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.

 

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November 2013 PlayStation Plus Free Games in North America Include Resogun, Soul Sacrifice, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen


These games will hit the Instant Game Collection at various times throughout the month, so check back every Monday morning to see all the benefits of your membership.

ResogunContrast

Ibb and ObbDragon's Dogma Dark ArisenBinary Domain

Soul SacrificeOddworld Stranger's Wrath HD

Click here for a list of the latest PlayStation Plus content

November PlayStation Plus Preview

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Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (PS3)

PS Plus - Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $39.99
An epitaph speaks of another’s demise…A mysterious island known as Bitterblack Isle appears off the coast of Gransys. Its depths have claimed the lives of many Arisen their voices still haunt the labyrinth that lies deep beneath its surface–a labyrinth ripe with secrets waiting to be discovered. The time to take up arms has come once again. Delve into the isle’s depths and uncover its dark secret!

Ibb & obb (PS3)

PS Plus - Ibb and Obb

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $9.99
ibb & obb is a two player cooperative game set in a puzzle filled world where gravity goes both up and down. You can only succeed by working closely together. Find a friend for some true local cooperative couch fun or match up online. Fall up and jump down through 15 levels filled with double gravity puzzles and discover the 8 hidden worlds that will test your new non-Newtonian skills to the maximum.

Resogun (PS4)

PS Plus - Resogun

Free for PS Plus members
RESOGUN is an intense fast-paced shoot em’ up developed exclusively for the PS4 system. Unleash a diverse array of devastating weapons including lasers, missiles, overdrive, and nova-bombs to blast hordes of enemies and rescue the last survivors from distant galactic colonies that are under ruthless attack from an evil alien invasion force.

Contrast (PS4)

PS Plus - Contrast

Free for PS Plus members
Contrast is a 2D/3D puzzle/platformer, set in a 1920′s vaudevillian, film noir dreamscape, full of cabaret, illusion and performance. You play as Dawn, the imaginary friend of a little girl, Didi, and you have the power to shift from the 3D world into a 2D shadowscape, by becoming your shadow. As Didi’s imaginary best friend, you must use your shadow shifting abilities to solve complex puzzles, in order to help Didi investigate the secrets that lie behind her troubled family.

Binary Domain (PS3)

PS Plus - Binary Domain

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $19.99
Created by Toshihiro Nagoshi, the man behind some of SEGA’s most well-known video game franchises including the critically acclaimed Yakuza series, Binary Domain puts players in the middle of a fast paced and intense battle for humanity in a robot-filled 2080 Tokyo. Fighting through the derelict lower levels of the city, players control an international peace-keeping squad that soon starts to question their surroundings and the choices they make. Are the robots becoming more human, or are humans becoming more like machines?

Oddworld: Strangers Wrath (PS Vita)

PS Plus - Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $14.99
In the dusty, undeveloped wastelands of Western Mudos, cantankerous townsfolk find their settlements besieged by belligerent outlaws. Along comes Stranger, a tall, dark and enigmatic bounty hunter with a mission to capture troublemakers and scoundrels and return them to civilized townships for incarceration.

Soul Sacrifice (PS Vita)

PS Plus - Soul Sacrifice

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $35.99
Prepare yourself for a brutal combat experience where every decision made will have consequential results. Take on the role of a slave who is about to be sacrificed stumbles upon a forbidden book that allows its readers to relive battles between sorcerers and monsters of the past. In order to use the magic during fierce battles, the player must be willing to make a sacrifice – ranging from personal belongings, a limb, or even a life.

 

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October 2013 PlayStation Plus Free Games in North America Include Hotline Miami, Shadow of the Colossus HD, More


This month Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is entering the Instant Game Collection. With a tale crafted by NY Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, stunning visuals from Todd McFarlane, and a customizable combat system, Reckoning has a lot to offer RPG fans. The mix-and-match combat means you can get your magic fix while also smashing things in the face with a hammer, or stabbing them with a sword and other various pointy weapons.

Sine Mora on PS VitaKingdoms of Amalur Reckoning on PS3Poker Night 2 on PS3Shadow of the Colossus on PS3Hotline Miami on PS Vita

You may remember that last month we added Team Ico’s original cult classic ICO to the IGC, so their equally beloved sequel Shadow of the Colossus seemed like a natural follow-up. Slaying the majestic Colossi should make you feel something (read: incredibly guilty), but hey, you gotta save your #1 girl, right? In a completely different vein, Plus members will also receive Poker Night 2, which is an amusing twist on the classic card game. With GLaDOS as the dealer and opponents like Claptrap from Borderlands and Ash from Army of Darkness you can sit back, have a laugh and bet all your fake money away.

