Internet Arcade: 900-plus old-school games playable from your laptop

If your version of living the dream is playing hundreds of retro arcade games for free on your laptop then thank the folks at the Internet Archives.

On Saturday, the vast digital library announced the release of the Internet Arcade, which has translated more than 900 old arcade games into versions you can now play in your Web browser. In your pajamas. Without any coins.

The archive’s titles are from the 1970s through 1990s, and include classics like Pac-Man Plus, Defender, Q*bert, Street Fighter II and Atari favorites like Paperboy and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


The project is an outgrowth of a larger, decades-long project called JSMESS, which emulates hundreds of different computer systems, says Jason Scott, who worked on the Internet Arcade project.

“Earlier this year, I decided to futz around … just to ask the question, ‘How hard would it be to build arcade games, anyway?’ ” Scott writes on his blog. “It turned out to be easy. Very, very easy.”

Still, Scott says, it took months of testing and improvements from a lot of people before the archive of games was ready to be released.

“Some are in pretty weird shape,” Scott writes, but “in the right browser, on a speedy machine, it almost feels perfect.”

Tens of thousands of people have now visited the Internet Arcade, he says.

Scott says he’s hoping to get help “refining” the site as users test out the games. He also says he hopes some will eventually use the archive of old games for research purposes.

“Until then,” Scott writes, “game is on.”

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