Play Historic Games in Your Browser From the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, the nonprofit best known for its “Wayback Machine” which allows people to browse old versions of websites from years or decades earlier, has launched a new section called the “Historical Software Collection.” 

This collection features several old games from a variety of devices. Notable entries included several versions of "Pac-Man" for the Atari game console, classic adventure game "Pitfall" for Atari, and a "Hobbit" adventure game for the ZX Spectrum computer.

MORE: 10 Best Video Game Soundtracks

This collection of games is easily playable in web browsers via the MESS emulation software that mimics the programming of the original devices the games ran on.

According to the Collection’s site, “we've hand-selected a few dozen ground-breaking and historically important software products, many of whom started entire industries or pioneered new genres of programs.” 

Another notable entry is "Akalabeth" for the Apple IIc computer, the original roleplaying game from Richard Garriott, who later went on to create the venerable "Ultima" series. One infamous inclusion is the "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" game for Atari, considered one of the worst games ever made and one of the causes of the video game crash of the early ‘80s.

This isn’t the Internet Archive’s first foray into games. The site has hosted a “Classic PC Games” section for years, with over 5,000 pieces of software for computers specifically, including demos, shareware versions, and freeware versions of games. But with the Historical Software Collection, the nonprofit has begun to highlight complete games from other platforms. 

The Historical Software Collection currently only holds 28 titles, but if it follows the pattern of other collections at, it may well grow far larger.

Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Tom's Guide Staff

Tom's Guide upgrades your life by helping you decide what products to buy, finding the best deals and showing you how to get the most out of them and solving problems as they arise. Tom's Guide is here to help you accomplish your goals, find great products without the hassle, get the best deals, discover things others don’t want you to know and save time when problems arise. Visit the About Tom's Guide page for more information and to find out how we test products.

  • Teeroy32
    Cool very cool
  • wmalinowski
    “We've hand-selected a few dozen ground-breaking and historically important software products, many of whom started entire industries or pioneered new genres of programs.”

    Yet, they have like game like E.T.

  • g00fysmiley
    you have to have ET so people can see what the worst game of all time is like
  • Afrospinach
    Clicked on link looking for ET - was not disappointed :)
  • Cy-Kill
    I remember buying ET for the 2600, returned it about a day later!
  • gm0n3y
    On of my friends owns that ET game. We play it every few years just to laugh at how bad it is. It usually takes less than a minute into playing before you get stuck or it just bugs out.
  • Camikazi
    @wmalinowski E.T. was historically important since it is considered the worst game ever.
  • Brian Cooper
    Sooo retro!! Will they work with any web browser? I have all my extensions hooked up to torch browser so I'd prefer to use that.