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Best Mac Laptop for 90's Mac Gaming

mac powerbook g3

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#1 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:50 AM

So long before I amassed the epic console collection I have now, I had just an NES, and my Mac Performa 450.  I spent most of the 90's alternating between them when home.  I have MANY fond memories of playing games on my Mac, including Doom, Wolf 3D, Sim City 2000, The Oregon Trail, and countless others I can't even remember right now.

 

I was thinking of getting a pre OSX Mac Laptop to game on (portable, space, can hook up to big VGA monitor) and wanted to get the opinion of some AA gamers.

 

I've (almost) settled on a Mac Powerbook G3 "Pismo" model.  My reasoning is the following-

 

-It runs both OS9.2.2 (for 90's gaming) and OSX 10.4.11 (for some modern functionality)

 

-At 500mhz and 1 gig ram, 80 gb hardrive potential, I could do some modern stuff with it

 

-Includes CD rom drive, USB ports, and most modern connections needed, like Wifi Capability and ethernet.

 

-I could hook it up to the monitor I use for my Atari ST and thus one less desktop taking up space (Already have a ST and Apple IIGS in my stable)

 

Any input or thoughts are much appreciated, thanks in advance!

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#2 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:51 AM

Well.....i guess this isn't "classic" enough for most of you haha.  

 

I did find some great info on the Pismo:

 

http://lowendmac.com...-2000-firewire/

 

I am convinced now it is the best machine for the job, being as powerful as it is it should handily run all games designed for Mac 9.2.2 (and natively, rather than in "classic" mode as on newer intel macs) and prior legacy OS's.



#3 towmater OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:25 AM

68K compatibility? I'd have a browse at Low End Mac.

 

.com


Edited by towmater, Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:25 AM.


#4 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:29 AM

Anyone know if any old usb mouse and keyboard should work on this (has two USB 1.1 ports) or am I going to have to look for certain make/model/years because of the age and the fact that it's not USB 2.0?

 

Either way, pretty excited to have my Pismo en route!

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Edited by travistouchdown, Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:31 AM.


#5 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:34 AM

(Derp, didn't see you said it had USB ports.)


Edited by The Usotsuki, Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:34 AM.


#6 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:02 AM

USB 2 is backward compatible with USB 1.1. For memory sticks you'll ahve slower transfert rates, for keyboards and mouses, no problems.

Well I dunno for US models but the layout for French Mac and PC are different, so you might need to get an Apple Keyboard... tho if your plan to do gaming, you'll mostly care about the mouse.

Not sure how well older Mac OS react with standard mouses, but at worst you'll have no wheel support.



#7 madman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:17 PM

If you can stick an SSD in there that'd probably be a great upgrade over the ancient spinning disk drive in there. 



#8 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:33 PM

So it was upgraded to an 80gb HD, but at FastMac they have a 160GB available (for big bucks):

 

http://store.fastmac...products_id=324

 

Then on my local craigslist this pops up:

 

http://vermont.craig...5920455011.html

 

Is this not the same thing used for $20?  Any reason this one wouldn't work?  Thanks!

 

Pretty cool that a number of good upgrades are available for this old MacBook including a g4 processor upgrade 

 

OS9 Games that I have on Route

 

-Ultimate Doom

-Doom II

-Sim City 2000 Full packs included

-Marathon Trilogy

-Warcraft II

-Diablo II



#9 madman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:57 PM

Those are SATA drives, the Pismo appears to use IDE/ATA from what I can tell with my limited research.



#10 towmater OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:20 PM

I haven't seen an SATA in any of my PowerPC machines, only scsi or ATA.



#11 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:38 PM

So this came in and i'm loving it!  I figured out how to boot it into 9 and back into OSX, and it generally seems awesome.  Lots upgrade parts out there that i'm looking into; luckily it already has 1GB Ram, but ordered a superdisk drive and pretty excited to swap drives and batteries in this thing.  Will be interesting to read my grade/middle school homework assignments after all these years.  The adaptability of the Pismo was one of its strong suites.  Will get a DVD burner at some point as well, it takes all of 30 seconds to swap drives..so cool wish they still made them this way.

 

Okay...gushing aside.

 

I was playing Doom II on mac OS9 and the screen sizes seem to be small or smaller?

 

Did they design it in this way in 1994 to keep speeds up, or is there any way to full screen it.  I couldn't find anything online and I figured someone on here might know.

 

It looks good and its fast and smooth just not a fan of the small screen (though that is how I had to play it on my Mac Performa 450 back in the day with it's blazing 33mhz processor haha.)

 

Thanks!

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#12 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:29 PM

I'm an ancient Mac gamer, but I have to ask ... why go round the long way to get a Pismo if you're just going to play an iffy port of a DOS game that runs great on modern equipment? I play old-ass DOS games on a $70 HP Stream from eBay. I admire your tenacity, though.  :D

 

I remember the "Wall Street" and "Pismo" laptops from when they were new and super expensive. My wild GUESS is that they don't have the same amount of VRAM as a desktop from the day, so wouldn't be able to render fast graphics as well. 

