In brief: With 2,500 playable MS-DOS titles added to the Internet Archive, it just got a lot more tempting to take a nostalgic trip back to the '80s and '90s and play your favorite games from the era, conveniently in your browser.
Fans of classic PC games might want to head over to this page and browse the collection of MS-DOS titles recently added to the Internet Archive, making it the biggest update to the digital library since 2015.
Thanks to Project eXoDOS, the cataloging of DOS games has been enabled for "easy playability on modern systems to tracking down and capturing, as best as can be done, the full context of DOS games – from the earliest simple games in the first couple years of the IBM PC to recently created independent productions that still work in the MS-DOS environment," said archivist Jason Scott.
What makes this feat remarkable is how much effort of acquisition and configuration went into preserving programs that ran on very specific setups and making these available for everyone. Jason notes that many of them "were released, sold some amount of copies, and then disappeared off the shelves, if not everyone’s memories."
He further mentions adding a percentage of these games into the Emularity system on the Internet Archive for research, entertainment and quick online access. Given that this work was done by him and didn't involve the eXoDOS project, Jason also gave out his email address to help with any questions or technical concerns that users might have.
Discussing various emulating issues with browsers, he particularly stated the need to load large amounts of data from later games that were based off CD-ROMs. The audio and video enhancements brought to these titles via 700-megabyte CDs would now require a fairly robust network connection to pull their entire content into memory and hold it.
"This is going to be an enormous lean on the vast majority of Internet users out there – downloading multi-hundred-megabyte files into memory and then keeping them there, and then losing it all when the browser window closes. Network speeds will improve over time, but this is probably the biggest show-stopper of them all for many folks," noted Jason.
Among the smaller-sized games, he recommends checking out Microsoft Adventure, Mr. Blobby, Super Munchers: The Challenge Continues, Street Rod, Digger and Floppy Frenzy. That is, if you don't end up playing some of your own favorites first.