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Toys and Tabletop Games

Internet Archive releases more than 200 retro LCD, LED games

Finally, you can play the clunky Tiger Electronics games you used to love in your browser.

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This Mortal Kombat's a bit different from the one most of us remember.

Internet Archive

Toy stores, back when they existed, used to be filled with cheaply made handheld games. These games would often be played on simple LCD displays with an array of art assets that would turn off and on depending on the player's activity. If you ever saw a kid in 1991 playing an MC Hammer game, you know exactly what we're talking about.

To save these games from languishing in landfills forever, the Internet Archive has released more than 200 retro games that use LCD, VGD or LED technology. The titles range from the obvious (Sonic the Hedgehog, Battletoads and Gauntlet) to the obscure (who's Karnov?). But the team ran into a challenge unique to these games. Unlike other gaming-preservation efforts, this project focused on games inextricably tied to their hardware.

"The plastic is such a major component of the experience that it may not be enough for some researchers and users to be handed a version of the visual output to really know what the game was like," internet historian Jason Scott said in a post announcing the archive's release.

After all, it's hard to replicate the experience of playing this pyramid in a browser.

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Yikes.

Internet Archive

Still, aside from digging through your parents' attic and finding that old handheld copy of Double Dragon, the Internet Archive is the best way to revisit these forgotten gaming relics.