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Return of Pacman

If the first computer game you remember playing consisted of a large yellow face that chased ghosts around a maze, swallowing them whole then we've got some good news for you! Classic video games from the 70s and 80s are back, and they can now be played free of charge thanks to the nice people over at the Internet Archive.

Although they come with no sound, fans can relive their youth by logging online and choosing between five games that came from some of the first ever consoles to hit the UK market, including the Atari 2600 and Colecovision.

"In coming months, the playable software collection will expand greatly," archivist Jason Scott said.

“Making these vintage games available to the world, instantly, allows for commentary, education, enjoyment and memory for the history they are a part of."

The other machines included are the Atari 7800, the Magnavox Odyssey (known as the Philips Videopac G7000 in Europe) and the Astrocade. Well-recognised titles such as Pacman, Space Invaders and Frogger are all in the archive - with more consoles and games expected soon.

Unlike today's jaw dropping titles, which have the capability to be downloaded directly from the internet and into a console, many older machines would use bespoke cartridges to store games. Unfortunately as many of the older consoles fall into disrepair, it has become increasingly difficult to find a way to play these much loved nostalgic games.

To get round this problem gamers have created ROMs - read-only memory - images of games. These files can be played on a normal PC by using an emulator. The only problem gamers face is that by creating these ROMS, gaming in this way can be classed as illegal - particularly when the games involved are made by the likes of Nintendo and Sega, which clamp down on such activity, deeming it a form of counterfeiting.

But older games such as the ones found on the Internet Archive fall into something of a legal grey area. Publishers and developers often turn a blind eye as, with the games no longer available to buy, the ROMs mean the titles are still able to be played by many.

Yet with smartphone gaming on the rise, publishers are now in a position where these old titles can be revived, cashing in on the timeless quality of the games, as well as fans' nostalgic urges.

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Category: Digital Entertainment
Date: 30th December 2013
Return of Pacman

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