Take a look back at the retro stylings of these '80s floppy disk sleeves

You can find a million old, oddball things you never expected to be preserved on the Internet Archive, and along the way stumble upon a million more you never knew existed. At present, I'm smitten with this collection of 5 ¼ floppy sleeves put together by archivist Jason Scott

As a kid I played Zaxxon and Montezuma's Revenge on my dad's old IBM-compatible PC, which I'd load software into from true floppies. At the time I didn't give much thought to the hodgepodge assortment of sleeves that kept each disk safe, but today it's fun to look back on the '80s typography, branding, and care instructions that were once commonplace.

There are 628 photos in this collection (hosted on Flickr for easy viewing), which is probably a fraction of a percentage of all the floppy sleeves that were designed and printed back in the 5 ¼ floppy's day. Unlike the much-less-floppy 3 ½ inch disks that followed them, these disks didn't have a sliding metal shield protecting their internal magnetic storage. Hence the sleeve: it protected the exposed bit from fingerprints and scratches, keeping the disk readable.

They were also a chance to get stylish. The disks themselves were almost universally plain black plastic, with a sticker to identify the software, so the sleeves were the place to show off. There are some quintessentially '80s fonts on display on the sleeves Scott collected, along with long-dead brands and others that haven't been big names in PC tech since, well, the days of the 5 ¼ floppy. 

I've pulled out a few of my favorites to highlight in the gallery below, but take five minutes to flip through the rest of them over on Flickr. That's just a tiny taste of the fun stuff you can find on the Internet Archive itself. Like a collection of 7,000 MS-DOS games playable in-browser, for example.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).