Back in the day, I spent a lot of beer-fueled hours playing arcade and console games, including Pong, Tetris, and Pac-Man. Those games are long gone, but certainly not forgotten, and all three, along with Doom, Super Mario Brothershttp://www.letsplaysnes.com/play-super-mario-bros-online-nes/ and World of Warcraft, were just inducted into the newly-established World Video Game Hall of Fame.
If you loved those games, here’s more good news: You can play them for free online. Sure they’re clunky compared to the rich multimedia experiences you get from modern console games, but they’re still a fun way to avoid doing real work when you’re at a computer. To play them, click on the linked titles in the previous paragraph.
Some of the games let you use your mouse or a joystick, others require old-school keyboard controls. The games generally utilize emulators, so some of the action is rather rough, and you have to enable Flash so it can run in the background. You’ll also want to make sure you an effective anti-malware program and perform a scan after you play. As far as I can tell, none of the sites referenced in this post contain malware, but it’s always best to be safe.
A committee of scholars, game experts, journalists and others whittled down a list of the 15 Video Game Hall of Fame finalists and settled on six games that “significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general,” according to the Strong Museum, which houses the hall of fame in Rochester, N.Y. Finalists that weren’t winners included Angry Birds, FIFA, The Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, The Oregon Trail, Pokémon, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders.
I’m kind of bummed that Missile Command, one of my favorites, wasn’t honored, but you can still play it. Lunar Lander was another of my favorite classic video games, and you can download here.
On a slightly more serious note, the Internet Archive last year posted a collection of historical software that includes more games and old applications, including VisiCalc, the first popular spreadsheet program, and The Print Shop. The archive has 29 selections you can use online.