Embracing Gaming’s Past

embracing-gaming-past2aAs much as we love to write about the latest games, there’s something to be said about the classics. You know, those games that are timeless and induce chills of nostalgia even thinking about them because you probably spent way too many hours of your childhood playing them. And while some have found new life by way of remasters – Grim Fandango being the latest example – others live in on their natural state or, at least, one that resembles the days of yore. In this post, I’d like to look at a few ways this happens or, more specifically, where this happens.

First, there’s the almighty Internet Archive, a site you should be visiting immediately if you haven’t yet. It’s an online library in every sense of the word, but you’ll find much more than literature and audio to peruse. Thanks to some clearly dedicated team members, the Archive now includes a number of sections dedicated solely to gaming. In addition to hosting a slew of classic console and arcade games, the site now boasts over 2,500 MSDOS games. You can find everything from DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D to SimCity and The Oregon Trail, all available for free play through your web browser. Given the fact there are so many titles to choose from, it’s safe to say you probably already have your hands full. But wait… there’s more? Yes.


Other sites offering free-to-play gaming – or, at least, try before you buy/spend money – exist, and they too are embracing the games of old. This is particularly evident in the always-evolving online gambling sector, which finds intriguing ways to embrace pop culture as a means of drawing in potential players. The Betfair platform, which you can view here, accomplishes this by teaming up with developers who create titles with themes based on comic book characters and films, old-school cartoons and TV shows, and, yes, video games. At this site, you can find some of your favourite Street Fighter II bruisers, such as Ken and Ryu, ready to throw down against M. Bison.

But what if you want to battle M. Bison – or, you know, any boss character in your favourite classic game – by actually playing the game as it was released? Good question, and it’s one that can be solved by waltzing out of your home to your nearby arcade (or arcade-esque location). If you’re reading this and live within driving distance of Southend-On-Sea, for example, you could stop by the retro-themed Astro City. This place is all about games (and billiards, too!), as they have cabinets for Street Fighter IV, Daytona USA, and plenty of others. It’s actually interesting to see that brick-and-mortar arcades are making a bit of a comeback, especially in the States where combination arcades and bars (known as “barcades”) are a trendy business idea.

There are, of course, other ways you can partake in and embrace gaming’s rich history, such as purchasing and playing classic games on your console of choice. But the aforementioned options hopefully offer something new and different, and if not, at least they’re a reminder that you should fire up your NES more often.

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