Whatever your age, if you're a fan of video games, there will always be a few titles that carry the heavy scent of nostalgia. Just as one looks back at photos and reminisces about flared/stonewashed/cut-off jeans, the gamer, too, will fondly remember the consoles and games of their bubblegum years.
Whether that be playing Pac-Man in the arcades; the introduction of the Atari 2600; whizzing through levels of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive; the way the sucker-feet of a Quickshot joystick would pop unstuck at a critical point; or the helicopter hair of Rayman on the original Playstation, memories tend to be as hard to shake as an addiction to Angry Birds.
The games industry is currently in rude health. The global industry is on track to be worth $86bn by 2016, according to the Entertainment Software Association, and the European market is worth over $20bn alone.
But however impressive the games of today, there's no buzz quite like revisiting the gentle classics, dusting off C90s to stick clunkily into a ghettoblaster, or unearthing a creaky VHS.
The internet, as ever, is here to help. Websites have cropped up allowing fans to play legal versions of 20- and 10-year-old games in-browser. So-called easter eggs (hidden shortcuts and tricks) are turning different sites into gaming experiences, and players are uploading in-game videos of themselves playing on YouTube.
Here, we take a look at how the internet is taking classic games to the next level.
There are entire cities of sites now dedicated to letting you play classic arcade games on your lunch break at work.
free80sarcade.com hosts Pac-Man (1980), Donkey Kong (1981), Street Fighter (1987), Zelda (1986), Super Mario Brothers (1985), Assault (1983) and hundreds of others, though you do need Adobe Flash Player installed.
The Internet Archive has also made a whole roster of games available to play for free, sorted by console. There are tons of games for the Coleco Colecovision, the Entex Adventure Vision, the Bandai Super Vision 8000 and most consoles you can think of.
The above sites are legal, but be careful when browsing around the web as some sites will fall foul of gaming emulator laws (especially if you're after recent games). Play the original Pac-Man in the box below.
Easter eggs online
There are loads of 'easter eggs' or hidden treats on the web that provide great fun for old school gamers. For instance, if you land on any video page in YouTube (it must be a video page, not the home page), type in '1980'. Not, in the search bar, just in the page. You should now find you can play Space Invaders above your video.
Another gaming easter egg from YouTube is when a video is playing or paused, hold down the left and up arrow keys – this should allow you to play Snake across the screen.
- 'Do a barrel roll'
- 'Atari breakout' (and then click on Images)
- 'zerg rush' (and play the game by clicking on the falling Os)
YouTube has always been a home for gaming aficionados to upload their game play tricks and tips – most football fans know the frustration of searching for live action footage and stumbling upon the second half of someone's FIFA tutorial. What's relatively new though, is people hooking up their old consoles and sharing the game play from classic titles, sparking nostalgia across the net.
And then there's the oldclassicgame channel on YouTube that allows you to watch game play of vintage video games, as far back as 1971. Classic Video Games, (below) features a number of old games from Game Boy, Atari 2600 and Playstation 2.
Just make sure your boss doesn't see...
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