The Macintosh is a computer line produced by Apple. It is best known for three things: 1, bringing the graphical user interface to the mainstream. 2, remaining commercially viable in the '90s while Microsoft massacred everyone else (Amiga, OS/2, BeOS, and so on). And 3, being horribly overpriced, but wonderfully stylish and user-friendly. The Mac's history is divided in two big eras: the "classic" System, or Mac OS (about which this article is), which ran from 1984 to 2000 with roughly the same underpinnings, and OS X (later renamed macOS), which replaced it in 2001 with a more reliable Unix-like system.
|3 in Three||Puzzle||During a power outage, a number 3 fell off the spreadsheet and into the guts of the computer. She has to find her way back to the spreadsheet, solving puzzles in a very Alice In Wonderland story. From the dude that made The Fool's Errand.|
|Arashi||Rail shooter||If you want a Tempest clone for your old Mac, you can't go wrong with this one.|
|Barney Carnage||Shooter||A silly little casual game, but everyone hates that purple jurassic freak, so it's good. As it turns out, Barney is actually an alien, and his shitty TV show is brainwashing the children to prepare the world for an invasion. Now that you know, kill that fucker. You get machineguns, lasers, lightnings, and even nukes.|
|BeamWars||Tron-like||Like the light cycle battles from Tron, but you're just steering one of four laser beams, trying to make the others crash before you do. A match goes for as many rounds as it takes for the Board Energy to tick down to 0. The edges of the screen gradually close in, but every round starts with them at full size. The lower the Board Energy is, the faster the walls close in.|
|Brickles||Breakout||Simple graphics, but it has modes where you control paddles on the floor and ceiling, or on all four sides of the screen, steering them all with the mouse to keep the ball from going off those sides.|
|Bugdom||Platformer||3D platformer featuring cartoon bugs almost like A Bug's Life. You play as a heroic pillbug who can curl up to roll around like Sonic for a limited time, or just punch enemies.|
|Cyclone II||Shoot-em-up||In this clone of arcade Star Castle, you fly around an evil space station and try to destroy it by blasting through its layers of shields, while avoiding the smart mines it sends out, along with its high-powered plasma gun.|
|Desert Trek||Adventure||A simple Oregon Trail-like game where you cross the Gobi Desert on your camel. You choose whether to travel fast, slow, or rest for each period of the day, and you have to choose when to eat and drink. Events happen randomly as you go, like sandstorms, discovering travelling caravans or trading posts, and getting captured by berbers. A band of cannibals starts a certain distance from you, and you have to make it across the desert before they catch you, but going too fast tires out your camel and you risk getting injured.|
|Diamonds||Breakout-ish||Instead of controlling a paddle, you steer the ball as it bounces vertically. The game's a bit tricky, considering there are red and blue bricks you have to change your ball's color to break, and diamond bricks you can only break when the ball has no color, as well as skull bricks which you must avoid.|
|Exile (series)||RPG||The original versions of the Avernum games, a series of Western RPGs where you create your characters and use skill points to give them abilities. Battles are fought in turn-based tactical style, moving each of your characters across the grid to attack enemies and cast spells.|
|Ferazel's Wand||Action-adventure||You're a wizard from a peaceful underground anteater-like race, and shit's about to go down because the goblins and insects are attacking your caverns. Cool platformer with a lot of exploration, pretty unusual in how destructible the levels are.|
|Firefall Arcade||Shoot-em-up||Centipede-like shooter from Pangaea Software, with abstract pre-rendered shapes for the enemies, plenty of power-ups, and catchy music by Eugene Koh. There's an OS X remake, and the original game is now freeware.|
|Flashback||Action-adventure||The year is 2142, and you find yourself in an alien jungle with a gun and erased memories. A fantastic and challenging game from France, with interesting puzzle/platforming gameplay, rotoscoped animation (meaning super smooth movement), impressive vector cutscenes, and a neat sci-fi plot. It was widely ported, and there's also a modern version of the engine, but the Mac version had a couple of little extras: the graphics were upscaled to higher resolution than any other version, and the mid-level save stations actually let you save to a file rather than just act as a checkpoint.|
|Glider PRO||Platform/Puzzle||You guide a paper airplane through all the rooms of a house, using the rising air from vents, candles and lamps to stay afloat, and avoiding hazards like dripping water, toasters, basketballs, and the floor. Surprisingly chill, and it includes the capability to make your own levels. It had one of the largest modding scenes of any Mac game, with levels taking place on the Titanic, a space station and an art museum.
