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papa's picture
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Joined: 2014 May 2
The "Mac-ishiest" games and apps

Although it's only very recently that I've used a Mac much, I remember the late 1980s when the Mac was trumpeted as the harbinger of a new mode of visual, tactile, intuitive computing.

I know that the claims were partially hype, but it's interesting to see that Macs and PCs, as well as game consoles, smart phones, and tablets have reached a certain level of parity with current software offerings, meaning that it's no longer the case that any platform has a corner on the market for some software genre. It's also interesting that regardless of market share, the Mac Way won out in program design. Program qualities that were "Mac-ish" back in the day are no longer the exclusive province of Macs, but have become attributes of quality software on all platforms.

Regardless of the current state of software design, when I inherited my Mac, I wanted to explore, and introduce my kids to the kind of computing experience that was first made possible by Mac. Reading various articles and comparing MG ratings, I've come up with this short list of the Mac-isiest of Mac software:

- Myst, Riven, and their predecessors from Cyan
- Crystal Quest
- HyperCard and multi-media works like If Monks had Macs
- (WYSIWYG editors ...)
- (desktop publishing ...)

(Very short, but I've excluded famous Mac titles that I don't think have that Mac-ish quality (e.g. Dark Castle) or whose original implementation wasn't for Mac (Wolfenstein 3D and other FPSs). (Apologies for gaping holes in my research.))

What am I missing? What other titles or genres should I try to get a flavor of the heady brew of the original Mac?

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MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

For the younger children, "Cosmic Osmo" (floppy & CD), "Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo" (b&w/color), and the "The Manhole" are all early offerings from the brilliance that went on to produce Myst. For the older kiddies & up, "Pathways Into Darkness" & (all series of) "Marathon".

If programming for the Mac, there were several tools & languages one may have chosen, but you really needed "ResEdit" too, no matter which path you traveled along.

ClarisWorks, vers 1 to 4. The best "Works" suite available anywhere, of its time. - Vers 4 was my favorite. ClarisWorks/AppleWorks vers. 5 IMO became "Microsofted" (that it looks better if running on a PC was telling) & AppleWorks 6 was "aquafied" & no longer looked like it belonged on a classic Mac OS or PC.

FreeHand, PageMaker, QuarkXpress & Photoshop all began life on a Macintosh.

papa's picture
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Joined: 2014 May 2

Thanks for the suggestions. I've played Marathon a little and appreciate it for not splashing the screen with so many red pixels as Doom and Quake. Wink FreeHand is on my list of apps to try, too.

Defender's picture
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Joined: 2012 May 24

Escape Velocity for its beautiful sandbox space opera, but even more so for its insane modding community. People wrote short novels into that game.

SimTower (The Tower) for showing how society is nested fractally, to borrow an XKCD turn of phrase. A single building is a world unto itself, where countless stories unfold simultaneously. Or perhaps it is a living organism, laced with veins of elevators and walkways, along which travel the blood of humanity to feed and support the specialized structures of rooms and tenants.

And while I'm probably the only person who fondly remembers this game, I will also add AVARA, which had the most community for a first person shooter that I've ever seen. Not just on forums full of user-created levels (though of course it had that), but right in the game. An interesting relic is its chat system where your text appears to everyone as you type it (rather than after your hit the 'enter' key).

papa's picture
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Joined: 2014 May 2

It's interesting that Ambrosia Software is still selling licenses for Escape Velocity, Avara, and several other OS 9 games. (http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/old) That speaks well of the games if they are still in demand more than 10 years after the OS was superceded.

themacmeister's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 26

Speaking of Ambrosia, Ares was a fantastic game for its time. Antares is now available as Open Source. You need to download the support files on first use. The good news is it runs on latest Mavericks Smile

papa's picture
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Joined: 2014 May 2

The good news is it runs on latest Mavericks

... for those of us lucky enough to have a Mavericks. Sad

themacmeister's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 26

or a Hackintosh Mavericks Smile

Daxeria's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8
  • MacPaint 1.x
  • Déjà Vu
  • Glider Pro
Defender's picture
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Joined: 2012 May 24

Glider did always have excellent atmosphere. Which reminds me to add Lunicus and Jump Raven to this list. Lunicus' ending has always felt rushed, but Jump Raven has the most complete cyberpunk atmosphere of any game I've ever played. (While Cyberflix wasn't a Mac exclusive company, the Mac versions have always been the more definitive.)

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I would like to add RagTime to the list, especially version 3.2 or earlier.
RagTime was THE app in Europe maybe from 1986 to 1992.