Jason "@textfile" Scott and Ernest Cline

We're incredibly lucky to be the very first generation to play videogames. The first generation to have a computer at home. To program computers. Heck, we're the first generation to have access to the internet! And play multi-player games, and see the creation of virtual reality environments.

But history moves fast, and every day content is lost when services are shut down, or bits start to rot in some old and incompatible device (floppy disks, anyone? VHS? Betamax? Jazz and Zip disks?). Sony just announced they're shutting down PlayStation Mobile this July. Maybe the games will stored in a vault somewhere, but that's the exception and not the rule.

Thanks to folks like Jason Scott, there's hope that our grand-grand-grand-grand-grand kids will still be able to play E.T., the worst game ever made. Maybe they will be able to find even this very exact post.

Jason has a long track record as a historian, activist, filmmaker. Besides some great documentaries, like BBS: The Documentary, he has been archiving everything for decades - books, VHS, games, old computers. Now as a part of the Internet Archive team, he has been working to creative "the biggest software library ever. Period".

This morning at SXSW in Austin, Jason and Ernest Cline, author of the bestseller Ready Player One, gave a passionate talk about the history of videogames, and showed some amazing progress on OASIS, a computer emulator capable of running a wide range of CPUs and old-videogames. In. Your. Browser.

Using Emscripten (a C-to-Javascript compiler), the Internet Archive team was able to port MESS (Multi Emulator Super System) to the browser so you can, for example, run Windows 3.1, in all its glory, and use Trumpet to establish a SLIP connection, and use Mosaic v1.0 to access this very own page. Or maybe your thing is Prince of Persia - the original one, from 1990. Or two of my preferred MS-DOS games: Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and the great Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

Go check it out: Software Library @ Internet Archive. Their work is amazing gift to the humanity, and a feat of software engineering as well. If you're over 30 - or under 20 - you'll have a lot of fun. And while you're there please donate, if you can.

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Gui Ambros

Maker, engineer, ad:tech veteran. Incurable optimist. I was there when the web was born. Opinions here are my own. @GuiAmbros



/dev/random rants about technology, electronics, startups.

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