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Your town’s arcade may have shut down in the mid-90s, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting your classic games fix. Archive.org – best known as that site you go on when you want to see what the Internet looked like in the 90s Go Back In Time: How 10 Big Websites Looked 15 Years Ago Go Back In Time: How 10 Big Websites Looked 15 Years Ago The year was 1997. Apple was a struggling computer company, AOL was a booming Internet service provider, Microsoft was on the verge of releasing Windows 98, and the Web was a very different place. Through... Read More – has launched ‘The Internet Arcade‘, allowing players to relive classics from the 70s, 80s and 90s. No Coins or ROMs required.

The Internet Arcade is part of the JSMESS project, which aims to bring classic games to the browser through a simple JavaScript-based emulator.

The JSMESS project also aims to make it easy to embed emulated games into a web page, much like one would with a Youtube video or Tweet.

Archive.org previously launched the Console Living Room, which similarly offered a range of games from consoles of yesteryear.

Not every arcade game will work perfectly. Jason Scott, curator of The Internet Arcade and Textfiles.com writes “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.”

With over 900 games available, there’s a great deal of choice on offer. But what classic games have survived the test of time? Here are 7 that are totally worth a revisit.

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Frogger

Why did the frog cross the road? To get to the other side, of course.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You’re a frog, and you’ve got to cross a busy highway without ending up under the wheels of an SUV.

internetarcade-frogger

But Frogger was more than the world’s first roadkill simulator. It inspired a generation of young people to part with their allowance one quarter at a time, as they tried to reunite the eponymous amphibian hero with his family. Much like Angry Birds 5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive 5 Reasons Angry Birds Is So Damn Addictive My name is Dave Parrack, I'm a 34-year-old freelance writer from England, and I have a problem. I'm addicted to playing Angry Birds. Being hooked on catapulting feathered weapons of mass destruction into smug pigs... Read More , it straddled a line between ‘frustrating’ and ‘annoying’, which gave it a moreish addictiveness that has contributed to its enduring popularity.

Frogger was reissued for the Xbox 360 in 2006 with improved graphics and a co-op play mode.  If you would rather revisit the original in all its glory, you can play it here.

Paperboy

Ever work a paper route? If you haven’t, take it from me, it’s terrible. You start working when it’s still pitch black outside, and your friends are still warmly tucked into their beds. And the pay? Terrible.

internetarcade-paperboy

So, why would you want to play a game based around that? Well, PaperBoy isn’t just about delivering newspapers. You’ve got to keep your loyal customers happy with regular deliveries, whilst simultaneously vandalizing the houses of non-subscribers and dodging anything that would knock you off your bike.

In short, it’s a rambunctious romp through teenage recidivism. And it’s awesome. You can play it here.

DigDug

One of the things I love about video games from the 80s is how little sense they actually make when you think about them. Take DigDug for example.

Playing as the eponymous protagonist (who looks unmistakably like Papa Smurf), you have to dig deep into the ground, where you will hunt and kill as many Pookas and Fygars as possible.

internetarcade-digdug

It’s not explained why you’re trying to commit monster genocide. We don’t find out what they did to earn your ire. It’s certainly not explained why your weapons of choice are an air pump and stray boulders. But that doesn’t matter, because DigDug doesn’t stand on its story. It stands on its engrossing and addictive gameplay. You can play it here.

Galaga

Galaga, like Frogger, is a game that is still infinitely playable 34 years after its release. The game mechanic is instantly recognizable, and has been used in countless other games.

You’re a lone starship, facing off against a horde of enemies. They swarm at you in waves, and as the game progresses, they get harder to fight and even more numerous. The player can move left and right, and shoot. And that’s it.

internetarcade-galaga

Sounds familiar? Thought so. It’s a simple mechanic, and one that has been replicated countless times on many platforms and in all kinds of games. But it’s one that works, and provides an exciting gaming experience you can dip in and out of.

You can play it here.

Street Fighter 2

In 1991, the arcade industry was in a state of terminal decline. More and more people had switched to home gaming consoles. These were ultimately cheaper in the long run, and didn’t require you to line up to use them.

And then Street Fighter II came along. This was a Hadouken in the arm for the arcade industry, with almost 200,000 games cabinets sold. But why was it so successful?

internetarcade-street-figher

Well, for starters, it was the game that popularized and defined the one-on-one fighter genre. It was something different when games were increasingly becoming homogenized. And one cannot understate how incredible the graphics were, especially at a time when Apple was still releasing computers with a greyscale user interface.

In short, it looked brilliant, and it was really, really fun. You can revisit this classic here.

Crystal Castles

Depending on who you ask, Crystal Castles are an Indietronica band from Toronto, or one of the most widely-loved arcade games of the 1980s.

The aim of the game is simple, if not a bit convoluted. You play as a Bentley Bear; a foul-mouthed cartoon bear who has found himself trapped in a maze-like, trimetrically-rendered castle.

internetarcade-crystal-castles

Bentley has to secure your freedom by gathering gems and dodging the adversaries that plague his world. The ‘why’ isn’t explained. Like most games from that era, there isn’t much of a narrative.

