Nearly 2,400 classic MS-DOS computer games are now free to play online — no floppy disk required — and nostalgic fans of space-themed games should have dozens of options to explore.
The games, which can be played in a standard Internet browser, were recently added to the MS-DOS Software Library at the Internet Archive, the same group behind the Wayback Machine (where you can also see what Space.com looked like 15 years ago.)
The collection includes Orbiter, a 1986 space shuttle flight simulator that claims to be based on actual NASA procedures. There's also E.T. - No More Mr. Nice Alien (1997), in which you, as E.T., can inexplicably kill tourists at Stonehenge. You can test your knowledge of "The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy" series with a 60-question trivia challenge from 1993. Digital NASA images make a cameo in Where in Space Is Carmen San Diego (1993). There's Invasion of the Mutant Space Bats of Doom (1995), described as one of the cutest shoot-'em-up style games ever made for the PC."
Jason Scott, of the Internet Archive, wrote in a blog post that his goal was to upload only fully functional games, but warned users to expect some glitches.
"Some of them will still fall over and die, and many of them might be weird to play in a browser window, and of course you can't really save things off for later, and that will limit things too," Scott wrote. "But on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly."
Here's a list of some more of the sci-fi and space-themed games now available online:
Space.com's Steve Spaleta contributed to this report.