Ported to Flash and, amazingly, the NES on a physical cartridge.
|Marathon (series)||Firth Person Shooter/Sci-Fi||While many think of it as just a Doom clone, it's much more than that. Epic story, atmosphere, and plenty of fun and carnage! Free since Bungie open-sauced the engine. Original Mac version and modern PC/Mac/Linux version here.|
|Mario Teaches Typing||Education (typing)||What better way to learn touch-typing than with Mario and the gang? The meat of the game is the three visual typing courses, with Super Mario Bros. levels as the setting. You type single letters going through World 1-1, whole words in an underwater stage, and whole sentences in the castle level. Mario Teaches Typing 2 is mostly the same game, except with a simple story and cutscenes, as well as a weird CG Mario face who talks to you between typing sessions, with his voice by Charles Martinet possibly before Super Mario 64.|
|Action||You are Mighty Mike, the hottest action figure in the toy store, and you have to save the helpless plush bunnies from the hordes of the more dangerous toys. Yes, it came out in the same year as Toy Story, isn't it obvious? Anyway, it's a pretty fun top-down action shooter. Despite the kiddy theme, it's rather challenging.|
|MOVOD II||Versus shooter||You and an opponent control two hovercraft things that move along tracks, and the goal is to shoot the other guy till his hovercraft crashes. You can reverse your direction, toggle the tracks between a figure-eight and two circles, and aim your gun in 8 directions. Power-ups appear often, but you have to shoot them to get them.|
|Myst||Adventure||You come across a book that serves as a portal to a deserted island, and as its puzzling structures lead to even more mysterious lands, you learn about a race who could turn writing into reality. A surreal, ground-breaking first-person adventure, often called the "killer app" for the CD-ROM drive, and the first title in a long series. Not many people know, but this game came out on the Mac first, and was later ported to every other system under the sun.|
|Nanosaur||Run n' gun||3D shooter included on some iMacs. You are a dinosaur from the future, sent to retrieve a set of dino eggs before the 65 million B.C. asteroid wipes everything out. While searching for the eggs to bring back to your time portal, you'll have to defend yourself from the other dinosaurs. When you shoot them with your guns, they explode into polygons.|
|Oxyd||Puzzle||Roll a black marble around with your mouse, and bump the Oxyds in pairs of the same color so they all open up. Tons of levels, regularly introducing new kinds of obstacles and puzzles to solve. There are sequels in Oxyd Magnum and Per Oxyd, and an unofficial adaptation called Enigma.|
|Patriot Command||Shooter/Defense||Totally not Missile Command. Copyright skirting aside, this version includes lots of power-ups. Don't forget to click on the developer's head in the About screen.|
|Quagmire||Platformer||You control a robot who rolls and jumps around on one wheel, navigating tricky one-screen levels to teleport to the next.|
|Quest of Yipe! (series)||RPG||A series of tongue-in-cheek RPGs with silly enemies and funny names for all the items and magic spells, along with comedic sound effects.|
|Sim Cinema Deluxe||Simulation||Ever dream of making movies? Here's a neat little business simulator that lets you manage a studio. Simple but addictive.|
|Spacestation Pheta||Platformer / Puzzle||You're an astronaut trying to go through a massive space station. Every jump must be done precisely right or else you'll go splat (wait, is there gravity in space?), but be sure to pick up the oxygen tanks on the way lest you suffocate. A visually simple but downright addictive little shareware puzzler with a hundred screens.|
|Spin Doctor||Puzzle||You're a spinning white rod that latches onto dots and swings around on them. All you have to do is get to the goal dot, but stuff like enemy rods, sentient puddles of acid goo, dynamite and fuses, and door switches all get in your way.|
|Starrunner Plus||Shoot-em-up||A Defender-like game with black-and-white visuals. Includes Smart Bombs, rescuing humans, and a set of funny voice bites.|
|Stunt Copter||Casual?||A black-and-white game where you drop a guy from a helicopter and try to land him in a horse-drawn wagon full of hay. You get five tries in one game, and score more points for a longer fall, but if you hit the wagon driver or the horse, the game ends.|
|System's Twilight||Puzzle (traditional)||In a computer world where programs are living things represented by abstract shapes, you advance the plot by solving many types of puzzles that almost immediately become impossible without lateral thinking or a guide. Puzzle maniacs might get a kick out of it, though. Now available for free from the author.|
