The Top 10 Apple Games of All Time

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The Top 10 Apple Games of All Time



The next time some hater tells you that “Mac gamer” is a contradiction, fire back with these best-ever Apple-platform titles. Sure, Apple’s systems have had their gaming downs; the short-lived Pippin had few worth playing, and the most fun we had on a Newton was “Find Elvis.” But the Apple II and Mac have had a vibrant ecosystem of games that stood out among all titles.


We had a hard time settling on 10. In no order, SimCity, Oni, Glider, Bolo, Crystal Quest, Out of This World, Deus Ex, Diablo, Civilization, The Secret of Monkey Island, Starcraft, Lemmings, Spaceward Ho!, Ultima, Myst, and World of Warcraft, were all significant but didn’t quite make the cut.


You’ll have a hard time finding copies of most of our top games. Some are available online , while eBay and local computer stores might carry old copies of others. But if you do have the floppies or CDs, the game isn’t likely to run in OS X. Try an emulator like Basilisk II to trick the old software into thinking it’s running on an old Mac or Apple II.


10. Future Cop


This excellent, pulp shooter earns our nod partly because its 1998 release echoes the scrappy days of the Mac platform. Players control a walking vehicle from an angled, overhead perspective, able to jump obstacles and shoot at villains. But the walker can transform into a nimble hovercraft, which moves quicker, although more recklessly. A small development team within EA used Macs to create the Playstation version of Future Cop, wanted to make a Mac version, and twisted a few arms to release a hybrid Mac/PC disc. But even without the Mac-fan backstory, the game excels for its well-crafted controls, fun multiplayer, and L.A.-wasteland setting.


9. Unreal Tournament


The choice between Unreal Tournament and Quake III is the choice between Coke and Pepsi; when you like one, the other just doesn’t taste right. In late 1999 and early 2000, these two first-person-shooters unabashedly emphasized multiplayer teamwork over single-player story, leading the trend for most followers. Both include a set of explosive weapons that are copied in most other action-shooters. And both come from nerd-turned-rockstar developers who like the little guy—Macs and Linux—almost as much as the PC. Why’d we choose UT over Quake III? Because we have taste. Look for MacSoft to publish last year’s PC game, Unreal Tournament 3 sometime soon.


8. ChipWits


While RoboSport carried the basic mechanic to a multiplayer level in 1991, ChipWits gave us cute, programmable robots in 1984. Using a graphical language, gamers place tiles with simple commands that mean “move forward,” “turn right,” or “if there’s a cup of coffee, drink it.” Then the programmed robots totter through semi-random mazes full of traps and bonuses. The most efficient robots earn the highest scores. At its release, ChipWits was a standout game on the nascent Macintosh. ChipWits lives again in its recently developed—and still in beta—sequel. The $20 shareware game closely follows the original’s design.


7. Battle Girl


Combine beautiful vector artwork and a two-joystick-style control scheme where you move and shoot independently. Add a perpetually repayable electronic soundtrack. Mix in low system requirements. Several games include all of these elements, but no Mac game nails the pacing and control just like Battle Girl. In this arcade homage shooter, you fly a spaceship through centralized levels, upgrading weapons, and blasting powerful baddies. Battle Girl came out for Macs before PCs—always a winning point with Mac gamers—back in 1997. While it’s not compatible with OS X, Classic gamers might be able to buy a copy from Feral Interactive if they ask nicely.


6. Marathon series


Yes, the Marathon games make an obligatory appearance in any Apple fan’s list, but they’re here for a reason. In 1994, about the same time PC players were fixated on Doom, we Mac gamers took to the good ship, Marathon. This proto-first-person-shooter has no jump, but the ability to aim up and down rocked the FPS genre. Marathon: Durandal and Marathon: Infinity include extensive networking modes, from straight-up deathmatches to team-driven conditions. Many office-, school-, and improvised-home-networks were touched by Marathon’s magic, and a fan-base still plays. Or console gamers can re-live it on the Xbox 360.




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I just wrote a blog post about the top 5 classic mac games. My list went:

#5) Warcraft
#4) SimCity 2000
#3) Glypha III
#2) Myst
#1) Escape Velocity



Really? I take offense that Marathon is not in the top 3. Talk about a revolutionary game. Without the success of Marathon, Bungie does not go on to make Halo and Microsoft ends up with a crappy box without a flagship game and nobody cares about it.

Other games that should have been on here?

Another World (AKA - Out of this World). - [mentioned]

Glider - [mentioned]

Pathways Into Darkness (another Bungie classic)

Castles II: Siege and Conquest

Crystal Caliburn

These games were the only Mac games I could brag about when I was a kid.



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Mac Games

I can't believe Castle Wolfenstein didn't make this list. What a shame. The other game I would have loved to have seen would have been Transylvania (which, by the way is available for the iPhone).



