The Internet Archive Launches the Console Living Room

MESS_in_a_browser

No sound yet, but I could play this Frogger port just fine.

The BBC reports that the Internet Archive is taking a huge step towards preserving more of gaming’s distant past, this time in the form of the Console Living Room.

Using a java-port of MESS (JMESS) for the in-browser emulation, the Archive has both collected and made playable a large group of titles for the following consoles:

  • Atari VCS/2600
  • Atari 7800
  • The ColecoVision
  • Magnavox Odyssey
  • The Astrocade

So far, their emulation doesn’t do sound and it can be spotty, but it’s a fantastic initiative in preserving the past on their part.

I tried running Alien for the 2600 and the MESS browser just sat there. But Frogger, above, ran just fine. There are also links to documentation (where available) that actually tie back to scanned copies of the original manuals — not walls of text — which preserves samples of the illustrated portion for the experience when it came to packaging presentation.

One other thing that’s nice about an initiative like this is the convenience in findig all of those consoles in one spot instead of scattered around the ‘net on different sites, or requiring specific emulators to run, etc.. It also adds another layer of welcome data redundancy.

As they work on getting their emulation up to speed, it’ll be a great addition to protecting the history that many other sites — from Virtual Atari to The Odyssey 2 Homepage — are also attempting to save and give back to succeeding generations. So give them a visit and see if any of the games scratch a bit of that nostalgia, or curiosity, in taking a brief look at how the games and hardware were like decades ago at the dawn of the industry.

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