Reminiscing in Low-Res: Classic Arcade Games Online

by Scott Bass for Digital Living Today

If youre old enough to have been walking around with a quarter burning a hole in your pocket in 1982, then you likely pine for the classic video games of the period. The early 80s were an interesting time indeed: MTV was brand new, the cold war in full swing, and video arcades were doing more business than the movie industry. Youve probably noticed that these days, arcades have pretty much gone the way of disco, but did you know that many of your favorite games are still around? And they dont hunger for your quarters anymore!

We asked Digital Living Today writer Scott Bass to grease up his fire-button fingers and to take a tour of some of the best Web-based adaptations of classic arcade games. After we managed to straighten out his hands and strapped him into a pair of repetitive stress injury gloves, he shared his findings with us:

Lets start off with the Elvis of video games, that little round yellow dude with an insatiable appetite: PAC-MAN. Watch the ghosts get nervous when you chomp down on an energy dot. Diet, schmiet. See it in action at www.hamsnet.net/kf6rnu/games/pacman/default.htm.

Every good yin deserves a yang and the sequel to Pac-Man outdid the original and remains one of the most popular video games of all time. Play a spot-on Java translation of MS. PAC-MAN called “Chomper Girl” and be sure to bring a big appetite for ghost-butt and assorted fruit. Play online at www.plutoniumsoftware.com/games/chompergirl/index.html.

One of my favorites as a kid was DIG DUG, the game where you would dig underground with a bicycle pump(?), literally blowing up the baddies. In DugOut, the bad guys look different then you probably remember, but everything else is the same. Bust a move and check it out at http://www.javaonthebrain.com/java/dugout/.

Remember GALAXIAN? It was the precursor to the popular Galaga, and played a lot like Space Invaders only with more colors. Heres a recreation that has the same feel as the original, plus an extra “s” in the name in a feeble effort to dodge copyright infringement charges. You’ll find it at www.spectrum.lovely.net/Galaxians.html.

When Hasbro took over 80s video game giant Atari, they gained control of a huge library of classic games. To celebrate, the company placed some shockwave games like CENTIPEDE, FROGGER, and MISSILE COMMAND on their Hasbro Interactive site that are all fantastic conversions. Hasbro’s site is at www.hasbrointeractive.com/atari/online_games/.

And speaking of Shockwave, heres another great conversion, this time for the classic Q*BERT. This one is called W*Bert and is nearly identical, right down to the little jumpy guys potty mouth. Get it at www.arcademachine.com/go/shockwave/preview/S0036.tam.

Our last classic is called Javanoid, and is a Java rendition of the popular ARKANOID. Inspired by the old Atari 2600 breakout cartridge game, this simple balls-and-bricks formula can still be found in dingy bars and pizza parlors nationwide. It’s located at www.freearcade.com/Javanoid.jav/Javanoid.html.

Next time youre looking to take a break and want to feed your little hunger for 80s nostalgia, load up one of these games from the Web, now the worlds biggest video arcade. And for some added color, tune in some appropriate music (http://www.bucknergarcia.com) to listen to as you play.

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