Play Hundreds of classic console games online, free

Thanks to the good people at the Internet Archive, classic console video games like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Asteroids, Dig Dug, and Pac Man are now fully playable online. The games, released as the Internet Archive Console Living Room, are also available for free downloads. They don’t have sound yet, but the archive promises to get that up and running soon. And even though the collection isn’t complete at this point, the archive promises to expand it “in the coming months.” Because the archive has versions of each game available in an browser-based emulator, you can jump right in to the game of your choice without downloading any specialized software.

ET: It hasn’t improved with age. 

Right now, the archive contains a selection of games from the Atari 2600, Atari 7800 ProSystem, ColecoVision, Magnavox Odyssey and Astrocade. The selection is particularly abundant for the Atari consoles, but as the archive notes, “there were many not-excellent cartridges produced for the Atari 2600,” meaning that some of these games aren’t really worth the time to get to know. For instance: the archive contains ET: The Extra Terrestrial, a game so bad that someone made a documentary about its failure. On the other hand, there’s always Frogger, which is still excellent.

Some of the games even come with the original manual, which if nothing else, gives a good glimpse at the conceptual imagination behind the very sparse graphics game designers had to work with at the time.

The Internet Archive’s project is aimed at preserving a widely-unavailable software phenomenon, as the consoles and cartridges needed to play these games have largely disappeared. The rise of the home console, as they note, more or less destroyed the popularity of arcades, especially once console graphics began to approach the look of arcade offerings. And as each console evolved, the previous generations also gathered dust or were tossed out.

Players will note that the controls vary widely by console: the Internet Archive does a pretty good job explaining how the games have adapted from, say, a joystick control to a standard keyboard. And even though these games are old, the Internet Archive recommends players use the most up-to-date browser possible.



Good old days weren’t so good – Mark Cerny

PS4 architect says indie scene not like his start, talks about massive Atari infrastructure, making “shovelware” for Sega.


Between creating Marble Madness and helping design the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny has seen the process of making games transform time and again over his career. And while the growing popularity of independently developed games is bringing some development team sizes back to where they were when he first started, Cerny told Game Informer the parallels between the two eras pretty much end there.

“It is absolutely not like us back in those days,” Cerny said when asked if current indie studios reminded him of his early years. “So Atari was one-person teams, or two-person teams. But because it was coin-operated games, there was dedicated hardware, and those cabinets cost $3,000.”

As a result, there was a huge amount of infrastructure built up around each game, Cerny said, with multiple levels of management tracking and green-lighting the work from a single programmer. Developers were similarly stifled at Sega, where Cerny worked on games like Kid Chameleon and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

“If you look at what we were doing at Sega, that was, in some sense, I hate to say it, shovelware,” Cerny said. “It was one programmer, one designer, three months, and you just shipped it. And the quality was low and they didn’t care. That is so far from what we call indie today, which is a labor of love and you never know when it will be done. It’ll be done when it’ll be done, when it achieves the creator’s vision.”

As system architect for the PlayStation 4, Cerny was also asked about any misconceptions regarding the soon-to-launch system that he would like to clear up.

“John Carmack came out recently and said that the [Xbox One and PS4] console hardware seems to be about the same level of performance,” Cerny said. “I think that probably the power of the PS4 is a little bit underappreciated there in that statement. But you have to take it from John Carmack’s perspective. This is a man who builds spaceships, right? So from his perspective, he’s 20 years out in the future looking back, and they all kind of look the same.”

Cerny didn’t seem to take the slight too personally, calling Carmack a “true genius,” citing his work on engines as evidence of an “unbelievable” level of vision.



Does gaming risk a repeat of the 1983 crash?

Superdata warns that console market may be saturated, gamers resistant to buying next-gen systems.


The marketing push for next month’s Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launches is beginning to ramp up, but not everyone is sold on the new consoles just yet. In a new report prepared by Superdata and released by Digital River, the research firm warned that the market for consoles is already crowded, with 79 percent of gamers already owning a console, and that group having an average of 2.6 consoles each. The report was based in part on a March survey of 1,105 respondents.

“Industry veterans will remember the crash of 1983, when the games market was saturated with hardware devices,” the report states. “Today, the industry runs a similar risk, as [with] a higher-than-ever console installed base, consumers may be resistant to adding more hardware to their living rooms.”

While the report acknowledges there are more gamers now than ever before, it suggests their habits are changing. Specifically, Superdata found gamers increasingly gravitating toward versatile, multi-purpose platforms like PCs and mobile devices. As a result, an increase in the number of gamers won’t necessarily translate into an increase in demand for consoles.

In 2008, consoles led the industry, with 42 percent of gamers playing primarily on a console platform, compared to 37 percent who favored PCs and 5 percent who gamed mostly on mobiles. The numbers have shifted significantly in the intervening years, with 51 percent of gamers now playing primarily on PCs, and just 30 percent on consoles. Meanwhile, mobile has increased its share of the market and now represents the primarily platform for 13 percent of players.

The report also highlighted the increasing shift toward digital consumption of games in the US. America’s unboxed gaming spend jumped from $1 per capita in 2000 to $14 in 2012 (with adjustment for inflation). That accounts for most of the industry’s growth over that time frame, during which overall US per capita gaming spending increased from $33 to $50.



Nintendo..Makers of Fun!

Guess what? I love Nintendo! There, I said it and I’m proud. After Atari, it was my brother who re-introduced me to gaming with the original NES back in the 80’s and after many sore thumbs, cross-eyed vision, sleepless nights and a bad cramp in my neck, I thank him and love him all the more for it. It was Super Mario Bros that did it, but then again, that did it for most of us also. I also played his Top Gun and God knows what else.

What I’m saying here is that I had fun! Sure later consoles came with better graphics, more open worlds, etc..the games evolved, but that didn’t make them fun, at least not in the same way I remember when I played a Nintendo game.

Even though the company had it’s highs and lows, I always hoped for the best, I didn’t necessarily agree with the direction they took sometimes, but those decisions are what brought us Sony’s PlayStation.

It was a failed alliance by both companies when Nintendo asked Sony to make an external CD ROM for their system, when Nintendo disagreed with Sony on the direction a CD powered only system could be and the advantages it had over cartridge based games..well, the rest is history.

I don’t believe Nintendo will die anytime soon. They made an incredible comeback with an innovative and at the time laughed at console called The Wii. They may be slow making 1st party games but when they are released, they are great. Ok, so 3rd party games are lacking..they will remedy this with the power of the Wii U, “and might surprise us all over again in the process”. I am definitely looking forward to the Wii U’s release and I’m really Hyped!I can’t wait for all those haters who criticize from other companies and those so called “analysts” eat there words..again. The Wii could not support all the newer more powerful games on the market, but they knew that when it was released, but the system still gave Microsoft and Sony a run for their money AND made them and us see games and the market differently, causing them to create their own versions of motion gaming. Also, I’m sorry.. but to the people who complain that they cater to minors? Please grow up, I thought the same way..yes “we” the older 80’s generation who grew up on Nintendo and saturday morning cartoons are older now, but that doesnt mean their market is dead…children and teens still love Nintendo and look to them for fun, cute games. Nintendo is needed in an industry that caters to us adults with so many violent and bloody games. I plan on getting a PS Vita, but I must say, after I played Mario Kart 3D and Super Mario 3D on the 3DS at the NY Comic-con last yer 2011, I was sold. I really had fun, and yea..I’ll get a 3DS also .

By the way, the top image is from the new cover for Game Informer, doesn’t it make you wanna dive right in? Nintendo dead?…I think not.
Long Live Nintendo…Makers Of FUN !