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Ross Heitkamp

Back in the MacSE days, even before Dark Castle, there was Airborne. It is such a classic that it is now adapted for iPods! We had some great battles.

But, the truly amazing thing, that blew away all my PC friends (and even Mac friends) was that if you hooked up a tiny Mac SE to a stereo and played Airborne, there was amazing sound, including stuff that would have shook the house, had I had a subwoofer back then.



No flying games?

Hellcats Over the Pacific, especially with a cheat enabled to give more ammo, bombs, and health, was tremendous fun!

It ran very well on my Centris 650 (68040 25 MHz with separate math chip). Once the PPC came out, it wouldn't run, though.


Tom Boe

Apple had it first. I started working at MECC - maker of Oregon Trail - in January 1980. At that time, we had an Apple II+ version (c. 1979) that used animation and vector graphics for smooth line images. The original text version was developed on a timeshare computer by three student teachers in Fall of 1971. IBM didn't come out with the PC until 1982. I believe MECC's PC version was released in 1983.



Wizardry was truly groundbreaking



Great list, just missing two from my youth, Conan and Karateka. I think Load Runner and these two I played and copied hundreds of times. I remember cutting the squares out of the floppy and copying these games for friends. Good work.



Of all the games I've played, I have to say that none have sucked more time out of my life than the Warcraft series from Blizzard. I'm a little surprised that the series did not get mentioned. Blizzard has always been very good to the Mac Gamers, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who was totally captured by the very first demo of Warcraft I.



What about the best-selling CD-ROM game of all time (for a long time, anyway): MYST?



Thanks - Myth TFL and it's sequels are still, in myh, the best games ever created. Is there another game anywhere with the rotating camera view? This is why I keep my old beige G3 with system 9.



how about Exile Trilogy? I think it's the most intelligent role-playing-game ever. Nothing beats them. Jeff Vogel still makes good ones with the Avernum sequels.



I remember playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II+ back in '83. I was just that much ahead of my time. It was pretty easy to master once you figured out how to shoot the deer.

My favorite Mac game was, and still is, Daleks.



I've found many older titles at a website called 'Macintosh Garden.'

Just do a google search for that and you might be able to find games that you forgot about.



How could you leave it off the top ten. It was the only game to get major play time at my high school. It's because of Bolo that I am a Mac fan. There is nothing as cool as having a full 16 man game going, battling it out. And there is still a version that can be played on OS X, found at Another great game that was completely forgotten was Specter. Now that was the coolest vector graphic game that I ever played. The other two games that passed a many an hour on my Mac Pluses were Robosport and Maze Wars.


Zack Stern

I always liked shooting an enemy's little man and then trying to be first to find him parachute back in. And the mines. Always hide some mines. Yeah, I'll have to try the Bolo update.

Spectre and Super Maze Wars were also great. Good additions.



Spectre was also my favorite game on our office Apple SE II
and I would occasionally play it all night instead of going home...if you can believe it.

The other one we played that I loved was called "Diamond" but it is totally different from the one you can find now called the same. I really wonder what happened to that perpetually rebounding diamond ball that despite all my efforts would keep disappearing into dangerous pockets as it rolled across the landscape.



Back in 1988 when I had my Mac SE we used to have a saying: "friends don't let friends play Tetris." That game was so addictive when we first got our hands on it that you literally had to pry people away from it in order to get them to go outside and get some fresh air.

I do like some of your other choices but you forgot another all-time classic:

Leisure Suit Larry!!!



As for being on a universal top ten list I'm not sure, but I know my top games would include Escape Velocity, Escape Velocity: Nova, Flashback, and Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis.



NICE job! A wonderfully rich, informed, and intelligent waltz down Mac-gaming memory lane.

But leaving out Glider Pro and SimCity...?


Zack Stern

Thanks. And, yeah, there are always more items in the numbered "n-best list" that don't make the cut. At least those two get some love in the introduction.



I am really pleased that someone who really understands Mac gaming wrote this article. Myth is one of the top games of all time on ANY platform, and is surely one of the most under-appreciated games as well. During a time when Starcraft was all the rage, my friends and I would battle it out in Myth with my 10 base T ethernet hub. I still believe the physics were some of the best (and most fun) put in a video game, and yes, I am still amused by the dwarfs. The only thing that bothered me was the frequent glitches and crashing caused by 3rd party maps and mods (which still have some problems even with the most recent updates). This is definitely a game to keep around though.



Myth is/was the most wonderful game ever. I spent hours upon hours and days and weeks playing this game on line with a vibrant and often very skilled community. In my sleep I would see arrows flying through the air and fires and thrall and all sorts of things.
It was a lifestyle for many of us and some us are still playing today although the community has shrunk.

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