TSE

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Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
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My nephews are turning into some big boys and are now 4 and 6.

I want to send them a classic Mac OS 9 gaming laptop to run some of the classic games from Macintosh Garden.

Do you guys have any suggestions for an affordable, good dependable option? Form doesn't matter as much as function!
 

r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
My nephews are turning into some big boys and are now 4 and 6.

I want to send them a classic Mac OS 9 gaming laptop to run some of the classic games from Macintosh Garden.

Do you guys have any suggestions for an affordable, good dependable option? Form doesn't matter as much as function!

Powerbook G4 Titanium 1Ghz is I think the fastest laptop that will run OS9 natively - it also has a GPU with 64MB of VRAM which should help a lot with games. If you can't find that easily there are slower versions of the Titanium. They all take up to 1GB of RAM.
 
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Amethyst1

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Or the original 1 GHz 17" PowerBook which can unofficially run OS 9. Not sure how the GF4Go compares to the MR9000 though.
 

TSE

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Jun 25, 2007
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St. Paul, Minnesota
I perhaps worded it wrong by putting "gaming" in the title, but most of the games they will be playing are non-3D, very simple games.

Are the white (non-colorful) iBook G3s a good purchase?
 

r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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London, UK
I perhaps worded it wrong by putting "gaming" in the title, but most of the games they will be playing are non-3D, very simple games.

Are the white (non-colorful) iBook G3s a good purchase?

I've never owned one, but I imagine they should run basic OS9 games quite nicely. I have read (on this forum) that the keyboards can fall victim to some weird 'smells' and yellowing, due to the particular plastic or adhesive that Apple used in this model? This recent thread has discussion on the merits of this particular iBook.

To be honest though, for the purposes you are describing I imagine any iBook/Powerbook G3/G4 capable of running OS9 should suffice, so it may just depend on what you can find cheaply where you are located.
 
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timidpimpin

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Nov 10, 2018
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I perhaps worded it wrong by putting "gaming" in the title, but most of the games they will be playing are non-3D, very simple games.

Are the white (non-colorful) iBook G3s a good purchase?
The white G3 iBooks are well known for logic board failures. I had a 600MHz die on me a few years back. I would strongly recommend the PowerBook G3 if you prefer a G3. The Pismo in particular is great.
 
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weckart

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Or the original 1 GHz 17" PowerBook which can unofficially run OS 9. Not sure how the GF4Go compares to the MR9000 though.
I benchmarked both here somewhere. It's a bit faster but more importantly, the laptop is a lot quieter and cooler.
 
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r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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Are you wedded to a laptop? If not, something like an early iMac G4 15" (one that can boot OS9) might suit I imagine, and they are relatively compact and very nice looking.
 
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retta283

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Jun 8, 2018
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I like the Titanium PowerBook for OS 9, if you can get one of the later ones it's pretty good. Should run pretty much everything made for OS 9, just make sure to actually boot into it instead of using Classic mode.
 

philgxxd

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Feb 11, 2017
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When the time comes I have a restored white iMac G3 for my kids to do the same.
First, simple games from the Macintosh garden archive!
 

Project Alice

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Jul 13, 2008
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I perhaps worded it wrong by putting "gaming" in the title, but most of the games they will be playing are non-3D, very simple games.

Are the white (non-colorful) iBook G3s a good purchase?
Yes, for what you describe they are. I have two of them, one of which I’ve owned for over 10 years. They are both 500Mhz models. They’re extremely reliable. All of the issues you see people complain about are on the faster models with a Radeon chip.
 

timidpimpin

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Yes, for what you describe they are. I have two of them, one of which I’ve owned for over 10 years. They are both 500Mhz models. They’re extremely reliable. All of the issues you see people complain about are on the faster models with a Radeon chip.
As a Mac tech I certainly saw a few 500MHz white iBook G3's fail. Certainly not as many as the 600MHz+ though. But I have never seen or even heard of a dead Pismo.
 

timidpimpin

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So 500mhz or slower iBook G3, iMac G3 / G4, TiBook, and Pismo are all on my radar!
If your idea is to use rather than collect, which it is, I would avoid any PowerPC Mac with a CRT. Like the iMac G3. The failure rate is high at this point in time for those screens. Plus a CRT is hard on the eyes compared to an LCD, which isn't the best for an adult's eyes, let alone a child.
 
