11 Classic Video Games You Can Play Online for Free

While the Atari 2600 became a staple in living rooms around the globe with games like Space Invaders, it also played the notoriously shoddy E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which precipitated the video game crash of the 1980s.
While the Atari 2600 became a staple in living rooms around the globe with games like Space Invaders, it also played the notoriously shoddy E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which precipitated the video game crash of the 1980s.
moparx, Flickr // CC BY-SA 4.0

The Internet Archive hosts a Historical Software Collection, letting you play classic games online for free. It's a great way to show your kids what games were like in the good ol' days (just ignore their eye-rolling), without having to lug the old Apple or Atari out of the garage. Now let's fire up 11 classics and have some fun.

1. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

We're using the word classic pretty loosely here, since, at the very least, E.T. for the Atari 2600 is certainly memorable. In short, the game was such a notorious dud when it was released in 1982 that it helped nearly destroy the nascent video game industry as a whole. For as reviled as it may be, it's still a part of the industry's history, and now you can play it online and decide for yourself whether the game is good, bad, or ugly.

2. Pac-Man (1982)

While the Atari 400/800 version of Pac-Man wasn't as pretty as the arcade version, it was surprisingly solid. When you play this one online, keep in mind that F1 is the "start" key and the number pad on the keyboard is used for movement (there's a guide in the reviews here).

3. Pitfall! (1982)

Pitfall! was one of the most successful Atari 2600 games, selling more than 4 million copies during its lifetime. Timing the jumps is the main skill here, as you'll need to get it just right to grab onto ropes, hop over crocodiles, and avoid those maddening rolling logs. It may be going on 40 years old at this point, but you can still lose an hour or so with ease once you boot it up.

4. Word Munchers (1985)

Did you spend time in a school computer lab in the '80s? If so, you were likely exposed to Word Munchers, the amazing grammar/pronunciation game. Play it to see how it compares with your memories of those old computer games from decades back.

5. Number Munchers (1986)

The hit sequel to Word Munchers, Number Munchers was the same idea, but for math (it's far more charming than it sounds). Find it here.

6. Karateka (1984)

I first played Karateka on an Apple IIe, and it blew my mind. The gameplay was shockingly fluid, and the cutscenes looked like a movie. Always remember to punch the hawk.

7. Akalabeth (1980)

Akalabeth: World of Doom is one of the earliest role-playing video games and was designed by a teenaged Richard Garriott, who went on to design the hit Ultima series. It's obviously primitive by today's standards, but if you're a video game history buff, it's an important milestone for the RPG genre.

8. The Hobbit (1982)

The Hobbit is an illustrated text adventure from the early '80s, based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel. This one is really hard to play due to the weird layout of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum keyboard. Fortunately, a map of that keyboard is provided below the game, so you can try to figure it out.

9. Yars' Revenge (1982)

You play as a Yar in the oddly punctuated Yars' Revenge. In it, you have to make your way through a barrier so you can fire a cannon at the evil Qotile. Or at least, that's what I remember. In any case, give it a shot. If you spot multiple Yars, give me a call.

10. Castle Wolfenstein (1981)

While I'm more of a fan of the much later Wolfenstein 3D, Castle Wolfenstein is a classic, introducing concepts later used more effectively in first-person shooters. Play it to see "the grandfather of the FPS." (And consult the reviews here for controls; otherwise it's utterly baffling.)

11. Choplifter (1982)

Choplifter is the rare game that started on personal computers and later made the leap to arcades. I played it on an Apple IIe at school, where I guess the educational value was rescuing tiny hostages. Note that for this one you need to use the number pad to move (ALT fires), and the number 0 turns the copter around.

(BONUS!) The Print Shop

Okay, The Print Shop isn't a game, but I treated it as one. My favorite activity was making gigantic banners and watching the computer "think" as it prepared to print. While you can't print from this online version, it's insanely nostalgic to fire it up and make a folded card, banner, or sign.

