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This free archive lets you get vintage video games for free

This free archive lets you get vintage video games for free
Posted at 11:30 AM, Oct 29, 2023

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Do you have fond memories of playing video games on your PC or old gaming console? If you are still bemoaning the day you got rid of Myst or your old Skylanders collection (or, like me, yearn for the days of the Sega Dreamcast), you’re in luck. It’s very possible your favorite game lives somewhere on the Internet, and you can access it courtesy of the Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization that’s building a digital library of “Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.” This repository is meant to be freely accessed by researchers and historians along with the general public, with the purpose of providing universal, barrier-free access to all knowledge. If you’ve ever used the Wayback Machine to access an article, you’ve already used the Internet Archive.

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The organization says it first archived the internet in 1996. Today, its holdings include 735 billion web pages, 41 million books and texts (they scan 4,300 per day!), 14.7 million audio recordings and 890,000 software programs. This includes the Internet Arcade, which has a library of coin-operated games, and the CD-ROM Software Library.

The CD-ROM library includes a huge amount of software that originally came to you on a CD-ROM for installation on computers or was meant to be played by console gaming systems. This software collection has more than 45,000 items in it right now.


You can go to the archive to browse its offerings — everything from single games to collections — or you can do a search for your favorite titles. They may not have everything, but it’s a good place to start a search, and you don’t have to worry about malicious or unsafe files.

Using the search function, I looked for (and found) some old favorites like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Princess Maker 2 and Doom II plus a number of Final Fantasy games. Once you’ve located them, you’ll have to check the Download Options box on the right to make sure it’s available in a format you can use. You may need to click “SHOW ALL” in that box to find an .iso file, which contains the entire contents of a CD-ROM disk.

After that, you may have to figure out what compatibility settings to use so that older files work on your current PC. Newer Windows-based computers have a compatibility mode that can help you run those programs natively or at least figure out why they’re not working. Check with Microsoft for instructions. You can also try out an emulator like DOSBox. In no time, you’ll be experiencing all the nostalgia of your glorious early days of gaming!

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This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.