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Classic games now preserved, accessible on

Classic games now preserved, accessible on

October 25, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

October 25, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design

The Internet Archive has announced the Historical Software Archive, a curated collection of historically significant older software runnable in a browser -- including many games.

The collection is made possible through JSMESS, a Javascript port of the Multi Emulator Super System (MESS), which enables computer users to play increasingly inaccessible older software from a wide range of platforms. JSMESS ports that emulation to most modern browsers (currently Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer), allowing for exceedingly straight-forward emulation.

"We have the ability to watch video, listen to music, and read documents right in our browsers," says Jason Scott, the Internet Archive's software curator as well as one of the JSMESS project organizers. "Not so with classic software... Until now."

The Historical Software Archive's initial collection consists of a few dozen works, spanning "peak-of-perfection designs to industry-crashing classics." Included in the collection are games ranging from Roberta Williams's Mystery House and Jordan Mechner's Karateka to Atari's famously misbegotten E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, among many other titles.

"Turning computer history into a one-click experience bridges the gap between understanding these older programs and making them available in a universal fashion," says Scott. "Accessibility is where knowledge and lives change for the better. The JSMESS interface lets users get to the software in the quickest way possible."

You can start exploring the Historical Software Archive here.

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