

The same archive even features a collection of arcade games

Since we are talking about MS-DOS games—and not today’s world of Oculus Rift and virtual reality games—you ultimately have to accept a few functionality issues like this or simply get over them. The same can be said for the fact that, for some games, the controls leave more than just a little to be desired — a view shared in many of the comments posted online.

 

And if there is actually anyone out there who thinks that the selection is just not big enough, the same archive even features a collection of arcade games and a smaller, more manageable collection of “historical software.” From a personal point of view, the only drawback to the collection of games on the Internet Archive is that my favorite game—Impossible Mission—is simply not in there. Nevertheless, there are admittedly other online sources that offer the old classics…

Go to the archive of DOS games     Go to the archive of arcade games

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