Help me play old Sierra games on my Macbook
June 23, 2009 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I realize that this is a long shot, but lately I've had a hankering to play some of the old classic Sierra games from my childhood--specifically the Hoyle ones listed here (note: annoying music plays). Problem: I'm on a Mac.

A few years ago I had downloaded versions of these games on my old PC and used Dosbox to play them. Is there any way I can download them and play them on a Mac? I'm not looking for similar games--I like the crappy old animation and getting to choose which Sierra characters I crush at Cribbage. Does Dosbox work on a Mac? Also, can anyone help me track these games down again? (I'd be happy to pay for them, though I do own them all on floppies.) I'm far from a computer genius--a friend set the games up for me last time--so any advice would be greatly appreciated!
posted by leesh to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I loved those Hoyle games, and I'm eagerly awaiting the replies. Seeing King Graham turn into an old maid always cracked me up.

To somewhat answer your question, I believe there are a bunch of "classic games formatted for mac" torrents out there, I think at the very least some of the Police Quest games are in there.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:13 PM on June 23, 2009

Dosbox does work on a Mac...
dosbox site

Best abandonware site:
posted by spacefire at 5:15 PM on June 23, 2009

I know it's not directly answering your question, but as someone who gets nostalgic every now and then for vintage games, have you thought about just watching them on youtube?

Personally I don't find it always fun to engage these games directly, but it is nice to watch them played (and see the graphics and hear the music) without mucking around with figuring out first how to run them, and second, re-learning controls.

Most popular vintage games have at least a few "walkthrough" videos.

Check it out:

Space Quest 3

Kings Quest 5
posted by wfrgms at 6:01 PM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Wfrgms: Those are pretty awesome. The card games are a lot less intense than the regular Sierra games, which is why I'm not looking to reply King's Quest 4 or the Leisure Suit Larry games. :)

Spacefire: Thanks for the Dosbox info! I can't find my games on that other site, alas.

Yellowbinder: I'll try some new Google combos. And yes, that was the best part of Old Maid. Hee.
posted by leesh at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2009

i don't see the hoyle games listed on the compatibility list but i thought it was worth mention the scumm vm in case you had not seen it.
posted by phil at 6:51 PM on June 23, 2009

one more time with a working link
posted by phil at 6:51 PM on June 23, 2009

Blast, just checked the torrents I was thinking of, no Hoyle, but all the Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry a person could ever want.

I take it back, Graham was pretty good, but the best was when the Colonel from the first Laura Bow game became the old maid. He was so not happy.

Awww... I miss the good old Sierra days!
posted by yellowbinder at 7:02 PM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Phil--I didn't know about scumm vm, so thanks!

Yellowbinder--me too! I am seriously jonesing for some gin rummy against the wacky animator.
posted by leesh at 8:04 PM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: This for adventure only ones [my favorite]
posted by mattsweaters at 9:57 PM on June 23, 2009

I had a gametap subscription for a few months 3 years ago. At the time, they had almost all the old sierra adventure games ported over. The best part was, old games would run really well. I bet you could try running their client in Parallels or Crossover and see what that does.
posted by heathkit at 1:09 AM on June 24, 2009

leesh and yellowbinder, check your MeFi Mail.
posted by bertrandom at 10:59 AM on June 24, 2009

Best answer: I'm on a PC, but here are the general instructions for a Mac:

Make a directory in your home directory for all your DosBox games, like "DOSGAMES", move the archives of all your games into it. Double-click on the archive and it should extract the zip file into a folder with the same name as the zip.

Download and install DosBox for OSX:

Launch DosBox:

Assuming you chose "DOSGAMES" as your directory name, type


Then change to the directory of that archive you uncompressed, lets say its HOYLE1

cd hoyle1

With old sierra games from this era, you'll have to run the setup program, which is called INSTALL. You only have to do this once.


Choose EGA/VGA With RGB Monitor - 16 Colors (Hoyle1 didn't support true VGA graphics I'm pretty sure. If VGA by itself is an option, you want that)

Choose Adlib Music Synthesizer Card (If Soundblaster is an option, you want that)

Choose IBM Keyboard
Choose YES for Mouse support

When you get to the part where it asks you if you want to Install it to a Hard Drive, hit ESC

now type


and you should be good to go.

Now everytime you want to play it, you just launch DOSBOX and type:
cd hoyle1

There's a way to configure dosbox to skip the first two commands, but I'll let you read the documentation on how to do that. If you have any other questions, let me know.
posted by bertrandom at 10:24 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Get Boxer! it's a dos emulator. I've been playing all these games like crazy for the last few months.
posted by jonathanstrange at 5:49 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone! I've been playing cribbage against various Sierra characters all afternoon.
posted by leesh at 1:50 PM on June 25, 2009

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