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bobesch

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So 500mhz or slower iBook G3, iMac G3 / G4, TiBook, and Pismo are all on my radar!
I'd prefer a Pismo, because I think it is sturdier compared to the TiBook and because you won't have that iBookG3-smell for the kids...
Since it's hard to find batteries for all of them, an iMacG3 DV 400MHz would be a good choice while more easy to find and less easy the break.
 
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Raging Dufus

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Aug 2, 2018
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I'm going to take a different path here. I don't think any portable of this vintage is going to be a good choice for kids whose primary use for it will be playing games.

That said, of the options thus far offered, I'd have to go with the iBook G3; I doubt the "stink" is still going to be a problem on most of them, which have surely by now been used enough/are old enough that the smelly adhesive has off-gassed sufficiently to no longer be noticeable. I have no experience with them, but if I was in the market for one I wouldn't let that (hopefully former) issue stop me. Furthermore:
  • Cost: iBook G3's are easily the cheapest of the lot and thus cheaply replaceable in whole or in part. You could buy multiples of them for what you'd likely pay for a good-condition TiBook or especially, a Pismo.
  • Durability: Logic boards may be an issue, but with computers this old it could be an issue with any of the models discussed. TiBooks have hinge problems, and if you give one to a child to carry around and use where they please, sooner or later they're going to break one or both, and then you're stuck using the thing as a desktop. Pismos probably won't break, but why would you give something that sought-after and pricey to a kid to play games? Lombards would be a better choice in that form/style factor. But, with Pismos and Lombards (and sometimes TiBooks) you run into the dreaded pink screen issue from dying LCD backlights.
So, there are inherent compromises involved no matter which way you go with any PPC portable. What I'd suggest instead is a Mac Mini G4. They run OS 9 well, they're as portable as any typical game console like a PlayStation, GameCube, XBOX, etc.; and like those, it's simple enough to hook them up to a TV or other display. It'd be hard for the kiddos to break one, and if so they're usually easy enough to fix. If I was looking for a classic Mac gaming station, especially for kids, that's what I'd get hands down.

My $.02. Good luck with your search!
 

bobesch

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I'd have to go with the iBook G3; I doubt the "stink" is still going to be a problem on most of them, which have surely by now been used enough/are old enough that the smelly adhesive has off-gassed sufficiently to no longer be noticeable. I have no experience with them, but if I was in the market for one I wouldn't let that (hopefully former) issue stop me.
Good lord, one has to be a real admirer of the old Apple-hardware to stand that smell!

I fully agree to all your other reasons about better getting a desktop-mac instead of a "book".
Thinking of reducing cables and stuff to a bare minimum, a iMacG3 400MHz with maxed out RAM and an SSD would still be my first choice, but an early iMacG4 would be top of crowd (but needs some proper cleaning/repasting before to prevent suffocation/overheating of the board.)
 
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MacFoxG4

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Nov 22, 2019
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I personally like the dual USB iBook G3s. They're not as fun looking as the clamshells, and they're not the most powerful OS 9 machines you can get, but I find them to be good enough for most things I do in OS 9. I don't game that much, but the games I do play work on the dual USB iBooks. One of them is 3D accelerated, but it is not very demanding, none of the Mac games I have are.
 
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1042686

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Sep 3, 2016
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I'm going to take a different path here. I don't think any portable of this vintage is going to be a good choice for kids whose primary use for it will be playing games.

That said, of the options thus far offered, I'd have to go with the iBook G3; I doubt the "stink" is still going to be a problem on most of them, which have surely by now been used enough/are old enough that the smelly adhesive has off-gassed sufficiently to no longer be noticeable. I have no experience with them, but if I was in the market for one I wouldn't let that (hopefully former) issue stop me. Furthermore:
  • Cost: iBook G3's are easily the cheapest of the lot and thus cheaply replaceable in whole or in part. You could buy multiples of them for what you'd likely pay for a good-condition TiBook or especially, a Pismo.
  • Durability: Logic boards may be an issue, but with computers this old it could be an issue with any of the models discussed. TiBooks have hinge problems, and if you give one to a child to carry around and use where they please, sooner or later they're going to break one or both, and then you're stuck using the thing as a desktop. Pismos probably won't break, but why would you give something that sought-after and pricey to a kid to play games? Lombards would be a better choice in that form/style factor. But, with Pismos and Lombards (and sometimes TiBooks) you run into the dreaded pink screen issue from dying LCD backlights.
So, there are inherent compromises involved no matter which way you go with any PPC portable. What I'd suggest instead is a Mac Mini G4. They run OS 9 well, they're as portable as any typical game console like a PlayStation, GameCube, XBOX, etc.; and like those, it's simple enough to hook them up to a TV or other display. It'd be hard for the kiddos to break one, and if so they're usually easy enough to fix. If I was looking for a classic Mac gaming station, especially for kids, that's what I'd get hands down.

