Essential 68K Mac Software for Basilisk II

(Last updated November 25, 2020)


Tragically, developers have stopped creating software that will run on a 68K Macintosh. But thankfully, old Mac aficionados have some options. What follows is a list of software that will run on your emulated Macintosh. I'm a big fan of System 7.5.5 (which is free), so I've only listed software that is compatible with it. These titles have all been tested to work in Basilisk II. And, of course, the software should work on a real 68K Mac.

If you just want the files (without any of my commentary), check out our master list.

For a large list of software compatibility within Basilisk II, check out our compatibility sheet.

Important Note: In some versions of Firefox for Windows, you might have to right click and “save as” to download files with the .HQX extension. By default, some (older?) Firefox versions attempt to display the files rather than download them.

Locating 68K Software

This page is intended to be a collection of our favorite stuff. But there is a whole lot more out there waiting to be found. Some sources of old software include:

The above links contain a lot of PPC software also.

System Software

Before you can run anything, you will need some System software. A free option is the System 7.5.3 installation software from Apple. There is a guide that can tell you what to do with those files over here. You can also update to System 7.5.5. The easiest way to update is to use the “Net Install,” which is just a single disk.

Certain software requires Appearance Manager in order to run in System 7. Most software does not require this, although you can just use it to make your System 7 user interface prettier. The download is of version 1.0.4. Pay careful attention to the readme before installing.

System 7.5.5, with some visual tweaks provided by Appearance Manager 1.0.4


You need to use Stuffit Expander 5.5 to expand archived files. If you use HFV Explorer to transfer that file to your disk image, you can solve the problem of expanding the archive of Stuffit in the first place. Some archives will require Stuffit plus DropStuff 5.5. Stuffit will tell you if DropStuff is necessary.

If you want a sort of tabbed dock in System 7, try Dragthing 2.9.

The best way to print a document within your emulated Macintosh is to use PrintToPDF 2.4.5. Read the documentation to see how you can use this to convert any printable document (maybe not images) to a .PDF file that you can perhaps print from your host system.

You can read PDF files from within your emulated Macintosh using Acrobat Reader 3.02, the last 68K compatible version of the software.

Skinning the classic Mac OS interface is possible using Kaleidoscope 2.31. The official collection of “schemes” for the program is broken, but there is a nice compilation over here. You can also download a neat aqua scheme.

Meanwhile, Decor 3.0.4 will let you use any image file as your desktop background. This program comes highly recommended!

Macintalk is a lot of fun. You can get all possible versions by downloading English Text-to-Speech 1.4.1. You can do a “custom” install to access older versions of Macintalk (to install in Mini vMac, for example).

Hypercard Player is also a lot of fun. Hypercard can sometimes be a bit screwy in Basilisk II, so the file included here is a (zipped) hard disk image than can be mounted in Mini vMac, which runs Hypercard just fine. You can also mount the image in Basilisk or SheepShaver, if necessary. Get a copy of Hypercard compressed as a Stuffit file over at Macintosh Garden if you need one.

Disk Copy 6.3.3 is often needed by Mac users.

Finally, take note that a lot of old Mac Software floating around the Internet is virus infected (usually with macvOS/nVIR). You can take care of this by scanning with Disinfectant 3.71.

Reader Tip: Forum member Jorpho recommends using Type Resolve 2.0.1 to assign type and creator information to files that have lost them. This application also recognizes extensions and is helpful when dealing with Stuffit archives that don't have that information.

Check out the Dragthing dock (without tabs). Also: Graphic Converter!


WordPerfect 3.5e has been released as freeware. It is a wonderful word processor. Version 3.5e was the final release for the Mac.

Reader Tip: Reader madcrow suggests the word processor (and more) FullWrite Professional 2.06 as an alternative to WordPerfect. I think he's right… it's a better choice. Use the serial number FREE-33333-33333.

Reader Tip: Reader Kipfi suggests More 3.1, an outline suite that is a great way to create organizational charts, slide shows and more. Once a commercial application, More is now available free of charge (more info).

Internet Software

For some help getting online within your emulated Macintosh, check out the guide. Once you have it all set up, the best browser option is iCab 2.9.9. It's the only 68K browser that has been updated in modern times (2006). It doesn't support everything used in the modern web, however, and some pages load a little bit garbled. Contrary to what the readme file says, the browser does not have an expiration date. You can use it forever.

A back-up web browser might be Netscape Communicator 4.08. Version 4.08 was the last 68k compatible version of Netscape. If you try to install in System 7.5.5 the installer will throw up an error message. You should first install Apple's CFM-68K Runtime Enabler and just hit “continue” when you see the error.

I'm in the minority, perhaps, but my favorite 68K IRC client is MacIRC. It's simple, but it does the trick. You can turn MacIRC into an instant messaging client following the directions contained in our guide.

To Telnet into a BBS on your emulated Macintosh, the best software choice is a “stripped” version of the old standby Public Address from the mid 90s.

Grackle68k was a popular Twitter client that ran in Mac OS 6 through 9, though it has not functioned since 2010 (more info).

iCab 2.9.9 running in System 7

Multimedia and Graphics

My all-time favorite piece of software for the 68K Macintosh is MpegDec 3.11. It's a wonderful MP3 player, and is very light-weight. It even plays online streaming audio. Stop by a site like Shoutcast and download the “.pls” file and drag it onto the player as you would an MP3. It works! Check out the official page for more documentation.

The best graphics and photo editing software for the 68K Macintosh is GraphicConverter 4.1.


The shareware episodes of both Doom and Duke Nukem 3D run very well in the emulated 68K Macintosh. The default graphic settings for both can be adjusted - the emulated Macintosh is powerful enough that you crank both games up to maximum.

I also like the shareware game Space Junkie a whole lot. It's simple and addictive arcade style fun. A more complex game to check out would be Ambrosia Software's legendary Escape Velocity, which runs wonderfully in Basilisk. There are a few notes about running Escape Velocity in an emulated Macintosh at this link.

The Macintosh-only RPG Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis was made freeware some years ago. It is a lot of fun. Check out the official page for a download mirror and a complete walkthrough.

You can also find a treasure-trove of Macintosh abandonware over at Macintosh Garden.

Jorpho Recommends: E-Maculation forum member Jorpho recommends three titles. First is the Marathon trilogy of games. All three of the games run very well in Basilisk II (link is to System 7 Today's collection of games).

Jorpho further recommends the classic puzzle game System's Twilight, and also the puzzlers by Cliff Johnson.

Jorpho's final recommendation is Asterax, a fun asteroids clone.

You got the shotgun?


Make software requests and recommendations at a dedicated thread in our emulation forum. You can contact me with questions and suggestions by e-mail.

68k_software.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/06 23:54