Video Gaming on Apple Macintosh Performa

Video games that came bundled with the Apple Macintosh Performa: The Family Computer (1992-1997)
July 24, 2017
In the 90s Apple offered three lines of desktop computers: the high-end Quadra series (for professional users), the mid-range Centris series (for the 'middle market', like small businesses) and the low-end Performa series (for consumers). Those models ran on different versions of Apple's System 7 (nowadays sometimes known as Classic Mac OS 7).
This distinction between the three product ranges seems clear, but in practice it wasn't. There were many overlapping models and the configurations were often very similar. So for consumers it could be hard to figure out the exact differences between all models.
However, the Performa models (that were marketed from 1992 to 1997) were aimed at the consumer (family) market, so those models came bundled with a lot of entertainment software and video games. A lot of Mac Performa users will have good memories of that bundled sofware, so in this article I take a trip down memory lane for video gaming on the Macintosh Performa!

Spin Doctor (1992) is a nice little puzzle game (by Callisto Corporation) that came with most Performa models (sometimes only as demo under the title Spin Doctor Lite). Later on it was also released as ClockWerx (with Tetris' creator Alexey Pajitnov on the cover).

Spin Doctor

Spectre Challenger (1991) is a demo of Spectre, a futuristic 3D tank game and it was included with many Performa models. Some Performa models also came with a complete edition of the sequel, Spectre Supreme. There is also a network-oriented version of the game called Spectre VR. I liked it a lot back in the days and I guess it's one of the most played video games among Mac gamers in the 90s.

Spectre Challenger

Super Maze Wars (1993) is another game by Callisto Corporation that was pre-installed on many Performa models. It is somewhat reminiscent of Spectre, but less fun. It's a first person labyrinth shooter (I don't like the 'labyrinth' part) and it supported network play.

Super Maze Wars

Mario Teaches Typing (1991) is one of the many educational game titles that were bundled with various Mac Performa models. It's one the first games with Super Mario on a platform not by Nintendo. The game was developed by Interplay, but Nintendo remained the publisher. It was a nice way to learn typing. At least it was much more fun than Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (1987) that was also included in numerous Mac Performa multimedia packages.

Mario Teaches Typing

Eric's Solitaire Sample (1992) was a demo of Eric's Ultimate Solitaire that could be found on quite a lot of Performa models. It's an excellent Solitaire game, that proved to be quite popular among Mac users. (It's a good game, but another explanation for the popularity could be that the Mac had no built-in Solitaire game, like Microsoft's competing Windows operating system).

Eric's Solitaire Sample

Millie's Math House (1992) is one of those early educational games that were aimed at small children (aged 2-5). Dressed animals and other weird creatures taught children some basic calculation. It was packed with most Performa models.

Millie's Math House
Disney's Aladdin Activity Center (1994) was created together with the producers of the popular movie. The 'activities' are very simple and differ from coloring a picture to memory games. It was fun for fans of the movie, but not really special.

Aladdin Activity Center

Disney Animated Storybook: The Lion King (1994) was another Disney franchise that could be found, together with Aladdin Activity Center, in the multimedia package of many Performa models. It proved to be a nice concept: a storybook in which children could click to make things moves.

The Lion King Animated Storybook

Diamonds (1992) was an alternative take on well-known block-breaking game Breakout, that was pre-installed on many Performa models. I'm not too fond of this game, but I enjoyed the sequel Diamonds 3D a lot. In Diamonds 3D (1995) the view is moved to 3D. It looks nice, but it also makes it a little harder. Also the music is great. I'm not sure if the 3D-remake was packed-in with Performa models though.
Diamonds - Diamonds 3D

Lemmings (1991) is probably played by even more Mac users than Spectre. It helped a lot it came bundled with a lot of different Performa (and also Quadra) models. This puzzle-platformer proved so popular that different sequels were released. Many Mac gamers would also enjoy Oh No! More Lemmings and XMas Lemmings/Holiday Lemmings.
Lemmings - Xmas Lemmings

Kid Works 2 (1992) was another of those games that came with different Performa models to please the children. It is a nice concept, in which children can create their own illustrated storybook. It's a kind of mix between a painting and a writing program.

Kid Works 2

Kid Pix Studio (1995) is another painting program for children that was included with different Macintosh Performa models later on. It's a very nice program, very easy to use and very colorful. It also had some nice touches, like animated stamps.

Kid Pix Studio

Thinkin' Things Collection 1 & 2 (1993 & 1994) are even more educational games that came bundled with most Performa computers. In these games children were encouraged to explore and experiment with interactive objects in the game. Therefore, the games were very colorful, the in-game characters were likeable and a lot of the interactive objects made a sound or music when clicking on them.

Thinkin' Things

Myst (1993) was the best selling game in the 90s and it originated on the Mac. So no wonder it was packed-in with many Macintosh models, also with many models in the Performa series. For the time we were all impressed with the fantastic (but static) photorealistic graphics, though one could argue that that the gameplay was a little shallow. I was never able to finish it, but I enjoyed it back in the days.


The Daedalus Encounter (1995) was also part of many pack-in multimedia packages for the Performa, alongside Myst. This is another of those early CD-ROM games, an 'interactive movie puzzle adventure' in space, that showed Apple's QuickTime movie technology. Most noticeable is that the game features American actress Tia Carrere.

The Daedalus Encounter

The 7th Guest (1993) is probably a game that was also packed-in within different multimedia package for multiple Macintosh Performa models, though I couldn't find any evidence for this. It's likely however, since it is one of those other early CD-ROM game that hardware manufacturers liked to offer their consumers to show the 'power of the new CD-ROM technology'. I'm not a fan of this game, I think the puzzles are much too hard, but for the time it had a nice spooky atmosphere.

The 7th Guest

Power Pete (1995) (also known as Mighty Mike) was packed with some later Performa models and was one of the biggest hits of developer Pangea Software. It is considered a classic among Mac gamers. It's a very accessible and child friendly shooter action game with an overhead view, that was awarded Best Arcade Game of the Year for 1995 by Macworld Magazine. Probably also the game that defined Pangea Software as developer of Macintosh games.

Power Pete

Descent (1995) is a famous 3D shooter game that came packed-in with later, more powerful Performa models. You probably needed a Performa model with a PowerPC processor to run this one smoothly. But a great game nonetheless.

Let me know what games you played on your Mac Performa and you missed in this article!

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