6 classic Mac games you can enjoy on iOS

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Flashback
This was a game-changer for computer games back in the day.
Image: MobyGames

With a constant stream of new, console-quality games in the iOS App Store, and subscription gaming service Apple Arcade on the way, there’s arguably never been a better time to be an Apple gamer. Yet despite all the great new iOS games, sometimes you just want to relive your misspent youth.

This week, Paul Cuisset’s classic Mac platformer Flashback blasted its way into the App Store. To mark the occasion, we dug up some of the best classic games that graced vintage Macs but now can be played on your iOS device. Check them out.

Classic Mac games on iOS

Some of these are straight iOS ports of classic Mac games. Others are sequels or homages that serve up the tasty flavor of the originals.

In all cases, they deliver vintage video game fun on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Flashback

Let’s kick things off with a game we’ve already mentioned! Flashback — or, as it was known in the United States, Flashback: The Quest for Identity — arrived on Mac in 1992. The sci-fi adventure takes place across a series of non-scrolling screens, in which your character must leap, fight villains and solve puzzles.

The animation looks impressively smooth, thanks to rotoscoping motion-capture technology. And the version that launched this week features some nifty updates. These include remastered sound and music, new graphic effects, a rewind function and a control system designed with touchscreens in mind. A superbly fun gaming experience!

Price: $4.99

Download: Flashback Mobile from the App Store (iOS)

Prince of Persia

You couldn’t throw a floppy disk in the early 1990s without hitting a home computer that harbored a copy of Prince of Persia. Similar to Flashback in style, Price rewinds the clock to an Arabian Nights-style world instead of a futuristic sci-fi one.

It follows your attempts to rescue the imprisoned Sultan’s daughter inside 60 minutes. Along the way, you must negotiate various deathtraps and engage in plenty of sword-based action. The iOS port of Prince of Persia leaped into the App Store in 2010. Unfortunately, that version, titled Prince of Persia Retro, seems to no longer be available. Instead, you can grab an HD remake that offers the same classic game with updated graphics.

Admittedly, that upgrade slightly reduces the nostalgia endorphins. However, the underlying game remains so good that you’ll quickly forget.

Price: $1.99 (with in-app purchases)

Download: Prince of Persia Classic HD from the App Store (iOS)

Myst

Myst is one of those games which seemed impossibly grown-up when I was a kid. No, not in a Leisure Suit Larry kind of way, but rather thinking that this must be what grown-up computer games were about.

Puzzles, atmosphere and not a killable enemy in sight. A sprawling, point-and-click puzzle/adventure game that came on CD-ROM, Myst became a staple of early 1990s Mac and PC gaming. A surprise hit, it held the spot of best-selling PC game until The Sims eventually snatched the top spot.

The Myst iOS port arrived a year after the App Store launched. It’s a solid port of the original, only with taps and swipes instead of mouse clicks.

The $6.99 realMyst, which launched slightly later, is an update of the original, if that’s what you’re after instead.

Price: $4.99

Download: Myst from the App Store (iOS)

Marathon

My introduction to Macs came in the early 1990s. By that time, my impression was that the glory days of Apple being the home computer platform for gaming had passed.

PCs were surging ahead with titles like Doom. While Macs got a lot of the big games, they were no longer the first port of call like they had been in the ’80s.

Marathon, however, surfaced as a respectable, Mac-exclusive rebuttal to Doom. Created by Bungie, the team that would later make the Halo games, Marathon was a sci-fi first-person shooter with a cerebral edge. Instead of balls-to-the-wall action, you got an engaging sc-fi storyline and lots of puzzles to complete. It was also one of the first FPS game in which finishing levels meant completing objectives rather than getting to a set exit point.

Marathon became a minor classic. Sadly, the original currently isn’t available in the App Store, but its two sequels appear to be.

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Download: Marathon 2: Durandal or Marathon Infinity from the App Store (iOS)

Lemmings

Lemmings
Lemmings as it looked on the Mac back in the day.
Photo: Lemmings

If there was a Mac owner who didn’t have Lemmings on their computer back in the 1990s, well, I didn’t know them. And, heck, I’m not sure I’d really have wanted to. One of the best-selling computer games of all time, Lemmings boasts a formula that’s every bit as iconic as that of Tetris or Space Invaders.

The game is comprised of dozens of levels, each one consisting of a start and end point. It’s your job to guide an army of lemmings through the level, avoiding obstacles as the critters move. The genius part is that you don’t directly control the rodents’ direction. No matter what, they keep moving forward.

In fact, the only way you can stop them from marching to their doom is to assign different tasks to different lemmings. That might mean directing some to act as blockers, diggers, etc. At the end, you complete the level if a certain percentage of the lemmings reach the end point.

I’m going to slightly cheat here when it comes to the presence of Lemmings on iOS. Although there is an official port of the game, it’s unfortunately a pretty shoddy one. Much better is Caveman, a game “inspired” by the original Lemmings. It’s basically a reskin of the original — and far more likely to win over gamers who remember playing the game on their Macs.

Price: $4.99

Download: Caveman_HD from the App Store (iOS)

Baldur’s Gate II

For a moment, I questioned whether Baldur’s Gate II counts as a classic Mac game. Launched on Mac back in 2001, it’s the only game on this list that arrived after the return of Steve Jobs at Apple. But it’s also almost 20 years old — which is certainly enough to make it a “classic” in video game years. It’s certainly a classic in terms of quality, too.

Adapted from the classic Advanced Dungeons and Dragons ruleset, Baldur’s Gate is one of the best RPG experiences you’ll find. The enhanced edition available in the app store makes a great experience even better.

Price: $5.99 (with in-app purchases)

Download: Baldur’s Gate II: EE from the App Store (iOS)

What was your favorite classic Mac game?

What games do you remember playing on Mac (or other Apple computers) back in the day? Are any of them available on iOS today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.