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Opry99er

Meanderings and Musings on classic Mac OSes

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Being an impressionable adolescent with the world in front of me, marvelling at the unbelievable technological advances of the late 80s and early 90s, I was taught that Mac was the ONLY computer out there worth having. My dad bought a used SE from a friend in about 1989 or 1990 and I saw for the first time a graphic user interface, a mouse, and many other things that seemed other-worldly to me.

 

We went through all the OS upgrades on our Performa which came later, then our first 'Power-PC" and eventually to a G3 and beyond.

 

I was always amazed at the upgrades... And all the Mac OSes seemed to be better and more rich, but still "Maccy," if I may coin a term here.

 

When dad moved up to OSX, however, something changed. I cannot describe exactly what that was, but something got lost.

 

Our beloved Mac seemed more like a Windows machine than a Mac, and I couldn't then (nor can I now) really put my finger on why I no longer got the same feeling from our computer that I did in the 90s.

 

 

I started thinking about OS 6 all the way through 9.x and began looking up the memories on Youtube and the like. There was such a unique richness of texture, a warmth around those operating systems... As a Mac user, those operating systems made me feel like I was part of something different.... Better.

 

I remember being impressed by OSX at first, but my computing experience was never the same with a Mac after that. Eventually I bought an XP desktop... Then a Win7 laptop. I no longer felt the need to own a Mac once we got into the OSX timeline.

 

I think back and remember fondly the first Performa we got, with all its magic and color... The Compuserve days. Our Mac was a member of the family.

 

There was a Je Ne Sais Quoi about the system... I used the term earlier, 'richness of texture,' and that is really all I can say, although the words themselves seem hollow and understated.

 

I wish I had the words to formulate a description of the evocation of this strong emotion, but in this case, I only have the memories. They are clear and present in my mind, but I do not know how to convey them.

 

 

Does anyone else have an affinity for older (pre-OSX) Mac operating systems? Surely if you grew up using a Mac, you know what I am talking about.

 

 

Anyway, enough with the rant. :)

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I like System 7. The OSX stuff got way more hand holding.

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I wonder why there isn't a Mac section in Classic Computing?

 

The monochrome style of early Macintoshes was really unique, and I love some of the art that was created on it. Black and white dithered graphics, Dark Castle, Crystal Quest, Continuum, MacPlaymate, Apache Strike, Dungeon of Doom, and so much more.

 

I've been dabbling in MiniVMac and grabbing stuff from the Macintosh Garden. It's a bit of a shame it's such a pain in the ass to convert these old disk images. I wish GOG would get the rights to distribute some ancient Mac games so others could share in the fun.

 

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Our beloved Mac seemed more like a Windows machine than a Mac, and I couldn't then (nor can I now) really put my finger on why I no longer got the same feeling from our computer that I did in the 90s.

I can't find the exact Steve Jobs quote, but it was something to the effect of, "we won, every computer is a Mac now" since everybody uses a mouse-driven, windows-type UI at least for some things. OS X was a lot more like NEXT than anything else, but the low-rent "warmth" was definitely engineered out. I feel like it came back in iOS up through iOS 6 before the big redesign.

 

Much of our impressions come from our own experiences, I think. Nowadays, even crappy computers are pretty good, and you don't need to spend $2000 to a whole lot more than what the Mac could do. This comparison is with an old phone and the first iMac, which was orders of magnitude ahead of our SE and Plus all-in-one machines, just a whole other universe.

 

bondi-blue-imac-and-iPhone-4-comparison.

 

I briefly wore a Pebble watch. Imagine this watch face with a white housing. It made me feel good.

pebble-mac.png

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Yes... Good stuff there. :)

 

We bought one of those iMacs in the late 90s. My sister Cassie had it in her room... She liked playing Gahan Wilson's Haunted House. Cool game.

 

That machine had the warmth too. We had OS9 on that machine. OS9 was a very good OS. :)

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I wonder... And I haven't researched this...

 

Could OS7 be ran on your Powerbook? I do not remember the compatibility specs on the 90s Mac machines... IIRC, the machines were fairly flexible on installing older OSes if one wanted to. Not that you'd ever want to, but...

 

 

They were all 32 bit Motorola CPUs, if I am remembering correctly... Until Mac went to Intel in the 2000s.

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System 6.0.8, System 7.5, Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X 10.4 are my favorites. One reason may be that those are most "persistent" and long-lived OSes for their time, running on a wide range of hardware, compatible with a large range of peripherals, and building a larger software library of stable titles.

 

Other than a few PowerPC Macs running 10.4, I happily run the "classic" Mac OSes in emulation. Mini vMac runs 6, Basillisk II runs 7.5, and SheepShaver runs 9.

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Could OS7 be ran on your Powerbook? I do not remember the compatibility specs on the 90s Mac machines... IIRC, the machines were fairly flexible on installing older OSes if one wanted to. Not that you'd ever want to, but...

