Archive.org preserves history by making arcade games freely available

Once upon a time, Arcades felt like the future – darkened rooms, lit only by the bright neon of flickering monitors and soundtracked with the noise of quarters falling down payslots.

These days, that legacy of flashing lights, dim rooms, and the steady hum of hundreds of CRT monitor-laden arcades is largely forgotten. Many of the remaining arcades are less for enthusiasts and more for accompanying pool and sports bars, and occasionally offering large ticket rooms where players can claim prizes for the half the money they spent on getting the tickets. Relics of the past, certainly, but thanks to Archive.org Internet Arcade project, not forgotten.

Archive.org describes this project as “The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package.” MAME as an emulator platform is familiar to almost anyone with an interest in emulation. It’s a common platform, and does has a vast range of support for arcade games, though the specifics are sometimes arcane and requiring significant work to make things work accurately. The Internet Arcade even goes so far as to show the boot-up sequences and diagnostic information that happens on first boot, showing onlookers a side of arcades they would rarely see otherwise.

The fact that there’s an archive where these games of future past are freely available and easily accessed is fantastic, especially when considered that some of these might have become entirely lost without this.

Such as it is, when combined with their Classic PC Games and Console Living Room sections, there is a lot of classic and retro-gaming out there and available, whose existence is both as a playable medium and as historical chronicles is good for the culture as history, but also as a medium for fun.

Taylor Hidalgo

Taylor Hidalgo

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Taylor is a freelance writer, recreational reader, and enthusiastic conversationalist. He can be frequently found rambling on Twitter, writing on his blog, or playing too many shooters on Steam.
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