900 classic arcade games for free

2 min read

80s arcade

I wasn’t really allowed to play in arcades much as a child. I think because my parents poured far too much money into Ms. Pacman – they preferred to just buy me games for the NES than let me throw tons of quarters into a machine. But now I can experience everything I missed out on, with 900 classic arcade games available for free; you can even play them in your browser.

The Internet Arcade is an archive of coin-operated arcade games from the 1970s-1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. This is a project from Jason Scott (thanks Polygon) who basically just decided to play with JSMESS and see what he could do. Of course, not every game is perfect:

Of the roughly 900 arcade games (yes, nine hundred arcade games) up there, some are in pretty weird shape – 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.

But damn if so many are good enough. More than good enough. In the right browser, on a speedy machine, it almost feels perfect. The usual debates about the “realness” of emulation come into play, but it works.

Scott knows that plenty of people will be destroyed by their old favorite games, returning to their usual fare. However, he’s hoping that a handful will begin plotting out ways to use these games – in research, for game development or remixing these old games into modern classics. No matter what happens, it’s great that history can be preserved this way.

Who is ready for a coin-free arcade face-off? Does this get me off the hook for 900 weeks of Work Avoidance Wednesday?

Last Updated: November 3, 2014

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