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The Internet Archive website has added another 2,500 MS-DOS games

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Another point scored for game preservation. The Internet Archive have added another 2,500 MS-DOS games you can play right in your browser.

In their official announcement, they said that while they've added a few more to their collection here and there this is the biggest yet and it ranges from "tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago".

Weren't aware of it? A lot of it is powered by Em-DOSBox, a port of DOSBox to Emscripten which then allows it to be run in a browser window. Not just that, the Internet Archive is also making use of the eXoDOS project which is attempting to catalogue and obtain practically every DOS game ever made.

It's an impressive feat though, considering the amount of tweaks and testing needed to actually get them all working. Jason Scott from the Internet Archive said they're doing it for "research, entertainment and quick online access to the programs".

You can see their archive of games sorted by the newest right here.

Hat tip to dpanter.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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17 comments
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vskye 15 October 2019 at 8:33 pm UTC
I played a few Commander Keen games yesterday. That was fun.
wvstolzing 16 October 2019 at 1:41 am UTC
Kimyrielle
mahThis project really legal?
I seems, they can't clear copyright problems.

They didn't say in their announcement, but I can't imagine that it's technically legal, at least I can't remotely begin to imagine the manpower and time needed to track down and contact hundreds of copyright holders to get the necessary permission. And even if it's abadonware, you still cannot make it available in such way without permission. Copyright law is really clear about that you cannot do ANYHING with a protected work, unless with explicit permission or when the law explicitly allows it.

OTOH, I can't see anybody suing them over it, either. These games have no commercial value anymore.

EDIT: Sorry I overlooked the fact that Jason Scott is already mentioned in the article - in any case, check out his talks on youtube.

The project is led by a somewhat eccentric & absolutely intrepid individual called Jason Scott; he has several talks posted on youtube, where he goes into quite a bit of detail regarding the challenges they face, including the legal.

Unfortunately a great many (most?) of the titles available through the in-browser emulator (mame implemented in webassembly) are broken currently -- they're aware of this; because as Jason Scott explains in one of those talks, their #1 priority nowadays is to digitize stuff, put it on the archive, and make it 'available', not necessarily fully-functional.


Last edited by wvstolzing on 16 October 2019 at 1:48 am UTC
Vulphere 16 October 2019 at 3:24 am UTC
Great news, especially if you are into vintage games!

Kudos to archive.org!
oldrocker99 16 October 2019 at 3:35 am UTC
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Nezchan
Kimyrielle
mahThis project really legal?
I seems, they can't clear copyright problems.

They didn't say in their announcement, but I can't imagine that it's technically legal, at least I can't remotely begin to imagine the manpower and time needed to track down and contact hundreds of copyright holders to get the necessary permission. And even if it's abadonware, you still cannot make it available in such way without permission. Copyright law is really clear about that you cannot do ANYHING with a protected work, unless with explicit permission or when the law explicitly allows it.

OTOH, I can't see anybody suing them over it, either. These games have no commercial value anymore.

There are a couple of Elder Scrolls games in there (I saw Daggerfall and Redguard at least), and I dunno if Bethesda are the sort to just look the other way even if they're not still selling the games.

Bethesda, several years ago, made Arena and Daggerfall free to download and play. I assume, but am not sure, that Redguard is, also.
Purple Library Guy 16 October 2019 at 7:46 am UTC
I feel like this needs the Boxtron touch.
Cyba.Cowboy 17 October 2019 at 12:20 pm UTC
Kimyrielle
mahThis project really legal?
I seems, they can't clear copyright problems.
OTOH, I can't see anybody suing them over it, either. These games have no commercial value anymore.

There's some pretty big names in there though... LucasArts (now owned by the Walt Disney Company), Sierra (now part of Activision Blizzard), EA (under a dozen different studios, including EA itself), id Software, Ubisoft, Atari (under various studios) and a laundry list of others.

Some of those companies might turn a blind eye - but I highly doubt all of them will.


[quote=Klaus]
Kimyrielle
mah[...] These games have no commercial value anymore.
Not entirely true. Some of them are being sold by GoG still. (Though in the case of Ultima VII, I think I got that on GoG for free at some point.)

There's a whole heap of them that are still for sale on GOG.com and / or Steam (mostly the former though)...


Last edited by Cyba.Cowboy on 17 October 2019 at 12:21 pm UTC
kneekoo 18 October 2019 at 6:15 pm UTC
NezchanThere are a couple of Elder Scrolls games in there (I saw Daggerfall and Redguard at least), and I dunno if Bethesda are the sort to just look the other way even if they're not still selling the games.
They're both officially free. I just don't know if they allow redistribution or streaming, but they probably won't make a case out of having them in streaming format on archive.org. We'll see.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
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