How to turn your Mac into an old-school Tetris gaming machine


It’s funny how those who never use a Mac have certain preconceptions that are impossible to shift. One of the most common is when it comes to gaming. Windows users will confidently tell anyone who’s prepared to listen that if you are a gamer, the last thing you want is a Mac.

Of course, if you use your Mac day in and day out, you’ll know this is a complete fallacy, and a modern day MacBook is as capable as anything else for streaming today’s games. This is especially the case since the launch of OS Sierra, and if Fortnite or League of Legends is your game of choice, you’ll be at no disadvantage. However, for those of a certain age, gaming is all about the classics like Tetris for Windows based computers, Snake or Pong.

With a little ingenuity, you can play these on your Mac too. But we are not talking flash-based reimaginings of the internet age. No, these are the real classics, played and presented in all their 8-bit style glory. That was a prospect that the team at found too compelling to ignore, so here’s how to unlock your Mac’s inner child.

Don’t fear the terminal

Today, we use and rely on our Macs and PCs more than ever and spend an unprecedented amount of time using them. Yet there’s a growing disconnect between what we see on the screen and the code that underpins it all. People tend to see opening the terminal window as the equivalent to lifting the hood on a modern car. Something a little scary and best left to the experts.

The first step to playing classic games like Tetris on your Mac is to overcome that fear. From Finder, go to Applications and then from the Utilities folder you can open the Terminal. Type “emacs” and don’t panic when you see a whole lot of information come up. You can ignore that, just press escape and then the x key. This will move the cursor into the lower section of the window. Now, type “tetris” hit enter and watch what happens.

If you don’t know the game controls, you must have spent the past three decades living in a cave. Left and right arrows move the blocks from side to side, up arrow rotates it and down arrow speeds its descent. That’s all there is to it, so give it a try!

Other games are available too

It’s not just Tetris that is lurking within the hidden depths of your Mac waiting to be discovered. The process for accessing these hidden gems is exactly the same, but instead of typing “tetris” at the final stage, try one of these alternatives:

  • pong
  • solitaire
  • snake
  • 5×5
  • landmark
  • doctor
  • gomoku
  • dunner

Some of the above need no introduction, but games like doctor are real curios. Have fun exploring your Mac’s playful, retro side. When it’s time to return to the real modern-day world, you can simply close the Terminal window.