|The Colony||Adventure / FPS||Your spaceship has fallen into a black hole and hell knows where you ended up, but it doesn't seem you're alone. A very innovative (and difficult) sci-fi adventure shooter, one of the first ray-cast 3D games ever, and the first of its kind to allow you to enter and control vehicles.|
|The Fool's Errand||Puzzle||Award-winning puzzle game from the dude that made those "solve the puzzle to find out where in America we buried a gold duck" books that were a big hit in the '80s. Lots of wordplay, spacial arrangement puzzles and tarot symbolism.|
|The Incredible Machine (series)||Puzzle||At the very least, The Incredible Machine 3.0 has a Macintosh version. In these games, you have to place objects in a preset puzzle to make something happen, like turning on an appliance or knocking something off the screen. There's all kinds of objects that interact in many ways, and knowledge of these effects is key to solving each puzzle. You can also make your own puzzles using all of the available objects, choose the parts the player is allowed to use, and set up whatever goal conditions you want.|
|Treasure Mathstorm!||Education/Puzzle (math)||Part of the Super Solvers series. In this one, the Master of Mischief has covered Treasure Mountain in snow and ice, and scattered its treasures all over the place. You've got to find the treasures by solving math problems, catching elves in nets, and making piles of snowballs, and get to the top of the mountain using ice axes, ladders and...a catapult?|
|Unicycle!||Platformer||A game from Brian Kendall, the guy behind The Demented Cartoon Movie (seriously, watch that shit). You control a clown on a unicycle, jumping and changing speed to get over gaps and walls, and grab all the smileys you can.|
|Vette!||Racing||Drive your Corvette through the streets of a realistic 3D recreation of San Francisco, with police to avoid, multiple camera views, and car damage affecting the gameplay. One of the earliest "open world" driving games, truly ahead of its time. Also on DOS, but the Mac version had vastly superior graphics and sound.|
|Wolfenstein 3D||FPS||Everyone knows this classic, but the Mac version is a bit different from the original: some levels were changed, the graphics were redrawn in higher resolution, the music is completely new, and the voices samples are much clearer.
A fan ported this version back to the PC, see here.
- The "Classic mode" was a function of early versions of OS X that allowed one to run pre-OS X applications. This function was removed with Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" in 2007.
- PCE.js puts a Macintosh Plus running System 7 in your web browser.
- Mini vMac is a multiplatform virtual Macintosh Plus, and can run System from 1.1 to 7.5.5. It's great for games with black-and-white graphics.
- SheepShaver is a Windows/Linux/OSX emulator that works as a virtual PowerPC, and it runs Mac OS from 7.5.2 to 9.0.4. This is probably the best replacement for Classic mode. (If you do own a modern Mac, look for "Chubby Bunny", a pirate release of the OS X version that comes preconfigured with Mac OS 9. Very handy.)
- Basilisk II is a Windows/Linux/OSX emulator that works as a virtual 68k Mac, and it runs runs Mac OS from 7.x to 8.1. Good for earlier Mac games that were in color.
- SoftMac is a windows-only emulator of 68xxx based Macintoshes. It used to be a commercial product, but it is now a free download. It is no longer actively developed.
- Executor is a Windows/Linux emulator for 68xxx Macintoshes. It used to be a commercial product, but was later made a free download, then open-source. Regardless, it's no longer actively developed.
- Most of these emulators require a ROM image and a copy of Mac OS. Only Executor does not require a ROM image.
- Macintosh Garden - classic Mac games
- Macintosh Repository - classic Mac games
- Emaculation - a wiki all about Macintosh emulation
- WinWorld's Library - obsolete Mac & other operating systems for download
- Redundant Robot's tutorial - how to use SheepShaver & Basilisk, ROM images for download
|Consoles||Action Max - Atari 7800 - Amstrad GX4000 - RDI Halcyon - View-Master Interactive Vision - Sega Master System - Nintendo Entertainment System - Casio PV-1000 - VTech Socrates - Epoch Super Cassete Vision|
|Computers||Mattel Aquarius - Acorn Archimedes - Commodore 64 - Amstrad CPC - Fujitsu FM-7 - Apple Lisa - Apple Macintosh - Microsoft MS-DOS - ASCII MSX - ASCII MSX2 - IBM OS-2 - NEC PC-88 - NEC PC-98 - Amstrad PCW - Sinclair QL - Commodore VIC-20 - Sharp X1 - Sinclair ZX Spectrum|