Emulation on OS X

If you are interested in emulating other operating systems on Mac OS X, there are a wealth of free and commercial emulators available. An excellent start is to look at Emuscene, which is a constantly updated archive of all emulators from A to Z. While not everything is OS X native yet, the shift to the new platform clearly taking place. One by one, emulators are being carbonized or released as native Cocoa applications. Some emulators are easy to set up and use right away, while others require a fair bit of tinkering.

Here is a list of some of my favorite free emulators for Mac OS X. I've included instructions for getting some of the more difficult to use emulators up and running in half a jiffy.

  • MaxUAE and E-UAE: Run the Amiga in a Box distribution under OS X. See my installation instructions.
  • MacBochs: Slow but promising Intel emulator. See my installation instructions for setting up MacBochs to run Windows 98 SE.
  • Darwine: Although still in early development stage, I'd say this is one of the most exciting emulation projects for OS X. By merging Wine libraries with QEmu Intel emulation, Darwine promises to run Windows applications on your OS X desktop - without having to install Windows. Open source Windows projects can even be compiled as PowerPC binaries against the Wine libraries, so that emulation can be bypassed completely. Expect exciting developments over the next couple of years!
  • KEGS-OSX and KEGS-Mac: Mac ports based on Kent's Emulated GS, for emulatings the Apple //gs. The former is an older Cocoa build, while the latter is a frequently updated SDL build. Both include sound support.
  • BasiliskII: Run your older Mac software inside this 68000 emulator. No sound support yet, but full-screen mode is fast, even on my Blue and White G3 box.
  • vMac: Run your really, really old Mac software on this Motorola 68000 based Apple Macintosh Plus emulator.