PS Vita owners are in for a couple treats – both the gorgeous shmup Sine Mora and the critically acclaimed top-down shooter Hotline Miami are joining the Instant Game Collection later this month. Sine Mora boasts stunning backdrops and cinematics as well as a slightly different shoot-em-up mechanic – you are in a constant race against the clock and the only way to get more time is to kill enemies. Hotline Miami embraces hardcore twitch-based play, which means you may need to repeat levels multiple times, but once you get through it it’s incredibly satisfying. Since Hotline Miami is a Cross-Buy title, you’ll be able to download it for both PS Vita and PS3.

These games will hit the Instant Game Collection at various times throughout the month, so check back with us every Monday morning for that week’s update.

October PlayStation Plus Preview

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PS3)

PlayStation Plus: October Preview

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $19.99
Immerse yourself in an all-new massive universe from the minds of bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, world-renowned artist Todd McFarlane, and legendary game designer Ken Rolston. Choose your path and battle through a sprawling master-crafted world featuring some of the most intense, responsive, and customizable RPG combat ever.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS3)

PlayStation Plus: October Preview

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $19.99
Experience a majestic journey through ancient lands, on a quest to bring a girl back to life. The only way to save her is to slay sixteen Colossi. Explore expansive landscapes and seek out each gigantic beast in its own natural habitat. Armed with only a sword, a bow, each Colossus presents a unique challenge to test your wits, determination, and skill.

Poker Night 2 (PS3)

PlayStation Plus: October Preview

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $9.99
The chips are down and the ante is up in this sentence already bursting with poker clichés! Take the fifth seat in Poker Night 2, at a table featuring Claptrap (Borderlands 2), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Ash (Army of Darkness) and Sam (Sam and Max series). Your dealer is GLaDOS (Portal), but at no point will you be considered as a candidate for a visit to Aperture Science’s Enrichment Center. Unless you lose.

Hotline Miami (PS Vita/PS3, Cross-Buy)

PlayStation Plus: October Preview

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $9.99
Hotline Miami is a high-octane action game overflowing with raw brutality, hard-boiled gunplay and skull crushing close combat. Set in an alternative 1989 Miami, you will assume the role of a mysterious antihero on a murderous rampage against the shady underworld at the behest of voices on your answering machine.

Sine Mora (PS Vita)

PlayStation Plus: October Preview

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $9.99
SINE MORA is a horizontal shoot’em up that provides a unique take on challenge, where time is the ultimate factor. Mixing classic shooter sensibilities with contemporary presentation, SINE MORA is a gorgeous shmup that offers a Story Mode that weaves an over-the-top tale and an Arcade Mode that provides deep, satisfying gameplay to challenge fans of the genre. With many ways to manipulate time, SINE MORA features over 60 weapon combinations to complete each beautiful stage that form fits to the player’s skills with scaling difficulty.

 

Postmortem: choose a victim, change a nation in this free PC game about politics and power


In free JRPG-looking politic-em-up Postmortem you play Death, and you are on your way to a dinner party to kill someone. Your orders are to kill only one person, it doesn’t matter who; The Secretary has told you so. Perhaps the world has been encased in some sort of Malthusian Deadlock. But as you begin to develop an uncharacteristic curiosity about the guests, engage them in discussion, and investigate the documents and trinkets of the venue, you enact an oddly human bias. You realise that who you kill might have a greater impact than just having a waiter drop his hors d’oeuvres. But is your curiosity shifting history down another track? Is your very interest sending a cosmic ripple down the trouserleg of time? Right from the menu screen’s orchestral, foreboding, almost overbearing adaptation of Pop Goes The Weasel from Kevin MacLeod, you feel like whatever you do in this game, something awful is going to happen.

It’s October 18th, 1897, and local businessowner Bill Seldon is holding a Gala for a vandalised school. You enter the fundraiser to find various attendees with vocal political views: those with very firm ‘OldAger’ views of tradition and socialism, and ‘NewAger’ opinions of progress and capitalist ravagement. There have already been factories and small businesses blown up in protest by a militant arm of OldAgers who want fair wages and workers’ rights, and this Gala is not without tensions between patrons. They say never talk politics, religion or money at a party, but two of those three dominate affairs as you move from room to room, talking with guests and quietly judging them.

