Anyone with an even a slight interest in technology is no doubt aware of the rapidly changing pace of this sector of society. Everything from phones to computers have gotten smaller, faster, more reasonably priced, and capable of doing basically everything you could imagine. And that includes video game systems, which most recently entered the latest generation with the release of the Microsoft XBox One and Sony PlayStation 4. These two new powerhouses—and their still-going-strong predecessors—have led to some stunning, intricate, and overwhelmingly well-made games ranging from WWE 2K14 to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Not only that, but gamers are finding other ways to get their fix, including playing the always-improving mobile games on their smartphones. Devices like the MOGA Ace Power controller make on-the-go gaming even more enticing and intuitive. It’s like turning your phone into a portable console, something that Nintendo has obviously mastered over the years with its Gameboy and DS systems. But could they finally have some competition now after besting everyone from Nokia to SEGA? We’ll see.
But during this time of everything being more immersive, graphically jaw-dropping and the like, the old-school way of gaming hasn’t subsided. In fact, it’s found its own increasingly charming niche thanks to both indie developers and online gamers alike. In the former sect, you have games such as Resogun being developed and released to critical acclaim, when in actuality it’s really just the same side-scrolling shooter game we’ve all been playing for decades—Defender, anyone? OK, Resogun obviously is a vast upgrade compared to its game-grandfathers, but you get the point.
As mentioned, it’s not only through these newer games that the classic/retro style has found its way to a different audience. According to RedOrbit, the community at Internet Archive took it upon themselves to upload a gang of old-school consoles and games that are now freely (and legally) available for anyone to play. The announcement came the day after this past Christmas—something they joked about in the post’s headline—and the Internet Archive team is calling it, quite fittingly, the Console Living Room (or CLR).
Utilizing the JSMESS emulator technology, the CLR allows gamers of any age to simply click a few times to play their favorite or newly discovered game on the Atari 2600, the Atari 7800 ProSystem, the Astrocade, SG-100, the Magnavox Odyssey 2, and ColecoVision. Want to relive your glory days playing Pitfall, Tank Attack, or Sonic Invader? You’re covered—and then some. You can also always use it as an educational tool of sorts to introduce your kids, younger siblings, or nieces and nephews to the games you played as a youngster. If nothing else, seeing these older games brought to life without dusty cartridges and troublesome hardware will put things into perspective for them. Sure, they get bored after a few minutes, but good luck taking them away from the screen if you happen to boot up a timeless classic like Galaga or Frogger.
While it’s true that games like these – along with newer consoles, including the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis – have been “available” online for years, those have mostly been through illegal/counterfeited means. According to BBC News, these far older games fall into what they call a “legal gray area” because of their, well… age. They reported that developers and publishers often turn a “blind eye” because the original copies have either been out of print or difficult to obtain by legal means for years now. So you know what that means: guilt free gaming in every sense of the word. Just don’t blame me if you end up hooked to your computer for the next month revisiting your past.
You can play the games over at Console Living Room.