Mac User For a Month #3: Gaming on a Mac

1999: Some people fish, others play golf, and I play computer games.

Being that I am single, live alone, and have an anti-responsibility rule in my lease, I spend a lot of my free time playing games. I am not just any gamer – I am a “die-hard” gamer.

Mac Metamorphosis

Most would think that as you grow older, you start to lose your desire to play games. I either didn’t grow up or just don’t want to. Computer games have been taken to new heights year after year, and they will continue to do so. Some, including myself, think that games are still in their adolescent stage. Think about it, instead of just playing it with a keyboard, mouse, and joystick, you could star in it!

Sadly, the Macintosh has a lot of catching up to do in gaming. Apple was dominant in the computer gaming industry with the Apple II. The Apple II was my very first computer, and it was the ultimate gaming machine to me. I had over 30 games and loved almost every one of them. Computer games simply offered more than console-based games. Computer games of the 1980s had storylines, plots, and depth. Can’t fit the game on one 5-1/4″ disk? No problem, we’ll just give you ten 5-1/4″ disks. Anyone remember Kings Quest I, II, and III? Try playing that on the original Nintendo.

That was then; this is now. Currently, Windows PCs are mostly used to play computer games, and I am one of them. The PC platform is simply better, for now, when it comes to playing games. The Wintel platform offers a better variety, has better performance, and overall looks better than on a Mac.

Now that you’re done cursing my very existence and sending that flame mail, I will go into great detail and tell you why.


It’s all about the frame rates. I use a Voodoo3 3000 AGP in my 333 MHz Pentium II and play all my games at 1024 x 768 on my 19″ monitor. I love the ability to play at this resolution and have the game running smooth as silk. Apple only recently incorporated AGP into the Power Mac G4 and iBook, and I think that’s great. However, I don’t have the kind of money to buy a new G4 with AGP. 3dfx is supporting the Macintosh now, and it’s a step in the right direction, but Apple has to ditch ATI. If they can’t get rid of ATI, they should at least offer their customers a choice of different brand video cards.


The Macintosh has had built-in sound from day one and delivers great quality sound. Most PCs don’t have built-in sound and the ones that do use cheap 16-bit audio. The PCs sound saviors are Aureal with A3D and Creative Labs with EAX. Any sound card with these technologies makes Macintosh audio look like nothing. Take Quake III, for example, there is nothing quite like hitting your opponent with a rocket launcher square in the chest, seeing him blow up into a million pieces, and hearing those pieces fly in every which direction. Environmental audio needs to be incorporated into the Macintosh line.


There are simply more games available for the Wintel platform. Granted, 99.9% of the games that are released are horrible. The remaining 0.1% are then ported to the Macintosh platform 6-18 months later – if you’re lucky. I understand how this feels because there are PlayStation games that I am anxiously waiting to see ported to PC. Sure, the Macintosh has a PlayStation emulator, but I like to play my games native.

Being an avid RPG fan, I got into online role-playing about 2-1/2 years ago. I don’t think the online role-playing games will ever be ported to the Macintosh platform. What is going to make Quake III the Star Wars of games is that it will be available in Wintel, Macintosh, Linux, and BeOS platforms at the same time. I look forward to fragging you all in an equal opportunity environment.

As of this moment, the PC remains the king of computer gaming for a hardcore gamer such as myself. If Apple gains some momentum in the gaming industry, I would gladly switch platforms.

This is not a platform thing; it’s an entertainment thing.

keywords: #gaming #macgaming #pcgaming