Free Fun: Play Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Frogger & Other Golden Age Video Games In Your Web Browser


While I was grow­ing up in the 1990s, my par­ents’ refusal to pur­chase gam­ing con­soles gave me no choice but to nav­i­gate the age of Nin­ten­do 64 with a dod­der­ing, near­ly decade-old PC. As my friends were enthralled by the then-daz­zling graph­ics of Mario 64, I was using my lum­ber­ing mastodon of a 486/66 mhz com­put­er as a way to re-expe­ri­ence some of the best con­sole games of years past. Hav­ing down­loaded pro­grams that turned my com­put­er into a key­board-con­trolled Atari, Nin­ten­do, Super Nin­ten­do, or Sega Gen­e­sis, and hav­ing sought out the web­sites that host­ed the game files, I was mol­li­fied by play­ing Pac Man (1980), Castl­e­va­nia (1986), and Aster­oids (1979), amongst dozens of oth­ers.


Ear­li­er this year, the Inter­net Archive set aflame the hearts of nos­tal­gic gamers every­where by open­ing the His­tor­i­cal Soft­ware Col­lec­tion, mak­ing clas­sics such as Karate­ka (1984) and Akal­a­beth (1980) freely avail­able and remov­ing the need to down­load any addi­tion­al soft­ware com­po­nents. On Box­ing Day, the gen­er­ous souls at the Inter­net Archive announced a fol­low-up: the Con­sole Liv­ing Room. For those wish­ing to relive the joys of ear­ly con­soles, sourc­ing clas­sic titles and down­load­ing emu­la­tion pro­grams to turn your com­put­er into a vir­tu­al con­sole is no longer nec­es­sary. Using noth­ing more than their brows­er (Fire­fox is rec­om­mend­ed), users can enjoy the full (albeit tem­porar­i­ly sound­less) expe­ri­ence of ‘70s and ‘80s clas­sics and rar­i­ties on the Atari 2600, Atari 7800 ProSys­tem, Cole­co­V­i­sion, Mag­navox Odyssey², and Astro­cade con­soles. Quick ses­sions of Don­key Kong (1981), Aster­oids  (1987), and Mario Bros. (1988) have nev­er been eas­i­er.

For a full list of games, includ­ing Dig Dug (1984), Frog­ger (1982), and Pac Man (1983), head over to the Inter­net Archive’s Con­sole Liv­ing Room. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, check out their ini­tial announce­ment.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

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