11/2/12
8:10 am

MacMost Now 782: Classic RPGs For Today’s Macs

Classic role playing games from the 80s and 90s can still be played on brand new Macs running Mountain Lion. Take a look at NetHack and Ultima IV, two of the all-time best. They are both available for free. Another classic, Baulder's Gate, will be coming out later this month.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look how you can play some old style role playing games on your Mac and iPad.

So while computer games keep getting better and better there are some old games that stand the test of time in my opinion. One of the genres where this is particularly true is role playing games. There are several role playing games from the eighties and nineties that I think are the best simply because they tell the story really well despite the fact that the graphics aren't what we expect today. Two such games are available today on the Mac. Let's take a look at them.

Now here is a game called NetHack. NetHack has been around for a long time. It is a dungeon crawler game. You choose your different type of character here and you start off and you basically move around in a dungeon. The cool thing about it, the really geeky thing about it, is that the dungeon is randomly generated for the most part. It is generated as you travel. So all that stuff that you see being revealed now as I move around wasn't there until I actually got there. The dungeon is huge. You are going to have many, many, many levels and there are a lot of different things that you can explore in this dungeon. So with it being random the cool thing is that it is replayable. You can play over and over again discovering different paths in the dungeon and getting better and better at your performance through the game. It can take a long time to complete a game and discover all the different random things that can appear in NetHack.

Now getting NetHack is pretty easy on the Mac because it is in the Mac App Store. Just search for NetHackCocoa, all one word, and you can download it for free.

Now I'm even more excited about this next game because it is one of my all time favorites. It's the fourth installment in the Ultima Series. The Ultima Series was this great set of games. It was available on the Apple II and Commodore 64 and various other machines. Explore this very rich world and accomplish this very long quest. It is a lot of fun to play.

So here is a look at it and I'm already deep into replaying the game and it has a lot of the classic attributes of role playing games. You move your character around. Actually I have a collection of characters, you can see I have five in my party right now. I've got a ship. You can travel around in the world. You can enter towns and explore. You can talk to people and it uses a really cool dialogue right there where you can ask questions. And you can go in and explore, buy things and the goal is, of course, to make yourself better. So you're trying to better yourself and discovering things and meditating on different aspects of life. So, of course, there are a lot of battles and fights and dungeon exploration as well. A lot of humor in this game as well.

So Ultima IV isn't available in the Mac App Store. You have to download it from this web site. The good news is that it is free. There are various other old games at the website that you can download and pay for and this one is there, I guess, as an enticement to go to the website. So it is great. It is one of my favorite games and it's available to download for the Mac. Runs great on Mountain Lion on modern Macs and it's free.

Now if I were to pick a runner up for my favorite rpg of all time it would be Baldur's Gate which is a great Mac game that you could play in the nineties. But it doesn't work with today's current Macs. Ahhhh, but the good news is that in a few weeks we will be getting the new enhanced edition of Baldur's Gate and look it here, not only will it work in Mac OS 10 but also be for the iPad. So we can look forward to that later this month.

So I would like to hear from you and find out what your favorite rpg's of the eighties and nineties were and whether or not they are available to play today on modern Macs or on the iPad. You can leave a comment at this post at MacMost.com.

Until next time this is Gary at MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 782: Classic RPGs For Today’s Macs”

    Dan
    11/3/12 @ 12:50 am

    Great post. What about Populous, that was a great game!

    Finlay Maciver
    11/5/12 @ 3:14 pm

    Loved Baldur’s Gate II and Planescape:Torment on PC back in the early 00’s. Also thought Vampire:The Masquerade was amazing and very atmospheric.
    Ever played amy of these Gary?
    Cheers
    Fin

      11/5/12 @ 3:18 pm

      Balder’s gate yes. Played them all. Never tried Torment or Vampire, though. Also played a lot of the “Gold Box” games on the Apple II.

    John M. Hammer
    11/8/12 @ 9:54 am

    I spent a summer during my college years playing Ultima III and enjoyed it. (It’s available for modern Intel Macs, too, although the copy I have was $5, not free.) I might have played Ultima IV, too, but I don’t recall it particularly well.

    We had NetHack on the VAX mainframes and I’m pretty sure I threw away a few hours on it at one time or another, or something just like it.

    Years later, I played Realmz on “classic” pre-OS X Macs. Realmz was quite reminiscent of Ultima, but had a bunch of extra “campaigns” (basically, more games to play using the same engine) from both the developer and the player community – some of which were quite good! As I moved to 10.5 Leopard and Intel processors, I kept an older Mac around for a while just to be able to much around with Realmz. I’m pretty sure Realmz is dead now, as its developer’s website (fantasoft.com) has been down for years.

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