9 Classic OS 9 Games You Should Install On Your Old Mac

I love my new Mac, but I still enjoy using old hardware too and there’s nothing quite like playing retro games in the environment they were intended for. Assuming you have a PowerPC Mac lying around, there’s nothing stopping you from installing either OS 9 or OS X’s ‘Classic’ emulator and turning that aging Mac into a retro gaming rig!

Still need convincing? Read on after the break to take a look at my pick of 9 great retro OS 9 games.

Prince Of Persia offers great retro platforming fun

Prince Of Persia offers great retro platforming fun

Prince Of Persia

I remember way back when Prince Of Persia was first released and its graphics blew me away. Returning for another play now, I still think they hold up surprisingly well, considering their age.

As the initial story scenes show, the user is given control of a nameless prince who must escape the palace dungeons which he has been banished to and save his beloved princess. Prince Of Persia is a classic platform game but the location of ancient Persia and its unusual gameplay involving sword fights and puzzles ensure that it’s a platform game with its own distinct style and one that you’ll return to again and again.

Descent's 360 degree gameplay was truly revolutionary

Descent's 360 degree gameplay was truly revolutionary


Descent is a 3D first person shooter which was so futuristic and ahead of its time when it was released way back in 1995, that it still has the power to keep a player on the edge of their seat.

The gameplay takes place from within a miniature spacecraft and there is no gravity, allowing for six degrees of movement. The feeling of freedom in movement is far more pronounced than when playing Doom for example and Descent moves along at a fast, slick pace despite its impressive graphics.

The Secret Of Monkey Island is an adventure masterpiece

The Secret Of Monkey Island is an adventure masterpiece

The Secret Of Monkey Island

Powered by the SCUMM graphical engine which gave rise to many classic immersive adventure games, The Secret Of Monkey Island is something of a genre defining classic and one which can be recommended even to those who are not fans of such games.

The game is set on a Caribbean Island called Mêlée and the user controls Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who wants to become a pirate, meeting a host of characters and a bad guy named LeChuck on the way. The graphics are excellent and keep the game feeling fresh even today – little wonder then that there has been a recent iOS port.

Doom - have some violent fun with a classic

Doom - have some violent fun with a classic


If you were born at a certain time and liked computer games, you almost definitely spent a chunk of your gaming life playing Doom. Doom isn’t really a storyline kind of game but the basic premise is that you’re a marine stranded in Mars, struggling to survive in the face of a massive onslaught of aliens straight from hell.

If you’ve never experienced the terror of running around a claustrophobic Doom maze which is filled with demons and not quite enough ammo to kill them all, then go play this. Now.

What's badder than Nazi bad guys? Mutant Nazi bad guys!

What's badder than Nazi bad guys? Mutant Nazi bad guys!

Wolfenstein 3D

Widely regarded as one of the forerunners of first-person shooters, Wolfenstein 3D is by the same developers as Doom (id Software) and can be seen as very similar, albeit with more rudimentary graphics. The player takes control of an American soldier attempting to escape from Nazi occupied Castle Wolfenstein and one must shoot through Nazi bad guys, dogs and mutant soldiers.

Wolfenstein 3D is a great piece of gaming history which still offers a fun playing experience to this day.

Awaken your inner bricklayer with Tetris

Awaken your inner bricklayer with Tetris


As far as classic retro games go, it doesn’t get much more classic or retro than the original version of Tetris. To be honest, my own Tetris playing experience began and ended with my Nintendo GameBoy but when revisiting this version for this article, I realized I had forgotten just how good Tetris is!

Extremely addictive and satisfying, this Mac OS 9 version of Tetris should help you pass many hours of frustration and fun.

Civilization 1 - where the series began

Civilization 1 - where the series began


Sid Meier’s Civilization is the classic turn-based strategy game which arguably defined an entire genre of strategy games. Beginning with an empty map and little else, the aim is to build up an empire.

There’s a definite learning curve to Civilization and when just starting out it can be a little underwhelming to the novice, but get stuck in and give it some time and I guarantee you’ll be converted to the brilliance of this gem.

Fire up Duke Nukem, grab a gun and kick some alien butt

Fire up Duke Nukem, grab a gun and kick some alien butt

Duke Nukem 3D

Imagine Doom, but with jetpacks, strippers and bad language. The player takes the part of Duke and is tasked with killing aliens in an attempt to single handedly stave off an alien invasion. The environment is interactive and the graphics stand up remarkably well considering the games age, allowing light switches to be thrown, walls to be blown and even toilets to be used.