8 Great Gifts for People Who Work From Home

World Market/Amazon
World Market/Amazon

A growing share of Americans work from home, and while that might seem blissful to some, it's not always easy to live, eat, and work in the same space. So, if you have co-workers and friends who are living the WFH lifestyle, here are some products that will make their life away from their cubicle a little easier.

1. Folding Book Stand; $7

Hatisan / Amazon

Useful for anyone who works with books or documents, this thick wire frame is strong enough for heavier textbooks or tablets. Best of all, it folds down flat, so they can slip it into their backpack or laptop case and take it out at the library or wherever they need it. The stand does double-duty in the kitchen as a cookbook holder, too.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Duraflame Electric Fireplace; $179

Duraflame / Amazon

Nothing says cozy like a fireplace, but not everyone is so blessed—or has the energy to keep a fire going during the work day. This Duraflame electric fireplace can help keep a workspace warm by providing up to 1000 square feet of comfortable heat, and has adjustable brightness and speed settings. They can even operate it without heat if they just crave the ambiance of an old-school gentleman's study (leather-top desk and shelves full of arcane books cost extra).

Buy It: Amazon

3. World Explorer Coffee Sampler; $32

UncommonGoods

Making sure they've got enough coffee to match their workload is a must, and if they're willing to experiment with their java a bit, the World Explorer’s Coffee Sampler allows them to make up to 32 cups using beans from all over the world. Inside the box are four bags with four different flavor profiles, like balanced, a light-medium roast with fruity notes; bold, a medium-dark roast with notes of cocoa; classic, which has notes of nuts; and fruity, coming in with notes of floral.

Buy it: UncommonGoods

4. Lavender and Lemon Beeswax Candle; $20

Amazon

People who work at home all day, especially in a smaller space, often struggle to "turn off" at the end of the day. One way to unwind and signal that work is done is to light a candle. Burning beeswax candles helps clean the air, and essential oils are a better health bet than artificial fragrances. Lavender is especially relaxing. (Just use caution around essential-oil-scented products and pets.)

Buy It: Amazon

5. HÄNS Swipe-Clean; $15

HÄNS / Amazon

If they're carting their laptop and phone from the coffee shop to meetings to the co-working space, the gadgets are going to get gross—fast. HÄNS Swipe is a dual-sided device that cleans on one side and polishes on the other, and it's a great solution for keeping germs at bay. It's also nicely portable, since there's nothing to spill. Plus, it's refillable, and the polishing cloth is washable and re-wrappable, making it a much more sustainable solution than individually wrapped wipes.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Laptop Side Table; $100

World Market

Sometimes they don't want to be stuck at a desk all day long. This industrial-chic side table can act as a laptop table, too, with room for a computer, coffee, notes, and more. It also works as a TV table—not that they would ever watch TV during work hours.

Buy It: World Market

7. Moleskine Classic Notebook; $17

Moleskin / Amazon

Plenty of people who work from home (well, plenty of people in general) find paper journals and planners essential, whether they're used for bullet journaling, time-blocking, or just writing good old-fashioned to-do lists. However they organize their lives, there's a journal out there that's perfect, but for starters it's hard to top a good Moleskin. These are available dotted (the bullet journal fave), plain, ruled, or squared, and in a variety of colors. (They can find other supply ideas for bullet journaling here.)

Buy It: Amazon

8. Nexstand Laptop Stand; $39

Nexstand / Amazon

For the person who works from home and is on the taller side, this portable laptop stand is a back-saver. It folds down flat so it can be tossed into the bag and taken to the coffee shop or co-working spot, where it often generates an admiring comment or three. It works best alongside a portable external keyboard and mouse.

Buy It: Amazon

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Get Playstation Plus and 12 Other Subscriptions for 80 Percent Off With This Entertainment Bundle

Photo by EVG Culture from Pexels
Photo by EVG Culture from Pexels

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