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Thread: The Secret History of Mac Gaming book

  1. #1

    Default The Secret History of Mac Gaming book

    Hey folks, I hope you'll forgive me doing a bit of self-promotion with my first post. I just discovered this forum and thought my current book project would be of interest.

    First, a quick introduction: I'm a freelance journalist and game historian. I grew up with Macs, but I'm fascinated by all 1980s and 90s computer history and I dig both old games and new games (particularly of the indie persuasion).

    Now, to the point of the thread: I'm writing a book called The Secret History of Mac Gaming. It's a narrative-style, written history, although it will also include plenty of pictures — screenshots, photos, letters sent to devs by fans, design docs, etc — and it'll be designed by Darren Wall of Read-Only Memory (they did the recent Britsoft Oral History book as well as a beautiful Sega Genesis tome and books on the Bitmap Brothers and Sensible Software).

    I've interviewed around 65 people (mostly developers; with probably another 15-20 interviews still to do) from the Mac gaming scene of the 80s and 90s to get the stories behind the games. Stories like how with Spaceship Warlock Joe Sparks and Mike Saenz would ship a hard drive back and forth across the country because they worked on opposite coasts and the data wouldn't fit on floppies (and CD burners, which were new at the time, cost tens of thousands of dollars). Or how Tom Clancy loved 1988 first-person action-adventure The Colony so much he phoned the creator, David Smith, and the two formed a friendship that led a decade later to the first Rainbow Six game. Or the story of how an idea for a children's book metamorphosed into the exploration game The Manhole, which was the first game by Rand and Robyn Miller of Myst fame. I've put that last one (well, most of it — I left out a few things) into documentary podcast form in the latest episode of my show Ludiphilia.

    There are so many amazing stories — way more than I'd expected — and most have never been told before because the Mac has this misguided reputation of being anti-games. The early Mac actually had a vibrant development scene, and the ideas and innovations seen in the likes of MacPaint (not a game, but massively important), HyperCard (likewise), Déjà Vu, Shufflepuck Café, The Colony, The Manhole, Myst, Spaceship Warlock, Airborne, Hellcats Over the Pacific, Dark Castle, SimCity (first published version was on Mac!), and loads of other games had a big impact on how PC gaming developed in the 90s — particularly in terms of interfaces and the shift from joystick to mouse+keyboard input.

    Anyway, I've blathered on long enough. I've embedded the two-minute pitch video below. The book is currently crowdfunding on Unbound. We have until the end of July to reach our target. You can read an excerpt and pledge at and shoot me questions, suggestions, or new reward level requests here in this thread.

  2. #2


    This is a fantastic project! I wish you the best of luck.

  3. #3


    Mac... gaming you say?!? Bwhahaha... oh man, you slay me.

    Sorry, can't resist.

    That said, I wish to hell classic mac emulators supported joysticks, Mac had the best version of CYAC since it ran at 640x480 instead of 320x200.

    That said... MYST sucked. Ok, there. I said it.
    From time to time the accessibility of a website must be refreshed with the blood of owners and designers. It is its natural manure.

  4. #4


    Nice to see you here, Richard.
    I use my C128 because I am an ornery, stubborn, retro grouch. -- Bob Masse
    Machine room updated for 2019!:

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow View Post
    That said... MYST sucked. Ok, there. I said it.
    I was never really fond of Myst, either. I much prefer the Miller brothers' earlier work — The Manhole, Cosmic Osmo, and Spelunx, all three of which are delightful interactive experiences that we'd now label "walking simulators".

  6. #6


    There are so few games for the Mac on Steam... kinda sucks.

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