However, Crystal Castles was unusual for the period as it concluded after nine levels, rather than continuing ad-infinitum. If you want to relive this surreal bit of gaming history, you can play it here.

Out Run

I can’t not talk about Out Run, can I?

Before Burnout. Before Forza. Before Colin MacRae. We had Out Run. As driving games go, it isn’t particularly sophisticated. You’re put behind the wheel of a souped-up midlife-crisismobile, which you have to drive at increasingly unsafe speeds against a clock that is constantly ticking down.

internetarcade-outrun

It’s not the most cerebral game ever, but it was fun. The cabinet version actually moved with the car, meaning OutRun was one of the first video games with a physical, almost-tactile dimension.

Alas, when playing in the browser, you don’t really get to experience this facet of Out Run. But even still, it remains a fun, mindless, endlessly playable driving game. You can check it out here.

Oh How Times Have Changed

Does the Internet Arcade quite capture what gaming in the 80s was like?

Does it bring you back to a simpler time, when video games were transient, brightly colored boxes that would occupy a corner of a room before eventually moving on to another arcade, in another nowhere town? Does it quite capture the frustration of having to wait for an older, bigger kid to finish playing, before you get to have your turn?

Not really. But for a bit of nostalgia, and to see how games have came on in the past 40 years, I can’t fault the Internet Arcade.

If you’re still in the mood for some retro gaming after reading this article, why not try these 5 awesome retro games 5 Games From The 90s You Can Play On Your Mac Today 5 Games From The 90s You Can Play On Your Mac Today The 90s were an awesome time for gaming. And you can play five of the best games easily on your Mac. Read More you can play on your Mac? Or perhaps even check out Dave LeClair’s 7 Atari 2600 games that are worth a revisit 7 Atari 2600 Games That Are Worth Going Back To Now 7 Atari 2600 Games That Are Worth Going Back To Now Atari 2600 games are generally incredibly simple. However, there are a few games that have stood the test of time. You will need to go into them understanding that these are where video games started,... Read More .

But what do you think? Have you paid it a visit? Is your favorite game there? Tell me about it. Drop me a comment below, and we’ll chat.

Photo Credits: Sam Howitz (More Arcade Games)

  1. Darkdawn
    December 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    If you like text based RPGs - mafia style clan wars, you should check out TORN.

    This game is really addicting and fun also works on mobile devices.

    This game is totally free, There is a pay2win option although it is very balanced.

    To sign up click/copy this link into your browser then click register at the top of the page.

    torn.com/1807409

    I will help anyone who signs up using this link with in game money/weapons/armour/properties.

    Good Luck and Welcome.

  2. Wood
    November 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    No Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man.

  3. A41202813GMAIL
    November 7, 2014 at 6:19 am

    There Are Several WOLFENSTEIN Downloads There.

    Most Are Really Good, But, Unfortunately, One Of Them Is Some Unrelated Software That Installs A Lot Of Crap And Changes The IE8 Browser Settings.

    Hope They Test All The Software Next Time, Before Allowing It To Be Ready For Public Downloading.

    Sigh...

    • Matthew Hughes
      November 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Ah, that's disappointing. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Steve
    November 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Wow. Rob gets a freebie and then bitches about it. I guess the universe owes you whatever you want, eh?

  5. Allan Lobeck
    November 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Where can I download or play online Galaga?

    • Matthew Hughes
      November 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      There's a link in the article!

  6. billy.elliott
    November 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

    In just a few minutes, I was transported back to the 5th grade and blowing my weekly allowance on Paperboy and jelly doughnuts... lol
    I almost got misty-eyed when I saw it on the list.
    And unexpectedly, Galaga helped me as a ballet choreographer. You know how the aliens enter the game in all sorts of patterns? Basically that's the same as the Corps de Ballet... Helped with making and learning patterns. . . CHEERS for posting these!

    • Matthew Hughes
      November 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      This comment really made me smile. Thanks so much for your comment man! :)

  7. Rob
    November 6, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Mute/unmute refresh browser, get gamepad detected, refresh browser. What a load of bullshit. They could at least have waited until this turd was ready before letting anyone know about it. On top of all this gameplay is laggy as hell. Another low quality service (like OpenLibrary) from the Internet Archive. Hey, at least it's free.

  8. Aron
    November 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    You dude can't read? How to make sound work is the entry about issues.
    http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4423

  9. Doc
    November 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Is it my imagination, or is there no sound in JSMESS?

    • Matthew Hughes
      November 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Nope. There's some sound issues.

  10. KT
    November 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Love the site! My wife and I have been destroying a bunch of classics, some I haven't played since the early 80's. Elevator action, Galaga, Satan's Hollow, Venture, Dig-Dug, Pitfall 1-2, etc. It even recognizes the xbox usb game pad for most games. Our productivity has fallen off dramatically since you posted this article!

  11. Dynaburg
    November 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Is there supposed to be sound for any of the games?

    • GodSponge
      November 6, 2014 at 6:00 am

      It says on the site that sound isn't emulated yet but they are working on it.

    • Rich
      November 7, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Play it in the latest version of Google Chrome and sound will work. It's working for me.

  12. Leopardmask
    November 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    The controls on Crystal Castles are weird.

    • Matthew Hughes
      November 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      How so?

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