Press Play On Tape

If you’ve heard of the Internet Archive, there’s a good chance it’s because of their Wayback Machine. Since 1996, it’s been slurping up every site it has come across on the internet. The sites are archived, and everyone can browse through historically accurate versions of all the archived webpages. Wonder what Google looked like in 1998, when it only did internet searches, and wasn’t evil? The Wayback Machine’s got you covered.

But the Internet Archive is more than just the Wayback Machine. A lot more. In addition to websites, the archive contains millions of videos, audio files, images, TV shows, eBooks, text, and a whole lot more. My favorite, though? The Internet Archive Software Collection.

The software collection has close to three hundred thousand files, covering every platform from MS-DOS to the Apple II. The real gems in the collection, however, are the games. You’ll find classic arcade games, and games for platforms like the ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Amstrad GX-4000, and many more.

Now, the Internet Archive has also started archiving games for the computer that broke the European home computer market wide open: The amazing Commodore 64.

Nostalgia Overload

The C64 was the computer that marked my own transition into nerdhood. I’m not entirely sure about exactly when it happened, but at one point during my primary school years, my father brought home a C64 he’d bought from a colleague. The computer came with a virtual crap-load of games, most of which was pirated. As a primary school student with no income nor awareness of the concept of copyright, I thew myself at the computer and the was games library.

I spent what was probably an unhealthy amount of time with the C64. But it was seldom a solitary activity, and I often had other, just as nerdy, visitors over. The lovely, beige brick was my entry point to a lot of computer related topics. I wrote my very first lines of code in Commodore BASIC. The infamous Action Replay cartridge gave me my first taste of hacking. I discovered the marvelous demo scene, and the power of the majestic SID sound chip. And least, but not last, the C64 scored me my first ever girlfriend1.

The Commodore 64 is currently tucked away in my parent’s basement. One day, I’ll set it up in our own basement. But until that happens, I’ll get all my 8-bit needs covered by the Internet Archive’s C64 software library.

The Commodore 64 in all its glory.
C64 <3

Shall We Play A Game?

Yes, we shall.

As of right now, the Internet Archive’s C64 collection counts 31,928 items. It’s great that all this computer history gets preserved. But the truly amazing thing is that you don’t need a C64 to enjoy everything. With the help of emulator magic, and some dark JavaScript voodoo, you can boot up every item in a modern web browser.

The emulation is a tad wonky at times, so your mileage might vary. But if you’re in for a little adventure, here are links to some of my favorites from back in the days:

If you can’t find your own favorites in the collection yet, fear not. The Internet Archive’s Oompa-Loompas are continuously adding new content to the collection.

  1. A superficial, non-physical relationship that lasted for three weeks, until she danced with another boy at a class party. She called and dumped me when I was at home with a fever. Yes, I still remember that phone call. ↩︎


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