Monday, 10 November 2014

Retro News... Internet Arcade!

For a while now I've been toying with the idea of posting odd bit and pieces of retro-gaming-related news but, since I don't often participate in many related groups or forums or attend too many community events (I'm a bit of a loner I guess!), I don't really find out about most things until after everyone else. Boo hoo! :(

I was fortunate enough fairly recently, however, to unexpectedly stumble upon some absolutely fantastic retro gaming news. Perhaps everyone else already knows about this too, but it's so splendid I'm going to warble away about it anyway. The amazing non-profit Internet Archive site already had stacks of texts, books, art, videos, films, music, and all sorts of other stuff freely available to view/use, and now they have made some rather awesome additions to their sizeable vaults. The first is known as the 'Internet Arcade' and is a collection of hundreds of classic arcade games from the 70's, 80's and 90's (though mostly the early 80's) which are all fully playable via JSMAME emulation from your web browser!

There is a huge variety of titles including well known classics like Bionic Commando, Defender, Hang On, Marble Madness, Robotron, and Street Fighter II, some of my personal favourites like Arkanoid, Berzerk, Flicky, Ghosts 'n' Ghosts, Golden Axe, and Pulsar, and tonnes of lesser known titles as well. I've only tried a handful of titles so far but the emulation appears flawless and the presentation of the site itself is really nice too - simply click on a marquee from the extensive mosaic to go to that game's screen. Here there is information on the title in question, both general and technical, and a 'run' option. Just click to start the emulation and play the game which can be controlled by keyboard or any control pad if you have one connected. That's it!

Despite the fact that I, along with most other retro gamers, have various versions of MAME installed on my computer already, this discovery was still so great it knocked my socks off! Playing classic games and keeping memories of them alive is getting so simple and convenient now, but the splendidness doesn't stop there. The site also has another section called 'Console Living Room' which offers a similar service to the Internet Arcade but with home consoles instead! Yes that's right, you can now play many of your favourite console games from within your web browser too!

Here, you get the choice of a few much-loved systems such as the Atari's 2600 and 7800, the Colecovision, and Sega's SG-1000, Master System, Game Gear, and Mega Drive, as well as several lesser known systems such as the Bally Astrocade, Epoch Super Cassette Vision, and Fairchild Channel F, and even some much more obscure systems like the Super A'Can and amusingly-named Mega Duck! All of them feature a library of games that can be played in the same way as with the Internet Arcade and, while this is pretty damn awesome, it also carries with it a big risk - those of us with office jobs can now play wonderful retro games at work too!

Of course, I would never stoop to such a level, the dedicated worker that I am, but it's a temptation to know I could be playing Psycho Fox or Streets or Rage 2 instead of replying to annoying emails. Wherever we may choose to play these (mostly) fine games though, I think anyone with an interest in retro gaming owes the Internet Archive a debt of gratitude for the remarkable service they have offered us all.

There are also links above, but just to make sure you don't miss these fantastic sites:

Click here to go to the Internet Arcade
Click here to go to the Console Living Room



  1. I knew about the arcade bit, but the console living room is news to me! Had a go on a Super A'Can at the first retro event I ever went to, back in 2009, and have been wanting one ever since. Now's my chance (sort of) to fulfil those dreams!


  2. Welcome :) It sure is pretty sweet too - I was playing Psycho Fox at my desk at work! Umm, well, just for research during a break you understand (>.<)

  3. Funnily enough, I wrote FB post about Arcade a day before you published this! Didn't know about Console though, so well spotted! Have you noticed Big N absence?

  4. Yes I did notice that actually! Not too surprising I guess but I was surprised that the systems that are included have so many games available. Did you see the MD list? There are tonnes of games!