1,100 Classic Arcade Machines Added to the Internet Arcade: Play Them Free Online

Once we could hard­ly imag­ine such things as video games. Then, all of a sud­den, they appeared, though for years we had to go out to bars — and lat­er, pur­pose-built “arcades” filled with video game machines — in order to play them, and we paid mon­ey to do so. When they came into our homes in the form of con­soles we could hook up to our tele­vi­sion sets, we at first felt only dis­ap­point­ment: these ver­sions of Space InvadersDon­key Kong, and Defend­er nei­ther looked nor felt much like the orig­i­nals into which we’d pumped so many coins. But only now that the tech­nol­o­gy in our homes has long since sur­passed most of the tech­nol­o­gy out­side them can we play faith­ful repro­duc­tions of all our old favorite games with­out going out to the arcade.

Not that many arcades still stand, although the Inter­net Archive has made up for that absence by build­ing the Inter­net Arcade, which we pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture a few years ago. Hav­ing made it pos­si­ble for us to play an enor­mous vari­ety of clas­sic arcade games free in our web browsers, the Inter­net Archive looks on its way to cre­at­ing not just the largest arcade in exis­tence but an infi­nite arcade, the kind that Borges would have imag­ined had he grown up in the video-game age.  Just last week, devel­op­ments in the soft­ware that pow­ers it allowed Inter­net Archive to add more than a thou­sand new machines to the Inter­net Arcade, from games for which we had to wait in line back in the day to obscu­ri­ties on which few of us have ever even laid eyes, let alone hands, before.

“The major­i­ty of these new­ly-avail­able games date to the 1990s and ear­ly 2000s, as arcade machines both became sig­nif­i­cant­ly more com­pli­cat­ed and graph­i­cal­ly rich,” writes the Inter­net Archive’s Jason Scott, “while also suf­fer­ing from the ever-present and home-based video game con­soles that would come to dom­i­nate gam­ing to the present day. Even fer­vent gamers might have missed some of these arcade machines when they were in the phys­i­cal world, due to low­er dis­tri­b­u­tion num­bers and short­er times on the floor.” You can explore the new wing of the Inter­net Arcade here, some of whose most pop­u­lar games include Puz­zle Bob­ble (bet­ter known in the West as Bust-a-Move), X‑MenMet­al Slug 5Teenage Mutant Nin­ja Tur­tles: Tur­tles in Time, and Street Fight­er Alpha 2. Maybe their sound and graph­ics no longer wow us as once they did, but the years have done noth­ing to dimin­ish their fun fac­tor — and for many of us, not hav­ing to spend our quar­ters will always be a feel­ing to savor.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Inter­net Arcade Lets You Play 900 Vin­tage Video Games in Your Web Brows­er (Free)

Free: Play 2,400 Vin­tage Com­put­er Games in Your Web Brows­er

Play a Col­lec­tion of Clas­sic Hand­held Video Games at the Inter­net Archive: Pac-Man, Don­key Kong, Tron and MC Ham­mer

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Armstrong.Carrie says:

    Care­ful­ly observe the win­ners, don’t always pay atten­tion to the losers

  • creative arcades says:

    Cock­tail arcade games are a great way to have fun and relax. They offer a unique gam­ing expe­ri­ence that com­bines the clas­sic arcade game play with mod­ern-day tech­nol­o­gy. Cock­tail arcades pro­vide an immer­sive envi­ron­ment that can be enjoyed by both adults and chil­dren alike. Not only do they pro­vide hours of enter­tain­ment, but they also offer numer­ous ben­e­fits such as improved hand-eye coor­di­na­tion, increased con­cen­tra­tion and focus, and enhanced prob­lem solv­ing skills. Play­ing cock­tail arcade games is not just about hav­ing fun; it also pro­vides play­ers with an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn new skills and devel­op their cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties.

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