Archive.org’s massive online library of Amiga games just got much, much smaller. Update: Apparently, everyone using it broke it, but it’s not clear when or if it’ll be back.
It was widely reported a couple of days ago that the Internet Archive over at Archive.Org had added a couple of thousand Amiga titles to its library of software, along with an in-browser emulator to run them all.
Suddenly, everything from Rick Dangerous to Lemmings 2 was playable in an instant, with realistic loading times (so you did have to wait) and lot of piracy call-outs thanks to cracked copies.
I’m a long-time Amiga fan, although it’s also been a long time since I owned an Amiga. An Amiga 500 got me through university, and more than a few games of Cannon Fodder and, for that matter The Settlers. Good times, as they say.
I dipped my head into the Archive.Org collection just to see what they had. I pondered whether or not anyone would play the games seriously, simply because with that quantity of titles the temptation to move “onto the next thing” is always a big problem. Equally, I did wonder about the copyright situation for a lot of these games, because while many Amiga titles were produced by companies that no longer exist and are going to be tough to work out a rightful path of ownership, many more either represent known IPs, or companies that were purchased by bigger companies, and so on…
And tonight? Everything that isn’t a public domain Amiga disk appears to be gone, replaced by a notice that states
The item is not available due to issues with the item’s content.
Looks like the copyright police dropped by for a visit too. Although archive.org has a lot of other content there that could be challenged on those grounds. Odd doesn’t begin to describe it.
Also, the Amstrad GX4000. Something tells me nobody’s looking out for that thing.
My inner historical side is slightly saddened, because there is, I think, a preservation angle to this. Equally, though, while it’s possible they might return because of some other issue, I wouldn’t be holding my breath for that outcome.
Update: I had it wrong!
It looks like the Amiga Emulation side of it overwhelmed the archive, according to this tweet:
Hey, so the amiga emulation stuff on @internetarchive is down. It was still being beta-tested, but then broke wide, and it needs work.
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) August 11, 2016
And if you check out the relevant section now, there’s a lot more detail:
After a beta-testing period, the emulated Amiga programs at the Archive have been taken down for further development. Thanks to everyone for testing the Amiga In-Browser emulation package during the beta period, and especially a thank you to the Scripted Amiga Emulator project, as well as db48x and bai, for all the hard work with this experiment.
So maybe… maybe they’ll be back?
Image: Acid Pix