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The Wayback Machine

Julie Geiger on Flickr

There are days when the latest and greatest video game turns boring. Maybe you’ve played through to the end. Or got stuck and realized you didn’t care to figure out how to proceed.

If you’re interested in a new quirky video game challenge, check out the Internet Archive and their large library of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 games you can play in a modern web browser. There are no game controllers or hardware required. Instead, you play with the keyboard arrow keys and obvious letters like Y for Yes or N for No.

The ancient video game archive is part of a larger collection of online content maintained by the Internet Archive. One of their earliest projects is the Wayback Machine.

The Wayback Machine has captured and archived websites since the 1990s, as a way to preserve the history of the website part of the internet. You can find at least one version of almost all websites. And it’s fairly simple: visit https://archive.org and type in the URL of your favorite website.

Once you type a URL into The Wayback Machine, navigate past versions of a website with the timeline calendar at the top of the page. Click the timeline to visit past versions of a website.

The Wayback Machine is a non-profit digital archive of the World Wide Web and other internet content, for example, movies, audiobooks, TV news, children’s books, video games, and software. It was launched in October 2001 in San Francisco by The Internet Archive, a non-profit group started by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. Archiving websites started in 1996. The archive calls The Wayback Machine a 3-dimensional index of the web.

One of the most interesting parts of The Wayback Machine is their online collection of video games. They have 2300 MS-DOS games, for example, and 3000 games for a dozen different consoles, all playable in your web browser. You don’t need original hardware to play vintage games.

What did your favorite website look like in the past? Type or copy/paste the URL into the Wayback Machine and find out! Or play one of the thousands of vintage games in their Console Living Room or the MS-DOS Game Collection. Links are in the online version of this article.

Learn More

The Wayback Machine


The Internet Archive


The Console Living Room


MS-DOS Game Collection


Children’s Library


The Open Library


Open Educational Resources


Never Trust a Corporation to do a Library’s Job