My $.02. Good luck with your search!

I know this isn’t what Op asked about but it makes great sense to me. Having the parts that get all the abuse as replaceable (kb/m) is just smart for the Under 10 Padawan gamer crowd. Just imagine the abusive button mashing of a three to four y/o, the mid-snack & juice box sticky fingers of a six y/o and replaceable kb/m becomes an appealing idea to me.

I literally just got done setting up an unused ibook g4 as my young son’s first gaming experience but thinking this through a bit more, I may just have to TDM the ibook Leopard Install to the mini & use that instead.

Out of curiosity OP, why OS9? Do the games you’re installing not run in OSX? As I’m sure you’ve considered, OSX would give you a much broader selection of portables to choose from with more under the hood. Anyhow, best of luck on your search. :)
 

MacCheetah3

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Nov 14, 2003
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This seems like a sensible recommendation.
What I'd suggest instead is a Mac Mini G4. They run OS 9 well, they're as portable as any typical game console like a PlayStation, GameCube, XBOX, etc.; and like those, it's simple enough to hook them up to a TV or other display. It'd be hard for the kiddos to break one, and if so they're usually easy enough to fix. If I was looking for a classic Mac gaming station, especially for kids, that's what I'd get hands down.
To add to it...
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N STOCK! I can set these up 9.2 ONLY if you so choose. That's right 9.2 Bootable!! Run OS9 in classic mode from OSX 10.4.11 Tiger! Nicely configured with the maximum 1 GB of RAM, This Apple Mac Mini is powered by a 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine and upgraded to the max 1GB of PC3200 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM! The built-in 40 GB hard drive provides adequate storage! BURN CDs and Play DVDs with the slot-loading COMBO DRIVE! Built in ATI Radeon 9200 graphics processor (32MB) with AGP 4X support. The super-compact design includes all you need, with integrated video with DVI-I out (includes VGA adapter), integrated audio, Ethernet LAN, USB 2.0 ports, and a FireWire port! Unit Dimensions: 2"x6.5"x6.5". NO AIRPORT. Each unit is thoroughly cleaned and tested with Tiger 10.4.11 nicely configured with 9.2.2 classic installed so you can use your old Applications in classic mode and of course our Kitchen Sink X for plenty of additional shareware and freeware. Optional 10.5.8 Leopard capable call for options. While this unit comes with a power cord, the keyboard and mouse are extra. Use your old one or order from out input section any of the USB items (or see below). Add one of our new LCD monitors and you are good to go, or plug in your own. Our $199.77 price included domestic shipping. Limited quantities order now!
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Project Alice

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As a Mac tech I certainly saw a few 500MHz white iBook G3's fail. Certainly not as many as the 600MHz+ though. But I have never seen or even heard of a dead Pismo.
Personally I wouldn’t spend the money on a Pismo for a child of that age. You’re lucky to get a Pismo for under $100. White iBook G3s are easier to come by and less sought after. Not to mention Pismo’s are few and far in between. If I had kids I probably wouldn’t let them near any PPC laptop. An iMac or desktop maybe as it would be hard for a child to ruin one other than the keyboard and mouse.

Any computer can die for whatever reason. I’ve seen people have problems with Pismo’s too. The screen on my Pismo is on it’s way out for example but the screen’s on both my iBooks are great.
The one I have had forever had been through hell. I got it when I was 13 or 14, I broke the screen by stepping on it at one point, I’ve ripped it apart, in fact to this day it isn’t fully together properly because young me lost some of the pieces. Which can happen when you give someone young a piece of technology like that.

Not to say they CAN’t fail, but I feel at this point any of them that haven’t failed will probably be fine. And again any computer can still fail🤷🏼‍♂️
 
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Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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4/6 years olds playing with a vintage iBook? I'd anticipate a life expectancy in days! Why not a cheap tablet in a tough case?
How about a Raspberry running Sheepshaver hid out out harms way? If it must be a portable anything but a Panasonic Toughbook is going to get smashed.
Does it have to be old Mac games - what about DOS?
 
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