 

Speaking of ancient Mac games, Crystal Quest Classic is on Steam for two dollars, and it's great. http://store.steampo...com/app/497510/



#13 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:53 AM

Yeah I guess I just like playing all the Mac games I played in the 90's on a Mac.  The Pismo (as you mentioned) was sort of the last top of the line mac laptop before jobs took back over and make everything candy colored and crazy.  It's capabilities and expandability are pretty cool, and running 9.2 and being as powerful as it it means I can play anything from the 90's disc/cd-rom era at top speed.

 

I don't really know much about steam (at all, have no idea) but maybe it's time to learn and make my life easier. 



#14 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:33 AM

Steam is a fairly cool site in you are heavy into gaming (I'm not).  They have lots of retro-games that are easily downloaded and playable on modern PC's.  In fact when I have Duke Nukem 3D nostalgia pangs....I'll go there to "kick ass because I'm all outta gum".  ;)



#15 MrMaddog OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:26 PM

That's a cool idea, my mom still has her iMac G3 next to her (Intel based) Mac Mini for playing MacOS 9 games.

 

For playing old DOS & Win95 games on modern PC's though, I highly recommend GOG over Steam. GOG actually makes the games run on current 64-bit Windows while Steam makes you jump though flaming hoops just to run them.



#16 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:42 PM

What would you say would be the best all around desktop Mac to play old Mac OS classic games (circa 1995-2002 maybe)? I have been considering giving it a whirl, but with so many options it gets confusing :) I have seen iMac G3's locally, a Performa 6230CD, and a G4. Looks like the G4 is 733MHz (I think), the G3's are either 266 or 333MHz, and the performa being the slowest at 120MHz. I am leaning toward the fast G4 obviously, but are there any issues such as vintage games running too fast? I have always been a DOS/Windows guy, so I know very little regarding this side of things :)



#17 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:22 PM

What would you say would be the best all around desktop Mac to play old Mac OS classic games (circa 1995-2002 maybe)?

For me, it would be a modern Mac or Windows machine running MinivMac, Basilisk, and Sheepshaver. You can make a virtual version of almost any Mac this way.

http://macintoshgarden.org/guides

I find old school hardware to be too much of a pain in the ass to keep running reliably.

To answer your question about hardware, yes G4 is nice, and you can get one that can boot OS9, but it still won't run the pre-PowerPC black and white stuff from the old Plus and SE days very well. If you're going to emulate anyway, it might as well be on infinitely more capable modern hardware.

#18 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:31 PM

For me, it would be a modern Mac or Windows machine running MinivMac, Basilisk, and Sheepshaver. You can make a virtual version of almost any Mac this way.

http://macintoshgarden.org/guides

I find old school hardware to be too much of a pain in the ass to keep running reliably.

 

 

Ahh, but that is the name of the game :) I actually want to do it the pain in the ass way....haha! I guess this is why I'm using real hardware for my C128/C64/Vic needs as well as my Apple II/IIgs needs (instead of Vice or any of the Apple II emulators). I was actually planning on digging out one of my old Pentium machines next week and performing a restoration/reload to use for old Windows and DOS games. I know I can use DOSbox and others to accomplish the same thing..... but it's just an accomplishment to get it to run on the real deal.... at least for me :)



#19 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:10 PM

If the "game" is dicking around with old hardware, fair enough, we all like different things!

Have you got some old favorite Mac games? For me, as much as I loved it, "it's complicated."

It's a bit like playing arcade ports on the VCS or Colecovision -- you used what you had, and there were some advantages to the Mac, such as higher screen resolutions, for a while.

When MAME came along, the 8-bit home ports of arcade games were still charming, but no longer had the same draw. When Windows 95 and 3D acceleration hit the home PC game scene, Mac lagged behind, and in my view, became mostly irrelevant. We got full priced ports of a subset of some good 2-year-old games.

A few things pop out as fun-to-me Mac exclusives:

- Apeiron (from Ambrosia Software) is still my favorite Centipede clone
- the Marathon trilogy, playable in Aleph One
- Escape Velocity, also from Ambrosia

The Connectix Virtually Game Station software that emulated Sony PlayStation was shit hot at the time, but somehow less impressive today. :-D

Got favorite software, preferably Mac-exclusive?

#20 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:39 PM

Nope, I have no favorite software at all....zilch. I never owned a Mac and until I do I won't know what I like or what I don't. I wanted to, but they were too expensive for me in those days. I do however see a lot of games (Macintosh Garden) that I do know that were ported to the Mac and now I can grab one of these things for pocket change (ie: $30-$40 for a complete system!). So I say, why the hell not? Why not experience some of the stuff the "rich kids" did while I was working with spare parts just trying to make Windows 95 ends meet? It is certainly cheap enough today as people are junking these things left and right. In other words, "its new to me!".

 

As for impressiveness, it all pretty much impresses me. I get impressed by Vic-20 homebrew (ie: Doom). I guess you can say I have an appreciation for all hardware, be it new or old. I remember really wanting a 486 DX2 back when I worked in NYC in the mid 90's as well. Maybe that has become more affordable now :) Or...maybe not....

