Amidst the midnight Call of Duty launches and next-gen console sale reports, it's easy to forget about the video games that started it all: Astro Blaster, Frogger, Pac-Man, Paperboy, Tron.

Nostalgia-prone gamers, however, have a new way to catch up on their favorite 8-bit titles.

The Internet Archive this weekend released 900 classic arcade games, which are now (mostly) available to play in your browser.

The JavaScript Mess (JSMESS) project is the brainchild of Jason Scott and a team of developers, who emulated coin-operated games from the 1970s to 90s. Ranging in style and genre, the collection includes early "bronze-age" titles, with black-and-white screens and simple sounds, to large-scale games boasting digitized voices, images, and music.

Most games, the Internet Arcade website confirmed, are playable in some form. A few, however, aren't in such good shape: vector games are an issue, scaling is broken for some, and others have control mechanisms that don't translate to a keyboard or joypad, according to Scott.

"But damn if so many are good enough," he wrote in a blog post. "More than good enough. In the right browser, on a speedy machine, it almost feels perfect."

Visit the site, and your eyes will undoubtedly fall onto the colorful titles of some of your favorite childhood games, whether you carried a pocketful of coins to the arcade or just popped a floppy disk into your home computer.

In fact, Scott expects most folks to migrate to the familiar brands they played years ago; perhaps a few will even venture out of their comfort zone to try their hand at some unknown titles.

"And my hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage, will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts," Scott wrote. "Time will tell."

PC Magazine