EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 25, 2020
Updated • Sep 9, 2021
Internet, Windows
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16

If you experienced the late DOS days or early Windows days first hand and want to relive that, or experience it for the first time, then you may want to hop over to EmuOS to do just that.

EmuOS emulates Windows in the browser, and it comes with a number of games and applications for you to run right from that browser as well. Want to replay Quake, the original Doom, or Half-Life? How about Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Worms 2, or Microsoft Solitaire? There is also Winamp, classic Paint, and Clippy to play around with and use right from the browser.

When you first open the EmuOS website in your browser (there are multiple mirrors), you get the choice between running an emulated Windows 95, 98 or ME interface, all emulated in JavaScript.

emuos

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The desktop looks messy as expected, but you should not have any troubles identifying most of the apps and game shortcuts the team placed on it.

Just double-click on a game or app to start it in the browser; these are emulated as well, and performance depends largely on your system's capabilities. While you should be able to run most games and apps on any fairly modern machine, some may stress low performance machines.

Access to the underlying system is required for some games and apps. When you start Quake 2 for example, you get a browser prompt to allow EmuOS access to the file system.

pc game doom

You are probably wondering what EmuOS is all about, and how the project came to be. The GitHub project page provides a short description of the project and intention:

The purpose of Emupedia is to serve as a nonprofit meta-resource, hub and community for those interested mainly in video game preservation which aims to digitally collect, archive and preserve games and software to make them available online accessible by a user-friendly UI that simulates several retro operating systems for educational purposes.

The project website provides information on the supported browsers, emulators used by the projects, the list of supported games, apps and demos, and the libraries that the developers used.

EmuOS is not the first project designed to preserve and archive computer games and applications. The Internet Archive hosts a lot of game and application collections, e.g. this DOS games collection, C-64 emulation library, or Internet Arcade, all playable in the browser.

Closing Words

EmuOS offers an interesting look at early PC gaming and apps that users ran on their systems when Windows ME was the latest rage. Some of these apps and games are still available today, and you can even buy many of these games on Gog instead to play them locally and not in the browser.

Now You: What is your take on game and application preservation projects?

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EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser
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EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser
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EmuOS emulates Windows in the browser, and it comes with a number of games and applications for you to run right from that browser as well.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Yuliya said on November 25, 2020 at 3:34 pm
    Reply

    >game and application preservation projects
    Should be done in a way the user can download the binary to their computer and execute it locally with no insternet connection required at all, and the least amount of dependencies possible. For DooM, for instance, GZDoom is absolutely fantastic.

    1. sureGoAhead said on November 26, 2020 at 8:25 am
      Reply

      Yeah I don’t think any “insternet” is required at all.

    2. Billy Walden said on November 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm
      Reply

      It might surprise you, but many of these games still have copyrights. They can’t provide download links for those.

      ** [Editor: removed, unfounded]

      1. James Kirk said on November 26, 2020 at 2:13 pm
        Reply

        How long until the copyright on these games expire?

      2. Gubment Cheez said on November 27, 2020 at 8:01 am
        Reply

        In the USA copyright expires either 70 years after creation, or, if the work is for hire, the shorter of 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication

  2. Anonymous said on November 25, 2020 at 8:31 pm
    Reply

    thanks for the info.

  3. Dave said on November 25, 2020 at 9:26 pm
    Reply

    History should be preserved.

    I remember my first PC, an 8086 that had to be booted from a 5 1/4″ floppy and how thrilled I was when I was finally able to add a 100MB HDD!

  4. TacoT said on November 26, 2020 at 4:09 am
    Reply

    Wow, these are really cool, right down to actual classic Tetris.

  5. John C. said on November 26, 2020 at 5:46 am
    Reply

    What? No Heretic or Hexen 1? Works great though. Thanks, Martin!

  6. George said on November 26, 2020 at 7:03 am
    Reply

    > I remember my first PC, an 8086

    Hah! Newb.

  7. John G. said on November 26, 2020 at 4:16 pm
    Reply

    Amazing! Thank you @Martin and also thanks from my father too, he is happy with EmuOS! :]

  8. Anonymous said on November 26, 2020 at 6:12 pm
    Reply

    na, stop trying to run everything a browser. thats just a hidden dependency. binary + emu locally or nothing.

  9. Cigologic said on November 27, 2020 at 3:03 am
    Reply

    @John G. — Just for laughs, your father (& perhaps you) might to explore ‘1995’, which is about a certain “ancient technology” known as Windows 95.

    It’s a small game, just extract the EXE from the ZIP archive, & play away on your (probably less ancient) Windows OS.

    2.44 MB zip download from either of the following:
    â–¶ http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-36/?action=preview&uid=40711
    â–¶ https://shaunjs.itch.io/1995

    > @Anonymous (Nov 26, 2020 at 6:12 pm): “binary + emu locally or nothing”

    Hear, hear ! For those who want the real Windows 95 offline — albeit as a standalone Electron app:
    â–¶ https://github.com/felixrieseberg/windows95/releases

    The latest v2.22 (03 Aug 2020) for 64-bit Windows is a 296.7 MB no-install ZIP download.

    The developer apologizes in advance, “Yes, it’s the full thing. I’m sorry.” :)

    â–¶ FAQ: https://github.com/felixrieseberg/windows95/blob/master/HELP.md

    1. John G. said on November 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm
      Reply

      @Cigologic thank you for the useful information! :]

  10. RobG said on November 27, 2020 at 12:11 pm
    Reply

    Please, not more encouragement to play more computer games. The world faces numerous serous challenges (Covid, Global warming, pollution etc) and time is short for the human race. And we’ve all wasted far too may months and years already being ‘sucked in’ to playing games!! But on the other hand, those retro games and apps do look quite enticing and familiar! Surely playing a few of those oldies for just ten minutes wouldn’t do any harm now, would it? I’ll be quick!
    ;-)

  11. Googely eyes said on March 8, 2021 at 8:39 pm
    Reply

    This is dum

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