Play your collection of retro games directly through the web browser with WebRCade
If you are like me then you are obsessed with retro gaming and emulation. I love using my Chromebook, Pixel phone, and whatever else I can get my hands on to play nostalgic titles from my youth and enjoy them in new and innovative ways. The retro game emulation scene has also grown a lot with handhelds like the Anbernic RG522, the Retroid Pocket 2+, and more.
As games on third-party handhelds have grown huge, so has the power of the web. With it, the ability to play your games directly through the web browser has been a thing for a little while now. Today I want to show you something pretty amazing and make you want to play your existing game collection right through your browser!
WebRCade is a new, open-source, stream-based gaming experience that works right in Chrome and other browsers, and it lets you point to places where you’ve hosted your own content so you can play it instantly, with no downloads required.
Responsive browser-based gameplay powered by streams
Games run natively in the browser on a wide variety of platforms, as indicated by cloud-based game streams.
Before we begin, I want to make it clear that Chrome Unboxed does not endorse intellectual property theft in any way. People have worked tirelessly to make games, and as an independent game developer myself, I’m all for paying the creatives so they can feed their families. That being said, don’t go illegally downloading ROMs, even if companies don’t directly lose money in the process. This is unethical and you should only use your own physical content that you have saved in digital form for the journey we are about to take today!
WebRCade is not a ‘streaming’ platform and instead allows you to connect URLs for your own content on Dropbox (direct connect), Drive or really anywhere else (via URLs) . You can also extract open source, freeware, and homebrew games from places like Internet Archive and others. For now, it only supports select 16-bit consoles like the ones you see below, but over time developers will look to add support for more advanced games like Nintendo 64, and more. again. The fact that this is happening even through the web browser is both exciting and awe-inspiring and something that game preservers around the world should celebrate.
- Atari 2600
- Atari 7800
- Super nintendo
- Game Boy Color
- Game Boy Advance
- Sega SG-1000
- Sega master system
- Sega Genesis
- Sega gaming gear
- Game Engines Like Classic Doom
While visiting play.webrcade.com allows you to read a plethora of existing pre-built content (be sure to turn it into an icon on your Chromebook!), You should consider creating your own feed to get the most out of the service. . It will take about 20 minutes to set up because you are doing it pretty much from scratch. The upside is that you can use WebRCade to play retro games on any device with a supported web browser, including an iPhone – notoriously difficult hardware to run with emulators.
While you can check out the documentation for making your own game setup on the web, I highly recommend checking out an official tutorial from one of my favorite YouTubers – Russ from Retro Game Corps. He partnered up directly with WebRCade to make the video on how to set all of this up, and it’s very detailed as he goes through everything step by step (don’t forget to subscribe!).
Looking at the photo below, you can see a list of Game Boy Advance games that the site’s default stream is pre-built with. Clicking to play one will load it instantly, but I found it a challenge knowing which buttons to press to interact with the world around me. Fortunately, WebRCade does support gamepads, so you can plug one in or use a GameSir X2, Backbone, or Razer Kishi like Russ does in order to get a more native experience.
If you choose to use Cross-Platform WebRCade by saving your stream to the cloud and uploading it as instructed in the tutorial, you should be aware that the service supports in-game saves, but not cloud saves or states. backup – not yet, at least. Support for both could very well be added in the future, making it more seamless for those of us who own and use several different devices.
Web technology like this is a big win for gamers and an even bigger victory for the future of gaming itself. Glad to follow WebRCade and see where it goes. It has solid documentation, support, and a great community. It was well thought out and I think it has a bright future.
For anyone looking to play their own collection of retro games on an old Chromebook, this is a fantastic solution as it only requires a web browser and doesn’t depend on any local power to run, which is more and more common nowadays. Let me know in the comments if you’re going to check out WebRCade or have any other web emulation experience that piques your interest!