All games are available for download in two versions: The original WorldBuilder format, and the Classic OS releases. Grey Tower and Palace of Sand have also been ported to OS X. Thanks, Fred! In addition, all games can be played in your browser without downloading.
For the older versions, you will need one or more of: a long memory, a very old Mac, or an up-to-date emulator. Try here for the Classic OS as a whole, or here for WorldBuilder. The WorldBuilder games were made on and for the first-generation, 68K Macs—perfect for that old SE you never got around to Maquariumizing. The manuals have been updated, but nothing else has been changed. The Classic color versions should run on PPC Macs up through OS 10.4 (the last version that let you run Classic). I don’t think they can be made to work on Intel Macs.
And now the bad news: By now, even the OS X games count as “older versions”. I think they will run on systems through 10.6 using Rosetta.
Note that saved games in the different formats—WorldBuilder, Classic, browser, OS X—can not be opened in the other formats, and you will need to re-enter your registration code and re-set any preferences. But the plots and pictures are generally the same, and your registration code—if any—is the same for all versions of a given title.
Except for the browser versions, my games are for Macintosh only. If your Mac is significantly older or newer than the games (late 1990’s), read on.
New Macs: The Classic color games checked your computer for Color QuickDraw and multi-channel sound, both needed for the games other than Grey Tower. Little did I suspect that newer Macs—probably starting with the G4—would include these capabilities in a form the games couldn’t recognize. So if the game says your Mac is too old, it’s probably really too new. Use the OS X or browser-based versions instead.
Old Macs: All games require 32-bit QuickDraw, and all except Pavilion and Grey Tower need two sound channels. Memory defaults range from 2000K to 2400K, but setting your monitor to 256 colors will let you run the games on much less memory.
If you have an old color Mac (LC or earlier) and you’re not sure what it can do, download and run Lucy’s Diagnostic (33K download). This should tell you if the games will work on your Mac.
If you have a b/w Mac, or the diagnostic says you won’t be able to run the games on your elderly color Mac, you can still run the old WorldBuilder versions, also available here.
Originally this option was off by default in all versions. In April 2015 I changed the online games to make it on by default. I didn’t count this as a new version, since it has no effect on gameplay and isn’t written to saved games. In online version 1.1 of each title, the Mouse Navigation and Double-Clicking preferences were both eliminated: mouse navigation is on, double clicking is no longer an option. I also added a link (new window) to the FAQ page. Technically this isn’t part of the game code, but it should make gameplay easier.
Online v. 1.1 released 10 July 2016. Updated preferences. Fixed bug that prevented game from recognizing some clicks, especially on small objects.
Online v. 1.0 released 15 June 2014.
v. 1.3.2 released 1 March 2000. Fixed the double-click bug
and a couple of other problems, and updated the Easter-egg page.
v. 1.3 released 8 February 1999. Tackled some of those Plausibility Issues that tend to arise in adventure games. Look for changes in what happens when you sleep, when you offer treasure to other characters . . . and when you leave some rooms.
v. 1.2 released 29 December 1998. Everything to do with water will behave a little differently, including nicer treatment of background sounds. If you’ve been to the District before, you’ll find that you have a wider range of combat options . . . and a new way to misplace the sceptre.
Online v. 1.1 released 12 July 2016. Updated preferences. Fixed bug that prevented game from recognizing some clicks, especially on small objects. Fixed bug affecting handling of Jake if player is injured.
Online v. 1.0 released 17 July 2014.
v. 1.2.1 released 10 March 2000. Fixed bug involving rat.
Fixed the double-click bug, and updated the Easter-egg page.
v. 1.1 released 30 December 1998. If you’ve been to the house before, you’ll notice that the ghosts are a little ghostlier, the blurry doors a little blurrier . . . and, as in Grey Tower, your various light sources will be treated in distinctive ways.
The OS X downloads are packaged as disk images. There shouldn’t be any problems.
The Classic and WorldBuilder downloads are StuffIt archives (suffix .sit).
Older Macs can open them using StuffIt (v. 3.6 or later) or StuffIt Expander from Aladdin Systems, now under the umbrella of Smith Micro. Some other decoders can also open StuffIt files; check the documentation for your preferred utility. Newer Macs will probably open the files transparently.
The browser-based games don’t involve any downloading, although you can download and play offline if you want to.