Treat yourself to games of the past at Internet Archive

Published 5:18 pm Saturday, January 10, 2015

One of my party members, Dana, died of dysentry shortly after we left Illinois. Then a bandit came and stole a majority of my ammunition and some of my food. Yet I had done well up until Snake River Crossing, where the rest of my party, Beth, Mick and Heidi, drowned when I tried to ford the river.

I was left alone, 1,000 miles from home and a long way to the Pacific Ocean. I traveled for months by myself, contracted typhoid and dysentery, and nearly drowned again before I made it to Ft. Walla Walla and then to the Dalles.

My amazing luck turned when I hit a rock while boating downriver. I drowned too.

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This wasn’t a bad run, considering I hadn’t played “Oregon Trail” for almost 15 years. I was taken back to my childhood last week when I discovered the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital libraries in the world, had added more than 2,400 new MS-DOS games to its website.

Since 2013, the Internet Archive has uploaded thousands of decades-old games to its online game emulators. For those who don’t know, emulators are computer programs that run video game software online, often illegally. I remember many hours spent at my best friend’s apartment in my teens playing Super Nintendo RPGs from Japan that were never released stateside.

Yet the programs my buddy used are ancient compared to the stuff online at Internet Archive. Even before last week, people could play games like “Tecmo Super Bowl,” “Mega Man,” “Pole Position” and “Joust.”

Now you can play even more crazy titles. Remember Michael Jackson’s video game from 1989? Yeah, you can play “Moonwalker” on your computer or at work whenever you want now.

If that doesn’t interest you, try “Qbert,” “Jetman” or “Frogger.” There’s “Sim City,” “Duke Nukem 3D,” various “Street Fighter” titles, “Castle of Dr. Brain,” “Maniac Mansion,” “Castle Wolfenstein” (And “Wolfenstein 3D”), “Golden Axe” and more.

It’s a wonderful look at older games and an opportunity for people to experience the beginnings of interactive media. Best of all, it’s available wherever a computer with online access is. I wouldn’t recommend allowing children to play on their own — the Internet Archive saves any sort of game, including adult titles.

Still, for people who played things like “Wheel of Fortune,” this is a great piece of nostalgia and a treat to spend an afternoon exploring.

—Visit the Internet Archive’s list of MS-DOS games at