Postmortem is the brainchild of lead developer Jakub Kasztalski, whose interest in politics has strongly shaped Postmortem’s narrative and outcomes. Very text-heavy, Jakub’s background in Comparative Ethnic Conflict, which he studied in Northern Ireland, really shows through in the scraps of paper, leaflets and books you will read and the dialogue you will take part in throughout. “I’ve always loved videogame development. I used to work at a games studio for two years. And so a lot of what I learned [in my Masters in Ethnic Conflict] was inspirational to me personally,” Kasztalski says.

The transplanting of pronouns for fictional places and people like “Antrim”, “Thatcher”, and others might seem a tad hamfisted as signposts initially, but by the end of the game it becomes apparent that the narrative structure has been much more nuanced than you might have initially assumed, and point towards a deep awareness of real-world conflict and the paths nations can take. “It’s not so much whom you choose,” Kasztalski explains. “but how you choose, in the sense that… is it fair for me to decide? Who gives me the right? How much of an educated guess without education?” Interesting too, that in Kasztalski’s experience, games have done very little in the way of exploring how to resolve conflict without violence, or placed too much importance on a win/lose state. “A lot of my testers were looking at – how do we win? How do we fix the conflict, you know? That doesn’t surprise me,” Kasztalski muses. He goes on to cite The Walking Dead as a big inspiration, and talks of his ideas on implementing statistics at the end of the game so you can compare your choices with fellow players.

The complexity of Postmortem’s characters is especially noteworthy. Games have a real tendency to portray characters as being either palpably virtuous or sinister, but in Postmortem it is difficult to be put off by even the most extreme political views – not only are the characters written polite and conversational, but also they have a realistic mix of conservative and liberal thought processes, making concessions to some ideas, ruling others out, and sometimes even being particularly hypocritical. Of note is Ophelia Thatcher, whose views on women having better representation in politics and broadcast media is certainly laudable, and I felt myself nodding along, the first stirrings of Feminism and Votes For Women brewing in her and all that – and then later she makes remarks about how awful immigrants are. And I was suddenly reminded: people can be hypocritical and exist in power hierarchies – why is it so strange that this videogame character might hold hypocritical views, when they would in reality? The greatest triumph here is that the conversations you have are not leading in any manner and flow naturally, which happens little elsewhere in videogameland.

The structure of the game is interesting: when you eventually pick your murder, a series of newspaper stories then inform you of the fallout from the Gala event. When at last you are aware of how your presence as Death was interpreted by the guests (even the dead one), you come to understand how nuanced the conversation branches were, and how they were not exactly what you expected. There is a huge emphasis on freedom of choice. “A lot of people were like ‘Well what’s stopping people from picking a person and ending the game in two minutes?’” Kasztalski says. “And I was looking at them thinking, ‘Why should they be stopped’?” And it is a very replayable game, in terms of looking at the subtle outcomes that are interpreted by your choices.

Though the JRPG art and classical music is fairly rudimentary – Kasztalski tells me is constantly evolving as it is developed – the writing (though there is a lot of it, and it is quite dry) is good, laid on thick like political jam. It was refreshing to not be completely patronised by a game, to be treated like a critical reader. The only disappointment for me was that there weren’t more interesting artifacts to examine, more shocking mysteries to uncover, and that there weren’t more characters in the world to explore. It’s very short game, and though it must have taken a long time to construct, it only takes about an hour and a bit to play. I’m looking forward to this being polished up, and being held up as an example of how to write nuanced characters with a reach into complex late-game branching narratives. An excellent little slice of intrigue that is worth a look. It’s coming out later this month, entirely for free, perhaps with small bonus extras for a little donation.

Postmortem is looking for upvotes on Steam Greenlight. Find out more about the game on Postmortem site.

August 2013 PlayStation Plus Free Games in US/CA Include Hitman: Absolution, Runner2


hitman absolution

As we’ve come to expect, the PlayStation Plus free games for August 2013 in North America were unveiled today – 5 days into the month and one day before the first freebie – revealing that we can expect Hitman: Absolution to replace Battlefield 3 tomorrow, August 6th.

Here’s every game leaving and entering the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection in August 2013:

Leaving the Instant Game Collection

  • Battlefield 3 (PS3) – August 6th
  • Labyrinth Legends (PS3) – August 13th
  • Gods Eater Burst (PSP, PS Vita compatible) – August 20th
  • Malicious (PS3) – August 20th
  • Dokuro (PS Vita) – August 27th

Entering the Instant Game Collection

Be sure to check our PlayStation Plus updates every Monday and Next Week on the US/CA PSN updates every Thursday to learn when the other four titles will be joining the Instant Game Collection.

What do you think of the August 2013 line up? Let us know in the comments below.

[Source]