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How to Emulate Mac OS 8 on your Modern Mac

Most Mac users today never experienced the fun and frustration of using the pre-2001 Mac OS 8 operating system on a Motorola 680X0 or PowerPC-based Mac. Thanks to developer Felix Rieseberg, a 68k Mac emulator called Basilisk II by Christian Bauer and others, and a compiler called Emscripten by James Friend, you can now run a virtual 1991 Mac Quadra 900 on your current Mac.

Rieseberg starts his Github description of what he calls simply “Macintosh.js” (download link) on a jovial note: “This is Mac OS 8, running in an Electron app pretending to be a 1991 Macintosh Quadra. Yes, it’s the full thing. I’m sorry.”

The entire emulator was written in JavaScript (hence the .js extension), and includes folders full of software from the time, including demos of Adobe products (sadly, I remember this version of Adobe Premiere all too well…) and a few games including Dungeons and Dragons, Duke Nukem 3D, and the ever-popular Oregon Trail.

What surprised me is how fast this emulated Mac is; much faster than any actual Mac of the time. Under the multicolor Apple icon are a bunch of the common features of Mac OS 8 including the Control Panels, Jigsaw Puzzle, and even the 1991 version of Stickies!

Macintosh..js is a fun trip down memory lane, and I expect that I’ll keep it on my Mac for a long time…just to appreciate how good our current Macs are!

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!