E.T. Internet Archive Console Living Room

The Internet Archive rekindles early video game consoles with emulation

Let's return to December, 1979. After begging and pleading, your parents gave in and bought you that shiny new Atari Video Computer System (later renamed the Atari 2600). While snow flurried outside, you stayed inside, saving the Earth from those awful Space Invaders.

Now you can relive that possibly-fictional moment from your childhood. The Internet Archive just unveiled The Internet Archive Console Living Room, a new initiative sitting alongside the Historical Software Collection that launched earlier this year.

In total, there are 983 new games for your perusal.

Space Invaders - Atari 2600

You can almost smell 1978 from here.

An eye on the past

The Historical Software Collection aims to preserve notable software from PCs past, making it accessible to modern audiences through the Javascript Multi-Emulator Super System (JSMESS). With JSMESS, these old programs can be run right in your browser.

While the Historical Software Collection contained a few games (including the disastrous E.T.), the Internet Archive Console Living Room greatly expands the titles on offer.

Yar's Revenge - Atari 2600

Yar's Revenge—still fun, 30 years later.

"As nostalgia, a teaching tool, or just plain fun, you'll find hundreds of the games that started a billion-dollar industry," writes the Internet Archive.

Currently the Internet Archive hosts games from five early consoles: the Atari 2600 and 7800, the ColecoVision, the Magnavox Odyssey, and the short-lived Astrocade. While other (shadier) sites offered standalone ROMs of these games or emulated them in the browser, this is the first time these titles have been legally obtainable in this manner.

And don't worry—this time around you're getting a lot more than E.T.

A quick trawl through the collection reveals classics like Yar's Revenge, Donkey Kong, Spy Hunter, Joust, Defender, Centipede, and others. Oh, and the atrocious 2600 version of Pac-Man—experience the flickering ghosts for yourself!

Pac-Man Atari 2600

This is not the Pac-Man you're looking for. Unless you hate fun.

The games currently run sans-audio, but the Internet Archive promises to remedy that situation soon. "Like the Historical Software collection, the Console Living Room is in beta—the ability to interact with software in near-instantaneous real-time comes with the occasional bumps and bruises," wrote archivist Jason Scott.

He also promises, "In coming months, the playable software collection will expand greatly."

Me? I've got my hopes pinned on a Vectrex emulator.

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