If you were an “80s kid,” this is pretty much the best day of your life. Just about every game you ever wanted or had is now available for free on your computer. Sure they’re a little more dated — and some are waaaay easier or more terrible than you remember — but the joy of the classics never dies.
The games, which have just popped up on various archive platforms like Mobygames, are the sum total of your MS-DOS and classic Nintendo experience. Mostly controlled by a combination of the arrow keys and spacebar, if you start these during your work day, prepare to be ineffectual for the next several months.
8. Oregon Trail
Sigh, I threw this one on as a courtesy. This game has nostalgia all over it, but it was really such a piss-poor cover for a counting game designed to teach you accountability. Of course what made it great was that as a little kid, you were saddled with the incredible guilt of killing off your whole wagon party because you didn’t bring enough oxen. Heavy shit for a second grader.
7. Flight Simulator
Chuck Yeager had nothing on this old school flight game which would let you take the controls of an airplane and — well, that’s pretty much it: flight. But damned if proper flight wasn’t hard enough.
6. Nightmare on Elm Street/ Friday the 13th
This is a one-two punch because they were so impossible to beat … and still are. My mom wouldn’t let me have “Friday the 13th” or “Nightmare on Elm Street” as a child, they were too violent. So I grew up with “Jaws” instead, only getting to play these occasionally at seedy friends’ houses. Now I’m an adult, so I can play these all I want. Stop me now, ma!
5. Life and Death
The ultimate realistic surgery game. In the same way that “Flight Simulator” made you feel qualified to be a pilot, “Life and Death” made you CERTAIN you could successfully operate on your little brother. If only this game had been around BEFORE “Oregon Trail,” a lot of pioneers might not have needlessly died of a burst appendix.
4. King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
The second best game in the series, but the most iconic of them, “King’s Quest IV” had you playing as Rosella — the beautiful blond daughter of the series’ original protag, King Graham. Loaded with tie-ins from from classic fairy tales, you spent your days wandering around a mysterious land trying to figure out the proper text command that would get this pixelated fox to take her clothes off. She never did though.
3. Leisure Suit Larry
How quaint and simple the 1980s were. Nowadays, cavorting like “Leisure Suit Larry” does would get you arrested. But the same could be said for mimicking “Grand Theft Auto,” so do your thing, playa. By contrast, Larry, who is definitely a creeper, seems positively wholesome today. He just wants to hang out and get laid — which seems like a pretty righteous message to an eight-year-old … or a 30-year-old. Especially coming from “King’s Quest IV.”
2. Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
What up, gumshoes? What can we say, we crave knowledge. Carmen Sandiego, which started out with the world travels, quickly moved on to pilfering artifacts throughout history. This game seemed so daunting back then and came with a humongous encyclopedia in the pre-internet days. Now, you are the encyclopedia. I spent several hours playing last night … and only had to hit up Wikipedia twice. Go, me!
Like “King’s Quest,” but set in space, you’d manipulate Roger Wilco on a series of bizarre adventures across the galaxy — usually dying a violent and graphic death somewhere along the way. Holy God, this game series was amazing. I don’t even want to talk about the shit the game creators put in as background fodder, in-jokes or double entendres. This game had so much silly and filthy … I don’t even want to talk about it, I just want to play it.
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