Here you can find answers to various questions about the archive: our mission, what games we host, how to submit new or missing games, and info for developers of games.
The goal of the audiogames archive is to be a central place where abandoned, rare, or old versions of newer games can be found. Basically, we're trying to be an answer to the question "can somebody send me game x, I can't find it anymore?".
The project was conceived as the audiogames version of archive.org; a repository of games intended to survive regardless of their original developer's status or availability.
We hope that through careful research, community involvement, and a lot of dedication we'll be able to put together a complete compendium of all audiogames, old and new, supported and abandoned.
There are several pieces of information you should be aware of before you download a game.
In short, we host everything we can.
The answer to this one is slightly longer. We try to host as many versions of games as we can, within reason. If a game is small (in storage, not necessarily in playable content), we may just include as many versions as possible. For larger games, we only host those that have a noticeable gameplay difference from other versions. Examples of this include a rework of sounds, game layout, or strategies. If we have multiple versions of a game available for download, they will be listed as subsections under the primary listing for that game.
Betas are a definite yes, especially because of the often dramatic changes from version to version. If we can find a beta of a game with gameplay changes from other betas or the final release, then we'll get it posted. Do note however, that when we talk about beta games, we mean beta versions of fully released games, not games that are still under active testing. See the below section on why we don't host brand new games for more info on this.
We don't particularly care if a game has bugs. We don't even care if its more likely to crash than let you finish the first level. Its a game, and it deserves to be hosted. That said, we make no guarantees that any of the games in the archive will work as described, that you will be able to play them, or that they won't cause your computer to do strange and/or unexpected things.
The only exception to this rule is if, after multiple tests across multiple computers and operating systems, we have been completely unable to get a game to start. In this case, we will avoid hosting it on the grounds of being unplayable. If at some point we do manage to get the game to run, then up it goes.
Note the use of the word "games". If a game is extremely explicit in its content, we'll try to provide a warning in its description about this. That said, just because we don't have a warning on the page doesn't mean you won't personally find the game objectionable. We presume that anybody downloading from the archive already knows something about the game they're searching for, and only offer warnings as a courtesy feature.
In short, do your homework before you come to us.
We do host dos games. We do not currently host software required to run these games. If you're hunting for dos titles, we presume you know what you're doing, or can learn from other sources.
At the moment, our dos collection is rather limited. See the submissions section of this page if you have some!
We do try to host game recordings, walkthroughs or reviews. However, the following (loose) criteria apply:
Game recordings is a section of the site where we do really need the community's help to maintain the quality of our collection. It takes a lot more time to listen through a recording than it does to quickly test a game for basic playability. If you notice recordings that don't meet the criteria above, please let us know so we can take a look. Likewise, if you're the author of a recording we've turned down and you believe that there's tangible value to the community in having it on the site, do say something, and we'll give it a more thorough study.
We do host game mods, expansion packs, and add-ons. Because of their community-driven nature, we may not have all the content for a particular game. If you can help us find some, please get in touch.
Additional content will be listed alongside the game it accompanies; we do not make separate pages for it.
There are three primary game file types we host.
We have done our best to remove self extracting zip files from the archive. The reason for this is that, especially given the rise of 64-bit operating systems, many self extracting archives try to install to a path that makes little sense. Since these files don't do any extra work beyond extracting (such as creating start menu shortcuts or registry entries), we usually repackage them as .7z or .zip to allow you to choose where the files go.
Recordings will be in .mp3, ogg, or wma formats. You may need special software to play .ogg files on windows, or .wma files on linux.
There are only a few circumstances in which we would be missing a game:
When a game is first released, it often undergoes a quick series of releases and updates to fix bugs found by users. As a result, a lot of different versions can be created in a very short period of time. If we host newly released games, it then becomes our responsibility to keep track of updates to every one of those games, and to make certain that the archive's version is always the latest. If we don't have the latest version of a game, then we're creating confusion among users and worse, headaches for developers who will get reports about bugs that have already been fixed.
All that said, if a game's been out for a while and we haven't put it up on the site, drop us a reminder so we can take a look at it. We can't guarantee that it'll be hosted (some developers don't like others hosting their products), but we'll at least have a look through the game's license and let you know the results.
