Mac Easter Egg: Hidden Games on Mac

Did you know there are hidden games on the Mac? There are quite a few actually, sitting there on your hard drive just waiting for you to find. None of these games are anything spectacular, most kinda suck, but a few can still provide a little excitement on a boring day.

opening terminal in spotlight

The first thing you want to do is open Terminal. You should be able to go right to your Spotlight in the top right corner of your monitor, but if you want to take the long way do this:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Open Applications
  3. Open Utilities
  4. Open Terminal

opening emacs in terminal

Now that you have Terminal open, type “emacs” Give it a couple of seconds to load up and eventually you’ll see this screen:

emacs home screen

From here press ESC + X at the same time. This will take you to the screen below where you can enter the name of whichever game you want to play. I’ve read that you can also type Option + X if that doesn’t work for you, but it worked for me. You can tell it has worked by looking at the bottom of the window; it should say “M-x” which is where you can type the name of the game you want to play.

emacs game screen

If you want to see the complete list of games available open up a new Terminal window and type:

ls /usr/share/emacs/22.1/lisp/play/

I’m using version 22.1 of emacs, so that number may change depending on which version your Mac has. Just go to emacs in Terminal to find out which version you’re on. Or if you don’t want to go through all that trouble, here’s the full list of games.

  • 5×5
  • animate
  • blackbox
  • bruce
  • cookie1
  • decipher
  • dissociate
  • doctor
  • dunnet
  • fortune
  • gamegrid
  • gametree
  • gomoku
  • handwrite
  • hanoi
  • landmark
  • life
  • meese
  • morse
  • mpuz
  • pong
  • snake
  • solitaire
  • spook
  • studly
  • tetris
  • yow
  • zone

The most familiar game you’ll find in the list is Tetris, but one of my favorites is Dunnet, which is a text-based adventure game. Doctor is kinda funny too if you need a psychotherapist to talk to.

If you don’t know where to start with Dunnet, take a look at my screenshot below. If you’ve never played a text-based adventure game, know that you might have to type lots of different things before the game understands what to do. For example, “pick up shovel” doesn’t work. Have fun!

Dunnet in emacs

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