How's this for a late Christmas present? Five retro consoles, with their complete back catalogues. Those consoles are the Atari 2600, Atari 7800 ProSystem, The ColecoVision, The Magnavox Odyssey, and The Astrocade. Not bad, eh? So what did you get me?
Just kidding of course. The games are actually a present from The Internet Archive, that library of the web. It's part of its new Console Living Room section, and it means that every game ever released for the above consoles is available to be played through your web browser. So what are you waiting for? Ikari Warriors isn't going to play itself you know.
It's a veritable treasure trove for fans of retro games, with classics like Mario Bros, Asterix, Donkey Kong, Pit Fighter, and er, Chuck Norris Superkicks, all available, among others. And it's obviously been made by fans, for fans. The introduction says it all: "The Internet Archive Console Living Room harkens back to the revolution of change in the hearth of the home, when the fireplace and later television were transformed by gaming consoles into a centre of videogame entertainment.
"Connected via strange adapters and relying on the television's speakers to put out beeps and boops, these games were resplendent with simple graphics and simpler rules."
It uses the JSMESS emulator to make games playable through your browser. It says they're best enjoyed in "an up to date version of a modern browser", though I had no luck in either Chrome or Safari, only in Firefox. I've dropped The Internet Archive a line to see if it can clarify what the problem is.
The games don't have sound at the moment, but it should be added soon, The Internet Archive promises. And some titles even have their instruction manuals for you to peruse, for added retro kicks.
Have you given it a spin? Which are your favourites of the games available? Let me know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.