OS X Comes with Games Including Tetris, Pong, Snake, and More

Did you know that Mac OS X actually comes complete with a set of games? They can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

Every copy of OS X comes complete with Emacs (not related directly to the eMac), which stands for “extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor.” While the specifics about what it is and what it does can be fairly boring for most users, this installation does include a few games that will take you back to the days when computer graphics consisted mostly of text assembled in a manner that resembled images. The games available through this Easter egg within OS X include: Tetris, Pong, Snake, Doctor (a rather persistent conversation AI claiming to be a psychotherapist), and more.

So, how do you find these apps?

Open Terminal
In OS X, the Terminal launcher is located in your applications folder within the Utilities subfolder. All you have to do to get in Terminal is launch it from Finder.

View a List of Available Games
Once you’re in the Terminal, enter the following command:

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

This will give you a directory listing of the games folder within Emacs. Here, you will see a complete list of available titles to choose from. When launching a game, ignore the file tag as you only need to type the name of the game itself.

Launch a Game
While still in Terminal, you can execute any of these games by typing the following command:

emacs -q --no-splash -f tetris

You can replace “tetris” with any title you find in the game list. For example, if you want to talk to the psychotherapist, you can type “doctor” instead of “tetris” in the above string.

It’s important to note here that none of these games are pretty. They’re launched and operated within Terminal, which is not intended to be a modern gaming platform at all. You’re experiencing these games as they were commonly played on early PCs decades ago.

Still, the next time someone dismissively claims that “Macs don’t come with any games,” you can tell them with absolute certainly that they’re wrong.

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