My very first computer was a Mac Classic and, at the time it was a fast and incredibly efficient machine that never left me waiting for anything, no matter what I threw at it. In hindsight what I was throwing at it was adorably minimal, but everything just worked. And that 40 MB hard drive never seemed to fill-up, no matter what I did.
Now, thanks to the Internet Archive, you can relive those simpler years. They have just released a Mac OS 7 emulator that recreates everything you loved about the classic Mac OS in your web browser.
Everything is there as you remember it, the start-up beep, the black & white low resolution display, and a ton of amazing software that brings back a ton of memories. I spent hours (and hours) playing Risk in my high school’s Mac Lab, and, after discovering the Games folder I’m dangerously close to repeating those wasted hours today. The emulator also includes copies of Cannon Fodder and Shufflepuck.
There’s also tons of amazing productivity software available – including full working versions of Aldus PageMaker, Microsoft Works, MacPaint, Mac Draw and even an early version of Microsoft Word and Excel.
In case you’re curious, Microsoft Word version 4.0A is a petite 669K in size. The latest version of Microsoft Word, version 15.27 tops out at 1.88 GB. Seriously.
Everything looks and works exactly like you remember and it’s a very soothing experience. Simplicity is a rare thing nowadays, and Mac OS 7 is overflowing with it. It’s actually making me a bit sentimental.
Still some things are surprisingly difficult – like using a drop down menu. On Mac OS X when you click on a menu it stays open until you make a selection and I’m so used to this behaviour . When using OS 7 I’m constantly missing menu items because you have to keep the mouse clicked to make a selection – as soon as you un-click the menu disappears. It’s a small thing but it is hard to re-learn.
I’m also struck by the stark, and beautiful simplicity of the interface. There is no flashy gradients, transparency or slick animations, it’s just black and white and that’s absolutely it. Every single element on the tiny screen 512×342 pixel screen has a specific purpose.
It’s also pretty mind blowing that what was once a full-blown computer can now be emulated in a web browser.
There’s a ton more old software available, like CrystalQuest and Lode Runner. I’m still waiting for Aqua Blooper Piper to show up, and if it does you won’t hear anything from me until mid 2018. At the earliest.