Archive.org has significantly expanded its online game collection this month. With around 2500 newly uploaded titles from the MS-DOS era, the portal, which aims to make digital content permanently accessible, brings back many classics to the screens. The games can all be started directly here in the browser and try it for free.
Those who leaf through the titles find themselves back in time, when games were still delivered on floppy disks or CD-ROMs and often stuck in paper bags on magazines. Among the 2,500 newly added titles are some pearls, just as you encounter when scrolling through the offer but on junk like cheap "Tetris" flop, advertising programs and license flops like "Gremlins 2". Even something like this should be preserved for posterity.
Meanwhile, the number of games in the collection of Archive.org has grown to around 7,000 titles. Four years ago, the operators of the portal had put thousands of games online.
Dataset for downloads is getting bigger
Deploying games through the browser brings challenges, the Archive.org team said. For example, it was not easy to associate keystrokes with the game and not the browser itself, writes Jason Scott in a blog post. Scott has customized the MS-DOS games with the developers of the emulator project "Exodos" for the browser.
The data volume of CD-ROMs has also been a hurdle, it is said, since about 700 megabytes fit on such a CD – thereby also the download times for users have become longer. For example, "The Secret of Monkey Island" downloads around 1.5 gigabytes of browser data, which takes a few minutes.
But even if some games stutter in the practice test, sometimes the mouse hangs and keyboard inputs are swallowed: The collection is very good for a trip into the gaming world of the eighties and nineties.
Want to try a classic? Here are ten recommendations for the collection of Archive.org:
Always on the brink of: His clever gameplay made
"Lemmings" 1991 to a hit. With stoppers, bombers and parachutists, the animals with the green hair must protect themselves. Under pressure, the player has to make way for the lemmings without losing too many lemmings.
"The Secret of Monkey Island" is still considered one of the best adventure games. The crude humor, the crisp puzzles and the lovingly narrated pirate story have made Guybrush Threepwood one of the biggest computer game heroes. However, patience is needed for the download: The browser must first download 1.5 gigabytes of data.
Using a wand, the player pulls "Loom" through a fairytale world and has to learn spells. The special feature: The magic works only if you remember melodies and plays the notes in the right order. "Loom" is one of Lucasfilm Games' big adventure classics alongside "The Secret of Monkey Island" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".
Tightening ropes, firing rockets and hurling balls: only creative ideas are used
"The Incredible Machine 2" to the destination. Players spent many hours in the puzzle game in 1994, scoring with comic graphics and pretty tricky tasks.
"Doom" is considered a pioneer of first-person shooter. The gloomy atmosphere, the fluid 3D graphics and the sophisticated level design made the game a hit in 1993. The violence, however, ensured that the title was indexed a year later in Germany. Only since 2011 is "Doom" no longer on the index and released for players over 16 years. In the "Ultimate" version available on Archive.org, the game has an additional nine-level episode.
"Ultima Underworld – The Stygian Abyss" began a new era in 1992, allowing the player to sneak through 3D dungeons that were calculated in real time. From today's perspective, the avatar's early adventure seems a bit cumbersome, and the chunky textures and cumbersome controls limit the fun. But role-playing was a milestone that still fascinates role-playing nostalgics today.
For those times was
"Magic Carpet" a flight simulator with pioneering 3D graphics. With fireballs you fight in the game on a flying carpet against magicians and dragons. At that time the computers cost enormous power. Nowadays, an average computer is enough to dive into the oriental landscape via the browser.
The story sounds weird, but the game has a lot of charm:
"The Lost Vikings" Three Vikings are kidnapped by aliens and try to escape from a spaceship. Each figure has its special abilities. To bring all three Vikings to the finish, they must work together. The genre mix still works today.
A big trend in the nineties was pinball games on the PC. But the star among the many titles was
"Epic Pinball" . With tinny voice output and scratchy sound effects the pixel tables scored among the fans. With "The Complete Collection" Archive.org provides all extensions with all pinball tables.
Surprised in 1993
"Dragon's Lair" with an extremely good graphics in the comic style. In an interactive cartoon, players have to press the right button at the right moment to make the hero survive. Who completes the game without mistakes, is finished in less than half an hour. But that rarely works. At first, regular dying is announced. If you try the game in the browser, you should be prepared for long load times.