MAME -- the software emulator for classic arcade consoles -- has been around for a while now (Mac version at macmame.org), but until very recently, you had to actually own the consoles to have a legal right to the ROMs that actually contained the games. That posed a problem for fans of arcade games who were too timid to traffic in pirated ROMs but lacked the disposable income and living room space for dozens of arcade boxes. In steps StarROMs, which sells legal copies of ROM code for use in MAME and similar emulators. Right now they have about 50 titles from Atari, which run a rather reasonable $2-$6 per game. In fact, the fifteen free "credits" you get just for signing up are enough to download a copy of Lunar Lander, an idiosyncratic favorite of mine from back in the day (I still suck at it, by the way).
MAME is a lovely example of digital preservation, and if StarROMs can prove that there's a viable market for reasonably-priced ROMs, there's hope that others will create similar emulators for other platforms, which would be a boon for the game studies crowd as well as other students of the history of computer interfaces and applications. In the meantime, I'll keep working on my Lunar Lander skills while waiting for the ROMs of Sinistar to become available. "Beware, I Live!"
(Found via Macworld, Jan. 04 print issue).