Run vintage software in your browser with the Internet Archive's Historical Software Archive

By on October 28, 2013, 5:00 PM
software, internet archive, historical software archive, jsmess emulation

If you’ve been yearning to replay some classic PC games from your childhood or perhaps want to fire up some ancient utility to get an idea of where the productivity software of today originated, you likely already know that doing so isn’t a walk in the park. In the event you are able to track down old floppy disks with the necessary software still intact, it can be next to impossible to get the old software to run on a modern machine.

That’s no longer a problem thanks to the recent work of the Internet Archive’s latest project, the Historical Software Collection. Software isn’t new to the Internet Archive but the ability to run a myriad of titles right in your browser is, thanks to a JavaScript port of the MESS emulator.

JSMESS works in Chrome, Firefox, Safari and others and turns computer history into a one-click experience that helps users understand older programs and makes them available in a uniform fashion. Naturally, emulation isn’t new as there are multiple emulators to handle retro video games but where the Historical Software Archive is different is that it is for all types of software, not just games.

Additionally, the Internet Archive is a reputable establishment. That said, there aren’t a ton of software titles available just yet but the list will likely expand very soon and with any luck, it’ll become a place that hosts a whole slew of software from yesteryear for both entertainment and educational purposes.

User Comments: 7

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psycros psycros said:

Been wondering for years why we don't see more web-based emulators. Atari does it, I think maybe a handful or other companies have tried it, but it needs to be a lot more common. Maybe this is the first step.

Nima304 said:

Whelp, guess I'll be playing some old games over the next few months.

Guest said:

Nice, going to check it out now! :)

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

And if this doesn't work, I still have a 286, 4 Mb RAM, complete with 5.25" floppy & 3.5" stiffy running DOS 3.3 lying around here somewhere which I can let you have for a reasonable, erm... $1000.

Guest said:

Tested playing in a few browsers:

IE 11 (Regular/Metro) Does not work

Chrome - Loads quicker than Firefox but plays slower than Firefox

Firefox - Loads slower than Chrome but plays faster than Chrome


I was hoping to find the original Wipeout from 1995... not that old I guess but it was still a fun game.


I was hoping to find the original Wipeout from 1995... not that old I guess but it was still a fun game.

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