The Internet Arcade collects a wide selection of titles, both well-known and obscure, ranging from black and white Bronze Age classics like 1976’s sprint 2 up to the start of the early 90s fighting game boom Street Fighter II. In the middle are a few historical rarities, such as foreign Donkey Kong bootleg Crazy Kong and the hacked “Pauline Edition” of Donkey Kong which was made last year by a loving father.
The archive highlights about 300 games for their ability to “run at the right speed in a powerful browser,” but the collection of 900 ROMs includes hundreds more that are “playable in some form.” Scott notes that vector games are particularly tricky, and games that use non-standard controllers, such as trackballs, play a bit strange (although the emulator supports many USB gamepads). As extensive as the collection gets, there will of course be some games that can’t be emulated on a computer anytime soon.
While most of the arcade games offered are still copyrighted, and some still see re-releases on modern consoles, the browser-based versions are offered as part of what the Archive calls “exercising our right to remember”. Many users will no doubt tinker with games they like to remember, or discover some quirky-looking titles that appeal to them. But Scott writes that he hopes a few “start plotting ways to use this stuff in research, writing, and remixing these old games to understand their context. Time will tell.”