The Power of Mac

Back to School Games

Eric Schwarz - 2001.08.23

Two weeks ago we looked at three different PowerBooks for school use. Last week we talked about software for those computers. In this article, the last in the series, I will share with you some information on some of the best games/time wasters for these PowerBooks. (If you want to read more on games for older Macs, visit Brian Rumsey's Low End Mac Gaming column.)

Please note: A lot of the software mentioned here is no longer for sale, or may be for sale as a newer version that may or may not run on these computers. For these programs (the commercial ones) look on the LEM-Swap email list or used Mac resellers (such as Shreve Systems, Midwest Mac, Small Dog Electronics, etc.). For the free/shareware programs, do a search on Google or check your favorite FTP archive.

ColorFall, shareware ($10), John V. Holder, 1994

A Tetris-like game, but rather than different shapes falling, boxes with different color patterns fall. Requires only about 512 KB, so you can run it off of a RAMDisk. One more thing - it's highly addictive!

Diamonds, commercial, Varcon Systems, Inc., 1992

This game is kinda like the arcade game Breakout, but instead of hitting rows of boxes, the idea is to hit all the boxes of one color and then the next color. You have to avoid the "skull boxes" which make you lose a ball (chance). You have 6 balls, and when you run out, the game is over. You can edit levels, create new levels, and practice other levels. I highly recommend this game. You can probably find a demo on the Web.

Eric's Solitaire Sample, free, Delta Tao Software, 1996

This program used to come with every Mac, and can also be downloaded from the Web. It's a card game. The demo version includes two games: Klondike and Eight Off. Klondike is similar to the solitare games that everyone is used to (like Windoze Solitare) and Eight Off is similar to Windoze FreeCell, but also different. If you like the demo, you can buy Eric's Ultimate Solitaire CD.

SimTower, commercial, Maxis, 1995

This game is similar to SimCity, but instead the goal is to build a sky-scraper. Items include an elevator, hotel rooms, apartments, offices, stores, movie theaters, parking garages, restaurants, and much more. The more people that move in, the more goodies you can build.

SimCity 2000, commercial, Maxis, 1995

This game is like SimTower, but instead you build a city. Included is the ability to build roads, highways, schools, recreation places, railroads, subways, water towers, shipping yards, airports, and more. Other requirements are to pay taxes, add ordinances, and pollution control. (SimCity 3000 is a much more ambitious game and requires a lot of computing horsepower. You can also play the original SimCity - now known as Classic - on the Web or buy a Palm version.)

Shanghai II, commercial, various, 1991

This program changed publishers, so you may find it under different companies. It's similar to a solitare card game but uses tiles with different patterns. It originated in China as a regular game and made its way to the Apple IIgs by way of Activision. This is the Mac version, and it includes lots of little extras .

iNES, shareware

This isn't really a game, but a program that allows you to play games. You can download NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) cartridge files and play them on your Mac. It's like Connectix's Virtual Game Station, but instead of playing PlayStation games, you play the Nintendo classics from the 1980s.

So these are some good games to run on an older PowerBook. None of them use more than 15 MB of disk space. Most use around 4 MB. Go ahead, check out the demos and shareware to see which you like.

Addendum: For last week's article, I talked about the best Mac programs for back to school. I recently downloaded Palm's Desktop software, which is based on Claris Organizer and adds some interface improvements such as HotSync capability. It's rather useful, even for someone like me who doesn't have a Palm (yet). Best of all, it's free. So make last week's the top 11. LEM

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