I love to see things like this. This hardware isn't going to last forever. While it lasts, you have people doing really low level things like this on actual hardware so it can live on in emulation. And this is one of the things a lot of people miss about MAME: it is much about documenting the hardware as emulating it.
Old computing has a certain charm to it. Is it limitations, aesthetic or the simplicity? I don't know.
Nothing on modern smart phones can compare to less than 1 second access to my todo list. Pull out of my pocket, press button, by the time my device was up to eye level the todo list was shown.
Mac emulation in MESS/MAME has a very long history, totally independent AFAIK from any other emulators. It's also very different from most other Mac emulators, which tend towards using various hacks and high-level emulation techniques - MAME aims to be very low-level and accurate. This has perks - theoretically higher compatibility, most importantly - but also downsides that make it possibly not the best choice at the moment: worse performance, lower compatibility while the devs figure out the right way to do things, and fewer "modernizing" features that can be hacked in: instead of emulating hardware, Basilisk injects new drivers into the OS so that it can do things like give your classic Mac absurdly high resolutions or mount local directories from the host PC. MAME's flexibility - it emulates everything - also makes it notoriously difficult to configure.
I was aware of MAME but not the separate history of MESS or that it included any classic mac emulation. I know first hand that nether Basillisk2 nor minivmac emulate ADB properly, and therefore various software that requires low level ADB access does not run. The article specifically mentions ADB so this could fill quite a gap, all thanks to the low level approach that is so important to emulating the quirks of this era of machines.
MAME is often used to play arcade games on PCs.
I wanted to mention the game as a possible inspiration because of who the author of the article is, and the website. Still doesn't rule out multiple references, as you said.
Actually I wasn't aware of the songs, so TIL, thanks!