Geeky ladies and gents with a nostalgia bone, welcome NaClBox to the stage: A golden opportunity to play old school video games for free on your Chrome browser, no installs or downloads needed.
We all remember those childhood days when Guybrush Threepwood was as familiar a name to us as that of a school classmate; when a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle was a thing of value, and we engaged in fierce duels where we were rubber and our opponent, glue. (Yes, I’m talking about Monkey Island, puzzled-looking spectator on the third row.) Until not so long ago, if we felt like reliving some of these past glories, we were forced to install a DOSBox emulator on our modern PCs so that the game would function appropriately. However, NaClBox now offers the possibility of playing not only Monkey Island, but other classic MS-DOS beauties, directly on Google Chrome.
Let’s get technical for a moment: Native Client is an open source technology developed by Google, which allows programmers “to build web applications that seamlessly execute native compiled code inside the browser”. Whoever’s behind NaClBox basically created a DOSBox port that runs on Native Client and lets us play the videogames from our browser, without having to install or download a thing.
To get started, simply type “about:flags” into the address bar of Chrome 11 (it won’t work on older versions), navigate to where it says “Native Client” and choose “Enable”. Restart your browser.
Next, go to the NaClBox website, click on “Games” on the sidebar menu and take a look at the gallery. Right now it only consists of demos of some video games (including the iconic Alone In The Dark and Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, both released in 1992), but over time it’ll be expanded and feature plenty more, as the author of NaClBox himself explains.
All that remains now is picking one; the well-known MIDI tunes will serve as welcome and you may start playing. You should bear in mind that NaClBox is a work-in-progress, and as such some problems regarding stability and loading time may surface. Personally, I had no difficulties when I put it to the test. Anyone else looking forward to the incorporation of Jagged Alliance, King’s Quest and Loom?
In the meantime, check these other articles to keep improving your Google Chrome experience: 25 Top Chrome Extensions for Web Developers, Google Chrome Tips for Better Use and Angry Birds Now Capable of Frustrating You From Your Desktop.