Welcome (back) to Macintosh!
The tech preservation organization is hosting the emulator online along with 45 applications and games for the original MacOS, mostly ranging from 1984 to 1989 – the first five years of the Mac’s existence. Among the programs posted are classic games and early versions of Microsoft Basic.
The archive also includes an emulated Mac Plus system with 4,096KB of RAM running MacOS 7.0.1 (circa 1991). That collection includes two hard drives packed with additional programs (including Microsoft Excel, Hypercard, and BBEdit), and a number of additional system utilities (including ResEdit) for further digging around the MacOS.
“If you’ve not experienced the original operating system for the Macintosh family of computers, it’s an interesting combination of well-worn conventions in the modern world, along with choices that might seem strange or off-the-mark,” wrote Internet Archive historian Jason Scott.
“At the time the machine was released, however, they landed new ideas in the hands of a worldwide audience and gained significant fans and followers almost immediately.”
The emulation is pretty smooth on a modern machine: the emulated original Macintosh has an 8MHz Motorola 68000 CPU, 64KB of ROM, 128KB of RAM expandable to 4MB with non-Apple upgrades, and a 9″ black and white 512 x 342 pixel display, and can take 400KB single-sided floppy disks. The Mac Plus has basically the same specs except it has 1MB of RAM expandable to 4MB, can take 800KB double-side floppy disks, and has a SCSI port. All that tech can now comfortably fit in a browser window.
The collection highlights a period when the Mac was helping to create a number of digital media industries, and a time when the Mac still had to sell itself as a viable alternative to not only IBM-compatible PCs, but also its own predecessor the Apple II, which was still holding strong in the home and education markets in the 1980s.
Click on one of the frames below to play Rogue or Dark Castle.
It also recalls a time most younger people never experienced, when the mouse and clickable icons were considered new-fangled ideas and internet connections were unheard of for many. UK Mac fans in particular might be interested to leaf through the first issue of e‑zine 1984 (published in 1998, no less).