While Duke Nukem 3D’s modern day successor has turned out to be something of a disappointment, don’t let that put you off this classic first person shooter with its tongue firmly in its cheek.

Lemmings prove to be predictably self-destructive if left to their own devices

Lemmings prove to be predictably self-destructive if left to their own devices


Lemmings is a great little puzzle game originally developed for PC and Amiga which gave an entire generation of gamers a belief in the misconception that lemmings commit mass suicide.

The user must guide a required amount of lemmings to safety, since they are, well, lemmings and don’t look after themselves too well. The game begins sedately enough and seems simple, but before long the pace can become frenetic. Lemmings walks that fine line between infuriating and addictive with ease, making you hate and love it at the same time.


While modern software and hardware capabilities have doubtlessly brought many great games into fruition, there’s often no beating the classics. Not all of the above choices are OS 9 only and many will run under emulation or have a more up to date version on OS X, but OS 9 offers the chance to play the titles as they were often originally envisaged.

The above 9 games reflect my own preferences and I can imagine that I’ve probably missed lots of great games. Please let us know in the comments if you’ve got any recommendations for great OS 9 games!


Add Yours
  • Spectre VR, at least I think that is what it was called. A futuristic tank battle with minamalist graphics and cool sounds.

    • Yes! Loved that game. Sounds were classic, and I think I’ve heard them in other games later.

  • Where the heck is Marathon on this list!

    • Totally agree! Seriously, how you can make a list like this without adding Marathon is beyond me… it was like the precursor to Halo!

    • Oh man, I knew I would forget at least one big one…

      • No worries, this is still a great list.

  • no way to play em on a modern mac? :(

    • You can play them using Boxer app (http://boxerapp.com/).
      And many other games too ))

      • I will second boxer! Its amazing….the Prince Of Persia I have (from an old pc) wors better in boxer then it did back than. lol

  • I completely forgot how much I loved Descent. It came in a sample pack of CDs we got with our Performa. So many good times.

    I’m pretty damn pissed at Lion and its refusal to support PPC software. This is now reason #2 I’m considering reverting to Snow Leopard (#1 being Diablo 2)

    • Oops. Forgot just how old this was. OS9 is tricky on Snow Leopard too.

  • I’m still waiting for Desert Trek to return :)

  • What does it have to share with productivity RSS feed? please correct your feeds settings!

  • Aren’t most of these games open source now? And thus could be played on a modern mac natively?

  • played all of them already :(
    gimme some more :D

  • Myst
    Myth II: Soulblighter
    Marathon series

  • Glider

  • A nice list, and I remember a few of them on floppy disc, years ago…

    However, there appears to be a technical problem with the site where these are supposed to be downloaded now, and it says to ‘check back later’

    Is their issue due to there being an interest in these games, or other problem?

    in a small town
    kenai mts, AK.

  • My favorite retro games were Shufflepuck Cafe and Lode Runner. Updates to both would be fantastic.

    • I actually scrolled down to the comments in order to add a vote for shufflepuck cafe, then I saw your post :-) Indeed! I love that game

  • I used to enjoy these games in addition to the ones already mentioned:
    Pathways into darkness
    Theme Park
    Populous 2
    Warcraft 2

    • Very nearly put Syndicate on there too, will check out the others.

  • The top 9 seems a little heavy on first person shooters.

    RPGs: exile, ultima, realmz

    Space trading: escape velocity, space ward ho!

    These games don’t require os 9 and have been ported to other systems but the Mac versions are nice. All run fine in OS 8.

  • How would you forget Lode Runner?

  • I have given an old iBook OS 9 to my grandson to play games on and was shocked to realize how difficult it is to access the software. Are you able to download some games onto CD’s for me as I am having trouble downloading off the web. He is particular;t interested in in Tetris/Quin and Bejewelled ( if available for OS 9). I will be happy to pay for the software if I can get them on CDs for him.

    Hoping you can help. Many thanks.

    Heather Mendel

  • Not in any special order but..

    1. Shadow Warrior
    2. Dark Forces
    3. Quake I & II
    4. Redneck Rampage
    5. Red Faction
    6. Tomb Raider Gold
    7. Heretic II
    8. Asteroids
    10. Alien VS Predator
    11. Deus Ex
    12. Unreal & UT
    13. Return To Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW)

    All these are PPC native & run quite well on a 400MHz PPC!

  • Sounds were classic, and I think I’ve heard them in other games later. Thanks for Sharing!

  • I am prying this post and thinking of it’s theme and attempting to understand what is this post about. adsfasdf