The non-profit Internet Archive’s been bringing digitised collections of historic documents to the web since 1996. Since 1999 they’ve been adding media beyond old books. This month they’ve added ancient games and an emulator called JSMESS allowing you to run them in your browser.
The Internet Archive have selected from ancient software and games to bring a collection that shows the range of what early home computers could accomplish. You’ve adventure games like The Hobbit, the original PacMan, Chuckie Egg.
Each game comes with a gloss of its history and its significance within the genre. It’s an excellent project for simply getting a grasp on the context of the time these games were released.
If you want to try out some old software, you could do a lot worse than VisiCalc.
“Turning computer history into a one-click experience bridges the gap between understanding these older programs and making them available in a universal fashion,” writes the Archive’s Jason Scott. “Acquisition, for a library, is not enough – accessibility is where knowledge and lives change for the better. The JSMESS interface lets users get to the software in the quickest way possible.”
The best way to see what the Archive has to offer is simply to dive in and have a gander.