There are several reasons we decided that trying to include interactive fiction titles in the archive was a futile effort.
The archive's official stance is that we generally don't host software on the site. However, our goal is to be a community preservation resource, and sometimes software gets abandoned just like games. If there is a compelling reason to host a particular piece of abandoned accessible software, then we'll give it a look and consider including it.
This section is intentionally a little vague so that we have a broad ability to judge applications on a case-by-case basis. As a rule though, if the software is still available from its original developer, it's not suitable for inclusion on the archive.
If you've got a game that's missing from the archive, we'd love to hear from you.
Please take a look at our Contact page for ways to reach us.
Answers to questions from developers follow:
See the section on why games won't be hosted. If your game's playable, its probably because we haven't heard about it (likely due to missing the announcement), or haven't been able to access it. We love new releases, so please get in touch.
This section will cover reasons why you might not want us to host your title. Hopefully we'll be able to convince you otherwise, but if you are absolutely certain you want your game removed, please contact us.
We've tried to add a notice to any games that have been abandoned, informing players of the status of the game, and that the developer should not be expected to respond to contact requests. If the volume of support messages you're getting from players is beyond a reasonable capability to ignore (or respond to with "learn to read and leave me alone"), please let us know.
That's entirely fair, and we will respect your decision. We will not knowingly host titles by an author who has requested their games be omitted from the archive. If you change your mind we'd love to include your work, but the final decision is entirely up to you.
The archive in no way intends to violate your intellectual property or copyright rights. If you believe that our hosting of your game does so in any fashion, please get in touch and we will work with you to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
In these situations, we ask that the copyright holder of the original game undertake a good faith effort to resolve the situation amicably before entering into legal process. Such effort will almost certainly result in a much faster resolution to the issue (one developer request was resolved fully within seven minutes of our being contacted), and will save us both time and headaches.
While we'd like to be the primary source for as few active titles as possible (to allow us to focus on abandoned games and those unavailable through other means), we do understand that web hosting can be costly, especially if you're releasing free games. For this reason, we're fine if you want to provide our link as an option to download your titles.
However, please be aware that we're not here to be constantly updating the website with new versions of actively developed titles, and we do prefer that you find some way of distributing your game yourself. If you have a stable product we're happy to help you get it out to the community, but be aware that every update you make requires time, and the more we spend updating active games is less we can spend on older ones.
In short, the archive is intended to be a backup source for accessing games; we're happy to provide that service for your titles as well, but we cannot function as a web host for the entire audiogames community.
The primary reason this will happen is if you're hosting your title on a service like Dropbox. These links tend to be more fluid and likely to go down than a dedicated hosting site, and can also have limits on the amount of traffic they receive. For these reasons, we tend not to include download links that are to file sharing services.
The other likely reason you don't see your link is that we missed it when gathering information. Please contact us, and we'll get it added.
This section covers anything that doesn't fit in the above categories.
Repackaging simply means to change the distribution format of a game, for example from .iso to .7z.
If it can be easily done we may compile source only games, to allow for easier playability. The source will, of course, still be present and can be executed if you wish. We will not edit this code for any reason (though we reserve the right to compile versions with minor fixes, such as obvious spelling errors). Please note that if we intend to compile a game, it will be done before the game is posted. Asking us to compile a game in source form won't accomplish anything because we probably don't have the resources available to do it. If you can compile an older game and send it to us, we will gladly host it.
Probably not. Porting a game takes a lot of time and effort. We're happy to host community created ports (such as those of Dan Z's notetaker games), though.
In order to keep the number of pages in the archive manageable, a developer only receives their own section if we have at least two of their titles. The various section is where we put games from developers who only have one release. We'll also use the various section to list games with unknown authors. Once we figure out who wrote the game, it will be included in that author's page.
Where possible, we have tried to include links to download games from the developer's site and any known mirrors, as well as from the archive. We appreciate it if you use mirrored links to download titles, as that lightens the load on our server and allows our bandwidth to be focused on those games that don't have alternative links. Also, when downloading from the developer's site, you can be sure to be getting the most recent version of a game. While we do our best to keep our files up to date, our focus is on those games that are no longer available through other sources, so it is possible that currently available titles may have been updated and the archive's version is out of date.