As technology has moved on, the ability to view or play old games and software has, at times, become a bit of a convoluted procedure. While YouTube allows us to reminisce, our attempts to play those old DOS-based games usually require us to employ an additional piece of software such as DOSBox, just to get the games playing at anything less than hyperspeed.
Internet Archive, the website that brought us WayBack Machine, is making it that little bit easier for us to recapture our productivity and gaming youth by releasing the Historical Software Collection. And what’s even better is, it’s all free.
While still in its infancy, it can’t be denied that this is a truly remarkable project to both undertake and provide. Software that changed the business world, such as Wordstar and Visicalc, is available. While mostly useless in comparison to Microsoft Office suites, Google Docs and Open Office, it’s a software lover’s dream to be able to see how the major players started, innovated and ultimately moved on from the roadblocks and restrictions that were provided with older programming languages.
And speaking of players, who can’t wait to get playing Atari’s "ET" through their browser?! Okay, we are joking with that one. But with games such as "Choplifter," "PAC-MAN" and "The Hobbit" available, it can’t be denied that Internet Archive are onto a winner with this offering.
We know that people will argue that this content has been available for years, mainly in the form of emulators or by virtualising older operating systems and software. The argument against these methods of running and playing software and games is generally the illegality of it, or it's simply frowned upon by the copyright holders. With the Historical Software Collection being free, you get experience some of the gems (and, to be blunt, the turds) that have graced our systems in days gone by without any of the legal issues. We can only hope that interest in the site grows and more and more popular software is added.
We don’t know about you, but here’s hoping for legal and perfect copies of browser based Mario Kart fun!