MS-DOS and Windows Games Emulation on macOS Catalina
and why it's better to stay on Mojave
By: GN Team
Published: 19 October 2019, 8:35 am
macOS Catalina has some excellent features, such as the iPad as a second display or the Apple Arcade. But, it also comes with a lot of problems if you are a retrogamer.
We have good and bad news regarding macOS Catalina.
As you probably already know, 32-bit applications cannot be executed anymore in macOS Catalina. With the previous OS versions, there was a warning, but you could still run old software. Instead, if your Mac has already moved to the beautiful Santa Catalina Island, you can only run 64-bit apps. Mojave is the last macOS that runs 32-bit software.
Just for your info, Windows 10 is less picky. In fact, it includes an emulator that allows you to use 32-bit software (pity that it doesn't work for 16-bit apps, but that's another story).
So, Catalina brings two main problems for GamesNostalgia Mac users: the first one can be solved; the second one, maybe not (or at least not yet). Let's review them in detail:
MS-DOS Games Wrappers
The majority of our DOS game wrappers were created with version 0.74 of DOSBox, which is a 32-bit application. This means if you have downloaded DOS games in the past from this site, and you have upgraded to macOS Catalina, you cannot play these games anymore.
Lucky for you, this problem is solved: we just completed a full upgrade of all the MS-DOS Mac wrappers, 300 games in total. The new wrappers include DOSBox 0.74-3, which is fully compatible with Catalina. We were hoping to include the 0.75, but it's not out yet, so we will have to wait. So if Ultima Underworld, Carmageddon, Heretic, and other DOS games don't work anymore, you just have to download the new version. Easy.
Windows Games Wrappers
Unfortunately, the second problem is more serious. As you know, we offer Mac versions of old Windows games, such as Hercules, Pharaoh, and Diablo. Those wrappers are created with a tool called Wineskin and a compatibility layer called Wine. As far as we know, Wine won't be compatible with Catalina, at least not in the near future. The developers of Wine are looking for a solution. You can read more about Wine and Catalina in this thread.
Right now, we can only give you a suggestion: don't upgrade to Catalina. Seriously, if you are ok with Mojave, and you like to play your old games, there is no need to install the upgrade. When we have news, we will let you know.
Another (but not so easy) fix is to install a real Windows 98 using a tool such as VirtualBox. If you can do it, this is definitely the best solution, also for Windows 10 users. We will publish a tutorial soon.
We are sorry about the Windows games, but we hope you appreciate the effort regarding the DOS wrappers. If you try them, let us know what you think.
One more thing, remember that since our wrappers are not published on the App Store, they will appear from Unidentified Developers. Meaning, Catalina will try to block them. To avoid the block, Ctrl+Click the game icon and select "Open." This is true for all the Mac wrappers (DOS, Amiga, etc.).
It's all for now. If you have any suggestions, let us know. Happy retro gaming!