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The games you find pre-installed on some of today’s laptops are generally considered bloatware—unwanted licensed software that doesn’t do much more than take up space on your hard drive. But back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, these unavoidable titles were a great way of showing off a computer’s graphics capabilities while bringing addictive forms of gaming to the masses.
A signature feature of old Macintosh computers was their collection of video games, from classics like Frogger and Space Invaders to the original Dark Castle; these titles would become gaming essentials in the years ahead.
Now you can step back in time and load up these retro games straight from your browser, thanks to Software Library: Macintosh from the Internet Archive. The library launched on April 1 with more than 40 recreated programs designed to preserve the early era of computer gaming.
“Software is culturally valuable,” archivist Jason Scott told Wired. “It’s important to be able to access it, as you could with a book or a movie.”
Scott built the emulator with some help from volunteers. He searched enthusiast forums for pre-made programs and created two separate operating systems capable of holding 20 to 30 programs each. As you’ll notice loading up the classic Dark Castle, Scott doesn’t simply want you to play the games; he wants you to feel like you are using an old Macintosh computer.
“Seeing a picture of the desktop of an old Macintosh is one thing,” he said. “It’s a whole other experience to be stuck with a mouse, clicking around.”
Just press the big power button in the middle of the screen and your game will start powering up with those once-ubiquitous loading bars. The nostalgia hits peak levels once you see that iconic smiling Mac computer flash across your display. Choose your difficulty level, enter the castle, and say goodbye to the rest of your day.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.