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.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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17 Facts About Airplane! On Its 40th Anniversary

Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Shot on a budget of $3.5 million, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed Airplane!, a movie intended to parody the onslaught of disaster movies that graced movie theater screens in the 1970s. The comedy classic, which arrived in theaters on July 2, 1980, ended up making more than $83.4 million in theaters in the United States alone, and resurrecting a few acting careers in the process. Here are some things you might not have known about the comedy classic on its 40th anniversary.

1. Airplane! was almost a direct parody of the 1957 movie Zero Hour!

Shorewood, Wisconsin childhood friends Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker grew up and moved to Los Angeles, where they were responsible for the sketch comedy troupe Kentucky Fried Theater. The trio made a habit of recording late-night television, looking for commercials to make fun of for their video and film parodies, which is how they discovered Zero Hour!, which also featured a protagonist named Ted Stryker (in Airplane! it's Ted Striker). In order to make sure the camera angles and lighting on Airplane! were matching those of Zero Hour!, the trio always had the movie queued up on set. Yes, the three filmmakers did buy the rights to their semi source material.

2. Universal thought Airplane! was too similar to their Airport franchise.

Universal released four plane disaster movies in the seventies: Airport in 1970; Airport 1975 (confusingly in 1974); Airport ‘77; and The Concorde ... Airport ‘79. Helen Reddy portrayed Sister Ruth in Airport 1975 and was game to play Sister Angelina in Airplane! before Universal stepped in and threatened to sue. Instead, the role went to Maureen McGovern, who sang the Oscar-winning theme songs to The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno—two movies that were also “disaster” movies, albeit ones not involving a plane.

3. David Letterman, Sigourney Weaver, and other future stars auditioned for Airplane!

In early conversations regarding Airplane!, Paramount Studios suggested Dom DeLuise for what would eventually become Leslie Nielsen’s role, and Barry Manilow for the role of Ted Striker, but they were never asked to audition.

4. Chevy Chase was mistakenly announced as the star of Airplane!.

Chevy Chase was erroneously announced as the star of Airplane! in a 1979 news item in The Hollywood Reporter.

5. The role of Roger Murdock was written with Pete Rose in mind.

Pete Rose was busy playing baseball when Airplane! was shot in August, so they cast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar instead.

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got a pretty swanky carpet out of his Airplane! gig.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Graves, and Rossie Harris in Airplane! (1980)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rossie Harris, and Peter Graves in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s agent insisted on an extra $5000 to the original offer of a $30,000 salary so that the basketball legend could purchase an oriental rug he'd had his eye on.

7. Peter Graves thought the Airplane! script was "tasteless trash."

Peter Graves eventually found the humor in the film, including the pedophilia jokes, and agreed to play Captain Oveur. Graves's wife was glad he took the role; she laughed throughout the premiere screening.

8. No, the child actor playing young Joey didn't know what Peter Graves was actually saying.

Rossie Harris was only 9 years old when he played the role of Joey, so did not understand the humor in Turkish prisons, gladiator movies, or any of Oveur’s other comments. But by the time he turned 10 and saw the movie, Harris had apparently figured it out.

9. Airplane! marked Ethel Merman's final film appearance.

"The undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage” played a disturbed soldier who believed he was Ethel Merman. Merman passed away in 1984.

10. Michael Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul was in Airplane!.

Jonathan Banks plays air traffic controller Gunderson.

11. Airplane!'s three-director setup caused legal problems.

The Directors Guild of America ruled that Abrahams and the two Zuckers couldn’t all be credited for directing a movie, nor be credited under the single “fictitious name of Abrahams N. Zuckers.” A DGA rep was on set to make sure that only Jerry Zucker spoke to the actors. What he saw was Jerry Zucker next to the camera, who would then go to a nearby trailer where the other two were watching the takes on a video feed, and come back to give notes to the actors after conferring with his partners. A DGA executive board eventually gave the three one-time rights to all share the credit.

12. A BIT ABOUT BLIND POLISH AIRLINE PILOTS WAS WRITTEN AND FILMED.

Blind singer José Feliciano, and lookalikes of blind singers Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, played Polish airline co-pilots. The Polish-American League protested, and it was determined by the writer-directors that the idea wasn’t funny enough to stay in the movie.

13. Robert Hays was starring in a TV show at the same time he was filming Airplane!

Robert Hays, the actor who played Ted Striker, had to race back and forth between the sets of Angie and Airplane! for two very busy weeks. The theme song to Angie was performed by the one and only Maureen McGovern.

14. Robert Hays was—and is—a licensed pilot.

He can even fly the ones with four engines.

15. Leslie Nielsen had a lot of fun with his fart machine.

Leslie Nielsen sold portable fart machines for $7 apiece on set, causing a brief epidemic of fart noises emanating from most of the cast and crew and delaying production. When they were shooting Hays’s close-up, Nielsen used the machine after every other word of his line, “Mr. Striker, can you land this plane?”

16. Stephen Stucker came up with all of Johnny's lines.

Lloyd Bridges and Stephen Stucker in Airplane! (1980)
Stephen Stucker and Lloyd Bridges in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Stephen Stucker was a member of the Kentucky Fried Theater. His line “Me John, Big Tree” was part of an old riff he used to do, which continued with him going down on his knees and putting an ear to the ground to hear when a wagon train was arriving.

17. The original rough cut of Airplane! was 115 minutes long.

After screenings at three college campuses and two theaters, the film was cut down to 88 minutes.