So while you were off playing oh, well, pretty much anything, I had a Mac. My family was on Apple since the invention of the personal computer and my childhood experience reading gaming magazines was a lot like an episode of Loony Tunes where some cartoon lost in the desert see a verdant oasis and then, after diving in, realizes that it is in fact a cactus.
Practically nothing ran on Macs. Blizzard is, to my knowledge, the only company for a very long time to release both mac and pc versions of their games at the same time, which they started with Warcraft II. One of the few rays of light (other than the great casual and not-so-casual publisher Ambrosia) was Bungie. Bungie was originally a Mac developer, and their amazing FPS marathon was the groundwork for Halo – which was originally shown at a Macworld expo before Microsoft bought them out.
Here, watch Steve Jobs introduce Halo to the world.
This, in retrospect, was a painful day.
Imagine what kind of bizzaro world we’d be living in if Halo was a Mac exclusive? We’d probably be playing on the iBox 360 right now, for one. If that thought horrifies you, you have a bit of an idea of what it was like to be a Mac gamer back in the day.
The blame for Apple’s lack of gaming support is unfortunately very much due to Apple’s attitude. Letting the only company making high quality exclusives for the platform be bought out by thier biggest competitor indicates that Apple just really didn’t seem to see gaming as important to the platform. This is something developers notice. A telltale sign of Apple’s trouble with gaming is the way Bungie developer Jason Jones talked about the deal. Among the pluses of working with Microsoft “the chance to work with a company that took the games seriously” was definately one of them, according to Bungie’s website.
Read that the other way around, and it pretty much says “Apple doesn’t take games seriously.” It’s a complaint that Gabe Newell echoed back in 2007 with his frustrations in working with Apple. According to him, Apple seems to send a bunch of dudes around every couple of years talk to them about how important gaming is and how Macs should have it, and then dissapear and are never heard from again. “They seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there’s never any follow through on any of the things they say they’re going to do. That makes it hard to be excited about doing games for their platforms,” said Gabe Newell in an interview on videogamesdaily.com
Well, the latest bunch of dudes must have listened this time, because finally Steam has come to the Mac. Apple still doesn’t seem to interested in games that aren’t on their iGadgets, but acknowledging computer gaming at all is a huge step forward.
And honestly, I hope it stays that way. Console wars are enough of a headache–let’s not add fuel to the Mac vs. PC fire with gaming, too.