How to relive old games and apps on the Internet Archive, the revamped Surface Pro and ransomware explained
It’s fair to say that the Internet Archive (https://archive.org) is one of the most important sites on the internet. It collects together the old and the new, gives a home to content which would otherwise have been removed from the web, and even offers a time warp in the form of the Wayback Machine (https://archive.org/ web), which lets you revisit websites precisely as they were on a given date. Hunt around and you can explore, for example, a 1996 version of microsoft.com, or view archived news headlines from the likes of bbc.co.uk
new for old
The Internet Archive’s coolest feature, if you’ve been around computing for some time, is its recent integration of combined software archiving and emulation – basically, this means the site is looking after old programs, and dealing with the process of getting them running too. Visit https://archive.org/ details/software to see a broad look at its collection which, at time of writing, covers some 170,000 individual items, including games and programs for classic computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore Amiga, titles from the smoky arcades of yesteryear and, most interestingly for us, classic software from the days of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.
It takes some finding – hunt around the Internet Archive’s rather awful interface until you find the MS-DOS collection or ‘Software Library: Windows 3.x Productivity’, for instance – and you’ll see hundreds of bits of classic shareware and full software to try. Click one, click the green Play button, and it’ll run right there in your browser. You can make any title run full screen for the full experience. Most of the Internet Archive’s catalogue can also be downloaded to your computer, so you’re not explicitly restricted to playing online. Grab DOSBox (www.dosbox.com) and you should be good to go.
Most of the Internet Archive’s catalogue can also be downloaded to your computer