More than 2,500 MS-DOS games have been uploaded to the Internet Archive’s Software Library, including Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream — based on Ellison’s short story of the same name — and Infogrames’ Alone in the Dark. There are now 6,934 games in the Software Library, headlined by Sim City, Wolfenstein 3D, and the original goose game, Mixed-Up Mother Goose.
Jason Scott, of the Internet Archive, said in a blog post the Oct. 13 upload is the biggest yet — “ranging from tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago.” The game come from MS-DOS project eXoDOS, which hosts 7,000 games.
What makes the collection more than just a pile of old, now-playable games, is how it has to take head-on the problems of software preservation and history. Having an old executable and a scanned copy of the manual represents only the first few steps. DOS has remained consistent in some ways over the last (nearly) 40 years, but a lot has changed under the hood and programs were sometimes only written to work on very specific hardware and a very specific setup. They were released, sold some amount of copies, and then disappeared off the shelves, if not everyone’s memories.
Other games available in the new update include Millennium Interactive’s Mr. Blobby, a 1994 platformer with three characters (Mr. Blobby, Mrs. Blobby, and Baby Blobby), and Coktel Vision’s 1993 point-and-click adventure Ween: The Prophecy.
You can play all these games right in the Internet Archive browser window, but Scott said that some games have a large amount of data, thanks to the CD-ROMs these games were originally on, that will force computers to hold “multi-hundred-megabyte files into memory” — something that’ll slow things down.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to load up Mixed-Up Mother Goose and relive my childhood. It is, after all, the first game I’d ever played, holed up in my father’s office fighting for screen time.