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Play 900 classic arcade games in your web browser, right now

Some 900 classic arcade games are now available for you to play, all you need is a web browser, and if you're reading this, you're probably good to go.

They're all housed for posterity over at The Internet Archive, thanks to the efforts of Jason Scott and those who worked JSMESS (or JavaScript Mess) a massive emulation project meant to port a multiplatform emulator into the JavaScript language. JSMESS has been successful at booting into a wide range of computers, and that left Scott wondering if arcade platforms could be supported.

"I decided to futz around with our build environment (which, it must be absolutely stressed, the other JSMESS team members built, not me), just to ask the question, "And how hard would it be to build arcade games, anyway?" Scott writes. "It turned out to be easy. Very, very easy."

More video games than you could ever play

The result is The Internet Arcade, which he announced this morning on his personal blog. The link is here, and it's a solid bet something you remember from the halcyon days of birthday parties at minigolf or the local pizzeria is in here.

That said, while many of the games were port-able, no guarantee is made that all are fully playable. Some had exotic controls or controllers, for example, that just don't translate well to a keyboard layout. In other cases, vector graphics have trouble rendering, and still in others, the sound is glitched (like Jungle Hunt.) But many still are perfectly playable (BurgerTime, anyone?).

They follow the standard MAME convention where 5 on your keyboard deposits the credit and 1 begins a 1-player game, with the arrow keys moving in those directions and the keys to the left or right of the space bar serving as action buttons. A lot will need figuring out, but that's the gist of it.

"Obviously, a lot of people are going to migrate to games they recognize and ones that they may not have played in years.," Scott writes. "They'll do a few rounds, probably get their asses kicked, smile, and go back to their news sites.

A few more, I hope, will go towards games they've never heard of, with rules they have to suss out, and maybe more people will play some of these arcades in the coming months than the games ever saw in their "real" lifetimes.

And my hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage, will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts. Time will tell.

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