Archive.org: Games, movies, music, books and more.

archive.org arcade list

I don’t know about you guys but I love me some old school SEGA and Atari. I love me some awesomely good and bad arcade games. I love discovering things that I wouldn’t see in my day-to-day and that is why I’m pretty excited about Archive.org.

Archive.org is a non-profit website that is dedicated to building a digital library of past Internet websites, videos, music, games and much more. They believe in preserving our history so that we can always look back to appreciate where we have come from and, like any great library, they freely allow anyone to come access their collection. They have taken up this mantle of preservation of this digital information that has been woefully neglected for some time.

Let me tell you, this is an impressive feat. I’m vague in describing what is involved here because the amount involved is massive. They preserve websites, they allow people to“check out books in digital format to their e-readers, they have live music performances people can listen to, movies to watch and on and on. I can’t express enough that this is an incredible site that everyone should take the time to browse through every now and then.

Let me go through some particular aspects of this site to give you an idea to persuade you to take a visit.

Games? How About Some Old School Atari?

Original Gauntlet at Archive.org

I first heard of this website when they announced they released a section of the site called the Console Living Room. This part of the site is fantastic and I will spend hours here in the future when I am looking for a break inbetween articles. I only know, vaguely mind you, about the Atari systems and the SEGA systems but they have so much more than that and have systems to offer that I have never heard of.

The only complaint I’ve had so far is that their in-website emulation isn’t all that impressive. I was attempting to play Mortal Kombat II off The Master System and it was terribly laggy. I’m assuming you can circumnavigate this by downloading the software and emulating it yourself. I’m not entirely certain on this but with the amount of downloads occuring over each game I would assume this is the case.

On top of this you can also access classic PC games and old school arcade games. There are tons of games here to access and download for your pleasure. It can’t get better than that.

What About Those Movies?

The video section is incredibly expansive. With categories like cartoons, movies, new and even vlogs and videogame videos if you have an itch to watch anything they are bound to have some form of it. Just don’t expect to see this year’s top movies on the list any time soon.

 The most impressive thing about this is that they aren’t just after the most popular things out there. The largest category they have is called Community Video with over 421,000 items for you to go through. This exceeds any other category by 300,000. This section is simply about allowing anyone who is a user of the Archive to come and upload their videos to stash away through history.

Take a Moment to Read

One of the things that makes me feel particularly fond of this site is their eBook section. They proudly boast on having over six million books that anyone can access through public domain and over 500,000 eBooks specifically for users with print disabilities. With this there is literally no reason a person can’t access a book. Even more is the simple sentence they have under the Rights portion at the right hand of the screen:

Free to read, download, print, and enjoy.

That means if you find a book you know someone will like, but they can’t access the Archive or if they don’t have a computer, you can still get it to them. Just ask for enough money to print it out at your local library or get a USB drive.

Let’s Jam

The audio portion of the Archive seems to be torn between the present and the past. They have quite an impressive selection of podcasts, netlabels and audio books but their section dedicated to music goes incredibly far back into time. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at this, due to the vicious nature of modern music labels, but I had hoped to see just something I could identify within that section. I suppose this is why their most identifiable music artist, the Grateful Dead, is listed as their own section.

Final Thoughts

While I love all the content this site has, and continues to get each day, I have to say one of my favorite things about this site are the summaries of some the items. I’ll list a few of my favorite descriptions here.

Describing Fantasy made by SoftStuff in 1988:

You have your choice of a relation between man/woman, man/girl, man/boy, boy/woman, boy/girl, boy/man, boy/boy.  How's that for fulfilling your wildest fantasies and then some. Requires CGA.

Side note, from this picture in the description, I can’t imagine how this wasn’t a massive hit at the time. Who doesn’t want to feel like a complete lecher?

Creepy Game Description

Explaining Javascript on a page dedicated to detailing the JSMESS emulation program:

Currently, the most flexible runtime is current versions of Javascript, a horribly named runtime that utilizes a Turing-complete programming language to provide all manner of applications, effects and trickery to the browsing public.

Describing Femme Fatality made by Ragnarok Personal Gaming in 2002:

Ehm… eh… there is actually no story and if there was one, it would have been totally screwed as stories for fighting games usually is. You are able to control ten different female characters.