Before I even start this post, allow me to pull my pants up to my sagging nipples, check to see if my selection of music is woefully outdated and position my fist for some prime shaking at some layabout clouds that should get a job. All set? Okay then! Kids today have no idea how good they’ve got it. Games available at the drop of a credit card, downloads coming through quicker than the time it takes you to make a mug of tea thanks to fibre internet and never having to actually go outside and deal with…people.
It didn’t used to be this way! In the old day, we’d have to go to a shop to purchase games! Games that came on physical media such as DVDs, carts and for the love of Gygax that’s not a coaster it’s a floppy disk! If you can remember the era of having a mere 1.44 megabytes within which to store the data for a video game, then you’re probably a fan of the old MS-DOS library.
It’s where many a seasoned gamer got their start, embarking on text adventures, point ‘n click escapades and trying to pop their digital cherry while asking a chemist if he had any “lubbers”. You may have forgotten, but the Internet never forgets and the Internet Archive doubles down on that memory of a bygone era. If you were looking to cruise down memory lane before senility sets in, then good news! The repository of ancient data just uploaded 2500 classic MS-DOS games to its library, a collection of interactive data that includes plenty of treasures.
It’s also all free to play, and can be done right in your browser thanks to Dosbox. Delightful stuff! There are a few gems here, such as The Elder Scrolls: Redguard, Tunnel B1 and Chaos Control. Have any of these games aged well over the decades? Weeeeeeeeeeell, that’s up for debate if we’re being honest, as many of those games are still up for sale today and the legality of them being hosted online is most likely going to draw the ire of a few publishers.
The point though, is that in an age where the history of gaming may not be in as pristine a condition we’d like, sources such as the Internet Archive exist as a vault for which these games can be kept in and preserved. They’re an important part of our culture, relics which show just how far we’ve come and changed over the years. Being able to not only see them in action but physically experience them as well? That’s a history lesson that deserves to be celebrated.
Last Updated: October 16, 2019