Gaming on the Mac

Video games were once considered as epic waste of time and energy by our parents. However, the industry has now become one of the biggest revenue generating businesses in the entertainment world.

Not only have video games become a financially contributing member to the economic society, but our hopes and dreams of becoming professional video game players have also come true; gamers now get paid to play and win for their respective gaming leagues. For a gamer, nothing could be better.

The gaming industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the new millennium, and now we can choose the platform we wish to game on, as compared to the good ol’ days when we only had an Atari or a Nintendo to get our daily fix.

Games are being released on multiple platforms, from consoles to PCs and Macs. It is now easier for all types of gamers, regardless of the genre they prefer, to play a vast selection of games which are now widely available on most consoles and PC-based systems. Some developers make games exclusively for certain consoles; take the example of X-Box’s Halo franchise and the PlayStation’s very popular Metal Gear Solid franchise. Rumours do suggest that these gaming franchises would soon make an appearance on different consoles.

The same unfortunately cannot be said for the Mac. Not that there is anything wrong with the Mac system itself. Apple does have a tendency to make a sweet, sweet rig which is ideal for gamers, but not everyone can afford a powerhouse such as a Mac Pro, and buying iMacs isn’t exactly cheap either. iMacs come with restrictions right off the bat, with fewer options for upgrades and a higher price tag, so people prefer the unbranded build-it-yourself systems which tend to be cheaper and more powerful. Mac Pros are generally meant for studios and professionals not restricted by a budget, who are able to pay the high costs of getting simple upgrades. Macbook Pros are heavily underutilised for what they are capable of doing in terms of performance, and cost roughly as much as a lower-end Mac Pro tower machine would.

Keeping all of this in mind along with the restrictions placed on developers when it comes to creating content for the Mac OS X, there is a tendency for a lot of the mainstream games to not come out on the Mac. But never fear, as this is exactly why we are here. For those of you Mac lovers who are looking to get the most out of your machine gaming wise, below is a compilation of relatively newer games.

StarCraft 2

This game is the long-awaited sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s very successful real-time strategy game, StarCraft. The story continues four years after the events of the first game (here’s hoping you all remember it, and if you haven’t played the first part then shame on you). Thankfully, they have kept the same factions in the sequel, which are the Terrans, Zerg and Protos. Blizzard decided to release the full game in three parts. Each part lets you play the campaign for a single faction. The first faction to get released was the Terran, next came the Zerg, and Protos is to follow, as the third and final part of the game is yet to be released. You can still play your favourite race through multiplayer or just a random skirmish match against the AI. Currently, the first two parts Wings of Liberty (which follows the Terran campaign) and Heart of the Swarm (which follows the Zerg campaign) are already out and are available on the Mac.

There is no need to tell you guys just how awesome this game is, since it is still one of the best strategy games out there. The campaigns and heart-pumping battles are awesome and highly immersing, keeping you on your toes at all times, but the storyline is not very strong. Having said that, should you ever feel the need to test your true skills, jump online on Battlenet and play against some pro players from around the world. The online feature makes it an entirely different game.

XCOM : Enemy Unknown

One of the best games to come out in recent years, and definitely the best turn-based strategy game in a long time, Xcom is a very challenging game, and it only gets harder as you progress through the missions. It is a highly recommended game to play. Xcom: Enemy Unknown puts us in a world being invaded by aliens who wish to purge all of mankind. Seems a bit harsh, but I’m sure they have valid reasons of their own.

Players will control an elite multinational paramilitary organisation called XCOM and are tasked with defending Earth. The player commands troops in the field in a series of turn-based tactical missions; between missions, the player directs the research and development of new technologies from recovered alien technology and captured prisoners, expands XCOM’s base of operations, manages XCOM’s finances, and monitors and responds to alien activity. Combat takes place in a turn-based tactical environment, and is a tense affair to say the least. One small mistake can mean the end for your highly-trained veteran. This game is a must play, thankfully the developers had enough foresight to release the game on Mac as well.


This is an incredibly addictive and sometimes annoying game. Originally launched for the PC, it is now not only available for the Mac but also for Linux systems. Also, it gets regular and consistent updates.

The game is extremely popular because it plays like a multiplayer game of Lego. Players can build castles or kingdoms to their hearts’ content, or go explore the environment for some very interesting adventures. Luckily it’s playable both online and offline.

Diablo 3

Blizzard Entertainment’s highly anticipated sequel to the successful Diablo action role playing game series, Diablo 3 introduces a ton of new features, gameplay changes, better graphics and of course another adventure to embark on. The game is played mostly online, but you don’t necessarily have to play with someone else, you can continue to play solo, or when need be ask one of your friends to join in on your game and help you beat some of the tougher bosses at the end of a level. Players will like the fact that some of the familiar faces, whether good or bad, are still present in the game.

New additions such as crafting and skill rune systems have expanded the players’ experience, without straying too far off from its roots. They’ve also eliminated the minor inconvenience of manually picking up all the loot or the tedious inventory management, making it a smarter and faster version of the series. However, the in-game auction house may hamper some of the enjoyment, but it isn’t a deal breaker. Though I personally preferred the original series, Diablo 3 is still one of the more popular action RPGs out there.

Team Fortress 2

Valve’s free-to-play team-based first person shooter (FPS) is a little older than some of the above mentioned titles, but the game’s personality and comedic take on the FPS genre keeps it fresh. TF2 lets players take control of one of the nine playable classes, to take part in a war between two organisations, RED (Reliable Excavation & Demolition) and BLU (Builders League United). This is a game to be played online and is available through Steam. It is highly recommended to play with your friends, or you can just jump onto a server and try your luck that way. In either case it’s a must play and tons of fun. If you have friends who would play the game with you, nothing could be better, as this game provides tons of comical moments and almost non-stop laughter.

Unfortunately, a lot of other mainstream and more popular games have not been released for the Mac yet. Recently, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was released for the Mac. Some games such Borderlands 2 have been ported onto Mac-based systems, but they seem to have a lot of frame rate issues. Developers are looking into those issues as well, but somehow Mac hasn’t quite been able to capture the mainstream gaming market, which seems to be heavily controlled by the consoles and PCs due to some of the reasons given above. In any case, Mac machines are a powerhouse and are known for that power, and developers are showing an interest in porting some of their titles onto the Mac.


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usman hashmi

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