 

I'm thinking probably not ... unless it originally shipped with it. As I recall (and it's been a while), these came with specific setup discs with the necessary drivers and system extensions for the portable hardware. You could go forward (to a point) but generally not back. Just like with modern Macs.

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I have been using 6.0.4 in my minivMac emulation, and this is definitely the OS I remember from my MacPlus days. So simple, yet so intuitive and powerful (in perspective).

 

WITW Carmen Sandiego (B&W version) does not work properly on any mac after OS6, so it was worth it just for that. But I found Stunt Copter as well, and that is a MUST for Msc enthusiasts... Will also not run at proper speed on OS7 or above.

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Dang, watching that Apache Strike video has me wanting that game! I never poayed it, but it looks like a quality game, for sure. Hope it runs on OS6!

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I love the classic Mac OS. I cut my teeth on a Performa 6116CD running System 7.5. I have a Quicksilver G4 sitting next to the iMac I'm typing this on. I taught myself C programming on the Mac and continue to dabble in it. I wrote a little scripting language for an action RPG I've been tinkering with since forever. I'll post a screenshot next time I fire it up and can grab one.

 

The black and white Macs running System 6 were a little before my time but I do have a couple. One I acquired from an uncle. It's a 512k Mac with the Mac Plus upgrade. It's pretty neat and it came with a bunch of stuff (including magazines) but I don't have the nostalgia for it. I let my son play Alphabet Train on it and he loved that. There's also a game where you have to drop a guy from a helicopter into a haystack on a wagon. That was fun too. :)

 

I think the biggest let-down with Mac OS X was the way it gimped the Finder. In classic Mac OS, each Finder window represented a folder. Every time I double click a folder in classic Mac OS, the window will open up in the exact same position, size, and view setting (icon, list, etc.) that it was in when I last closed it. With Mac OS X, each Finder window is just a dumb browser. That hard connection between folder and window was lost. You can even have two windows that show the exact same folder contents, something that just wasn't possible with the classic Mac OS. With Spaces I'm okay with it but there's that familiarity and consistency that I still miss.

 

Another problem I have with Mac OS X (and I seem to be alone in this) is the Dock. I hate it. With a few tweaks it can be a useful tool. As it is, it's a poor UI component. On classic Mac OS there is this program called The Tilery. I love it. It's everything I wish the Dock would be. It still has a web page: http://www.semicolon.com/old/Tilery.html

 

Don't even get me started on the Column Browser. Grr. Great idea (quick drilling through folders), poor implementation. As anal-retentive Apple used to be about Human Interface Guidelines, they've really let themselves go since Mac OS X came around. They'll happily add more emojis or Facebook integration into OS X but will they fix the Finder? the Dock? the Column Browser? Queue crickets chirping.

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Agreed with you on the unique GUI as it pertains to the individual windows.

 

I myself have a great affinity for the OS6 B&W Mac Plus because it occupied so much of my early memories. I have been looking for one to use as a sometimes-game-machine and most of the time word processor... I still love the old MS Word that was available for that machine.

 

I'll find one at a good price one day. Until then, minivMac is awesome.

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Dang, watching that Apache Strike video has me wanting that game! I never poayed it, but it looks like a quality game, for sure. Hope it runs on OS6!

It does, I was playing it recently on 6.0.8 via MiniVMac. I really enjoyed my bootleg of that on my Mac SE as a college student in 1988.

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When we had the MacPlus, we only had 3 or 4 games, so I didn't get to fully explore the game library back then. OS7-9 though, we had a ton.

 

 

What I found so fascinating about the MacPlus (OS6) was the mouse.... Coolest thing ever. First time I navigated through folders and printed my first documents, I was hooked on computing forever.

 

When I went back and explored our FIRST computer (the TI-99) I realized that it was not just a game console and I was drawn in.

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Okay, about that Crystal Quest thing, I confess the only version I really saw in person was the IIGS version (What can I say; the GS's transitions really lured me in!).

 

Now that I know it's FINALLY been ported to PC, I shelled out to the Game Mechanics Store for a copy.

 

My one complaint: The options are stuck as they are - I can't even adjust mouse sensitivity!

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I find the old monochrome Mac games have a lot of charm. That's why I have a Mac Classic ghat use for games. I also have a Color Classic, but that doesn't see as much use.

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Okay, about that Crystal Quest thing, I confess the only version I really saw in person was the IIGS version (What can I say; the GS's transitions really lured me in!).

 

Now that I know it's FINALLY been ported to PC, I shelled out to the Game Mechanics Store for a copy.

 

My one complaint: The options are stuck as they are - I can't even adjust mouse sensitivity!

I thought there were options. Maybe try contacting the developer? I don't think he's super busy. :-(
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