Source: Retroplace.

We’ve covered videogame emulation on Apple devices many times over the years, but today, I have a fun story from the archives about the Mac and emulation.

As Chris Brandrick explains on, the Mac played a pivotal role in developing the U.S. case law that holds that emulators are ‘fair use’ under copyright law:

Believe it or not, but back in 1999 Apple’s Steve Jobs went on national TV and spoke glowingly about a new piece of emulation software that made playing PS1 games on your Macintosh a reality. 

Yes, then iCEO Jobs not only took to the airwaves on U.S. news network CNBC to brag about how this new emulator “lets your Mac play Sony PlayStation games” (noting that “you can’t even get this on Windows”), but he also took to the stage at that year’s MacWorld Expo touting the $49 ‘Virtual Game Station’ software to the Mac masses.

The software Jobs demoed on stage at Macworld was Connectix Virtual Game Station, which was developed by Aaron Giles and allowed Sony PlayStation CD-ROMs to be played on Mac like the G3 iMac. Sony promptly sued Connectix, the company behind the emulator, and got a preliminary injunction against its distribution, which was later overturned on appeal. Sony ultimately bought Connectix Virtual Game Station to take it off store shelves.

Also linked in the story is a terrific video overview of the history behind Connectix Virtual Game Station by Definitive Mac Upgrade Guide:

The entire story is fascinating in light of Nintendo’s recent actions against Yuzu, an open-source Switch emulator, which resulted in the Yuzu project being taken down has had ripple effects in all corners of the emulation world.

So, the next time you fire up an emulator, think of Steve Jobs and the fight he helped kick off that sits at the foundation of videogame emulation everywhere.


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