Play classic games at Archive.org's Console Living Room and Internet Arcade
If you want to play classic console games you have two major options. You can buy old systems on flee markets, garage sales or online on eBay or Craigslist, or use emulation.
The advantage of emulation is that you can get started right away without spending lots of money on retro systems that have seen an incredible sure in pricing in past years.
Archive.org, the Internet Archive that seems to grab anything it can that is publicly available on the Internet to preserve it, has been offering Tosec compilations for currently 190 classic home console systems for some time now.
The Old School Emulation Center (TOSEC) is an initiative to catalog and preserve old games, software and other resources for classic computer systems and home console systems.
The compilations offered on the site include such illustrious systems such as the Commodore Amiga and C-64, the Sega Megadrive, the Super Nintendo, and IBM PC Compatibles.
Archive sizes can be huge: the Amiga archive alone features over 62,000 floppy disk images that have a size of more than 30 Gigabyte.
An option to play some of the games online has been added last year to the site. This means that you can play some games directly in compatible web browsers without downloading the archives to the local system first.
This works similar to other online gaming sites for the most part. Just select the game you want to run and wait for the emulator to start up.
It detects whether you have a gamepad connected to your computer so that you can use it for a better experience. If you don't have a gamepad you can still use the keyboard for controls which you can configure with a tap on tab.
The default controls are to use the arrow keys for moving and Ctrl, Alt and Space for the three major buttons of the controller. Since some systems support more buttons than that, you may need to look those up in the keyboard configuration.
To get started visit the Console Living Room project website on Archive.org. There you find listed all supported systems and how many games can be played directly on the site using emulation.
The selection is limited to some systems at the time of writing. While it seems possible to play most Sega Megadrive games, you won't find many Nintendo games listed there even though you can download the archive from the Tosec website.
New is the Internet Arcade website which concentrates on arcade versions of games and lets you play them directly in the browser as well.
Over 900 classic arcade games are offered right now from Bomb Jack to Commando.
Controls work in the same way only that you have to insert coins using the 5 key before you can play the game.