 

I guess it is the same reasoning why people here still collect cartridges and old game systems. They can all be emulated more or less to perfection.... but people get the real stuff for other reasons than to just play the game. My reason primarily is to get stuff I wanted to have back then but couldn't afford it. Now I can...for the most part. Vintage computer stuff has skyrocketed over the past couple of years as many have been recycled/tossed out. I was able to grab Amiga 500's for $20 a system years ago...try that now. This is the right time to but a late 90's Mac if you truly want one. Five years from now might not be.

 

As for Mame and the 8-Bit home ports....give me Double Dragon on the NES any day over the arcade version :) There's a really deep appreciation I have for home ports of arcade games that stems back to waiting and wanting that "home conversion" of an arcade game. Getting it and it either sucked or was fantastic...and in some cases BETTER than the arcade version. I loved those days. "Ninja Princess" is another example. "The Ninja" on the SMS was (in my personal opinion mind you) far superior and I will always remember it as such. Those home ports will always have a draw for me and even to this day I love comparing them.



#21 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:03 PM

I don't particularity like osX compatible machines, its like nailing your balls to a board to get pentium 3 games that anyone with a pc can play for the last almost 2 decades, whats the point 

 

I do like 68k machines cause they provide games that were on PC, but in like a HD mode in regards to graphics and sound 


Edited by Osgeld, Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:04 PM.


#22 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:15 PM

I don't particularity like osX compatible machines, its like nailing your balls to a board to get pentium 3 games that anyone with a pc can play for the last almost 2 decades, whats the point 

 

I do like 68k machines cause they provide games that were on PC, but in like a HD mode in regards to graphics and sound 

 

 

You touch on a good point. I remember my friend's dad "upgrading" to a cheesy PC compatible from a C64 while we were playing with the Amiga. His games were low color with beeping noises while we had all the swag :) 



#23 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:44 AM

What would you say would be the best all around desktop Mac to play old Mac OS classic games (circa 1995-2002 maybe)? I have been considering giving it a whirl, but with so many options it gets confusing :) I have seen iMac G3's locally, a Performa 6230CD, and a G4. Looks like the G4 is 733MHz (I think), the G3's are either 266 or 333MHz, and the performa being the slowest at 120MHz. I am leaning toward the fast G4 obviously, but are there any issues such as vintage games running too fast? I have always been a DOS/Windows guy, so I know very little regarding this side of things :)

 

This was the last killer performance beige tower pre Jobs technicolor dreamland macs:

 

https://en.wikipedia..._Macintosh_9600

 

Probably would be cheaper to go with one of the early g4's though as you can get them for next to nothing and they will boot both os9.2 and OSX easily.

 

This guy right here:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Mac_G4 


Edited by travistouchdown, Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:47 AM.


#24 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:18 PM

I had a 9600 a few years ago cause it just landed in my lap, decent performer for its age



#25 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:15 PM

Nope, I have no favorite software at all....zilch. I never owned a Mac and until I do I won't know what I like or what I don't. I wanted to, but they were too expensive for me in those days. I do however see a lot of games (Macintosh Garden) that I do know that were ported to the Mac and now I can grab one of these things for pocket change (ie: $30-$40 for a complete system!). So I say, why the hell not?

I know why the hell not, and I think you'll find out soon enough.  ;)

 

No point in me discouraging you from the hunt, though. I've certainly bought plenty of stuff that I remember being expensive. Starting with Atari cartridges, which is why I come to this site. At least with computers, unlike with cars, it's easy to pass them along. Old Macintoshes were elegant machines in their day, and it's always fun to look back on their launch prices. 

 

Point taken about the sweet spot in pricing before they're gone. It also gets harder to find parts like slow RAM, small HDDs, VGA screens, but you're in the retro computer scene anyway so you know what you're in for. 

 

I don't particularity like osX compatible machines, its like nailing your balls to a board to get pentium 3 games that anyone with a pc can play for the last almost 2 decades, whats the point 

 

I do like 68k machines cause they provide games that were on PC, but in like a HD mode in regards to graphics and sound 

Agreed 100% here. The 68K machines are iconic and truly unique. Anything requiring OS X is compromised IMHO unless you can run modern stuff on it, too. In the middle, there's the Amelio-era beige machines running IBM PowerPC chips like that big beige 9600 box Travis is talking about. While interesting, I don't think they've aged well at all, certainly not for games. 

 

 

The Mirror Drive Door G4 is the ultimate retro desktop Mac because it straddles the two OS eras. It runs OS9 really well, and OS X decently for something of its age. As I've said, I think if you're going to run OS X you might as well just get something newer though. 

 

The original iMac is probably pretty easy to find in good shape, has a decent spec for games, can run OS9, and has (slow) USB onboard. That's what I'd start with if I were looking for a desktop vintage Mac. 

 

PM me if you change your mind and want some emulation material instead.  :D







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