Internet Archive announced Sunday that it added 2,500 more games to its catalog of MS-DOS titles. The organization said this expansion (which is the biggest since this project started in 2015) makes everything from “tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago” available right in the browser.
Internet Archive software curator Jason Scott tried to set expectations low in the announcement. “Sometimes, the emulations are slower than they should be, especially on older machines,” he said. “Not all games are enjoyable to play. And of course, we are linking manuals where we can but not every game has a manual.” It turns out preserving MS-DOS games isn’t a cakewalk.
There’s no wonder: Microsoft shipped MS-DOS from August 1981 to September 2000. (Although some of those later releases were merely bundled with Windows to offer backward compatibility with some hardware and, yes, games.) Internet Archive’s efforts require it to catalog games made for multiple versions of the operating system running on various hardware configurations.
Not that Internet Archive’s working to preserve MS-DOS games on its own. Scott explained that Internet Archive’s efforts rely on the eXoDOS project that’s made it possible to emulate more than 7,000 titles. He’s spent the last few years bringing some of those games to the Internet Archive “for research, entertainment and quick online access.”
Scott highlighted some of the titles added Sunday—including Super Munchers: The Challenge Continues, Digger, and more—in his announcement. The full catalog of MS-DOS games can be found on the Internet Archive’s website.