Today the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to archiving books, movies, music and other knowledge, has announced that they are making available a wealth of free games from early consoles for people to play on their website. The games come from early home consoles such as the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision and the Magnavox Odyssey, and are all available to play for free through the use of the JSMESS emulator system.
The Archive, which also runs the popular web archive Wayback Machine, has said that all games (of which there are hundreds) are playable on most browsers as part of ‘The Console Living Room’, the newest edition of their Software Collection – and while none of the games currently contain sound, the feature will be added soon. The project, which includes many popular titles such as Space Invaders, Frogger and Pacman, is intended to “harken back to the revolution of the change in the hearth of the home, when the fireplace and later television were transformed by gaming consoles into a center of videogame entertainment.”
The page also includes overviews of the 5 consoles, and a section which allows users to review the games, which are playable with a mouse and keyboard – and the Archive promises that more games and consoles will be added soon.
The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in September 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and ROM cartridges containing game code, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. The console was originally sold as the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System.
Following the release of the Atari 5200, in 1982, the VCS was renamed “Atari 2600”, after the unit’s Atari part number, CX2600. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game—initially Combat and later Pac-Man.
The Atari 2600 was wildly successful, and during much of the 1980s, “Atari” was a synonym for this model in mainstream media and, by extension, for video games in general. The Atari 2600 was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York in 2007. In 2009, the Atari 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN, who cited its remarkable role as the console behind both the first video game boom and the video game crash of 1983, and called it “the console that our entire industry is built upon.”
|The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in September 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and ROM cartridges containing game code, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in.|
|The Atari 7800 ProSystem, or simply the Atari 7800, is a video game console officially released by Atari Corporation in January 1986. The 1986 launch is sometimes referred to as a “re-release” or “relaunch” because the Atari 7800 had originally been announced in May 1984, to replace Atari Inc.’s Atari 5200, but a general release was shelved due to the sale of the company. In January 1986, the 7800 was relaunched and would compete that year with the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Master System. It had simple digital joysticks and was almost fully backward-compatible with the Atari 2600, the first console to have backward compatibility without the use of additional modules. It was considered affordable at a price of US$140.|
|The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries’ second generation home video game console, which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered near-arcade-quality graphics and gaming style along with the means to expand the system’s basic hardware. Released with a catalog of 12 launch titles, with an additional 10 games announced for 1982, approximately 145 titles in total were published as ROM cartridges for the system between 1982 and 1984.|
|The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey² and the Philips Odyssey², and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978. In the early 1970s, Magnavox was an innovator in the home video game industry. They succeeded in bringing the first home video game system to market, the Odyssey, which was quickly followed by a number of later models, each with a few technological improvements (Magnavox Odyssey Series). In 1978, Magnavox, now a subsidiary of North American Philips, released the Odyssey², its new second-generation video game console.|
|The Astrocade is a second generation video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the videogame division of Bally. It was marketed only for a limited time before Bally decided to exit the market. The rights were later picked up by a third-party company, who re-released it and sold it until around 1983. The Astrocade is particularly notable for its very powerful graphics capabilities for the time of release, and for the difficulty in accessing those capabilities.|