Recently I bought a gaming headset, and a gaming mouse. They’re not overly fancy, but they are for gaming.
I am a Mac user. I have been a Mac user for quite some time. I’ve had my iMac for just over 4 years, before that I had an iBook (still do, but it can’t keep up nowadays) for about 4 years after making the switch from a Windows powered Dell machine.
I love my iMac, and I loved my iBook before that. I consider myself well versed in the Windows operating systems and I know that I much prefer Mac OS. I find it much more stable than it’s Microsoft counterpart, it’s more fluid to use, and it has so many useful little features, my favourite being a hotkey to shut the machine down, a thing so small that people might not consider it, but it’s there, and I love it. And as a photographer, the iMac’s capability for graphical work is fantastic.
One thing Mac’s are often lambasted for however, is gaming. I remember the torment of not having many games to play on my parent’s Mac II (why oh why did they insist that it was the better machine?). I had Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and that was pretty much it.
It’s not that game developers ignore the Mac, it’s that Macs aren’t worth the effort. Mac’s aren’t built for gaming.
Or at least, they weren’t.
Nowadays we have a slightly different view. I would say, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree, that Macs still aren’t built for gaming, but on the 12th of May, 2010 a company called Valve mixed things up a bit by releasing a Mac compatible version of their digital distribution software, Steam. And with it, they brought a multitude of BIG titles.
As soon as it was available I was downloading Steam, eager to get my hands on the free copy of Portal offered. I beat that on the day I got it (it’s a relatively short game).
I’m not a big gamer, having a Mac for so long has sort of instilled that in me. Even my PS3 seems to gather dust, but since that fateful day in 2010 I’ve acquired about 50 games in my Steam library. I’ve beaten 3 of them.
But now, I’m playing more. I have a huge collection of games considering the amount I play and I want to get through them. I have a copy of the original Half Life, a game released in 1997 and one that is still regarded as one of the best games ever released, I’ve never played it.
I seem to have suffered some sort of mild anti-game psychological thing for a lot of my life, games aren’t productive, they’re for killing time, they’re not something to be proud of. All that is absolute bollox, and I’m only just learning this.
When people get home and turn on the TV to watch Eastenders and The X Factor, I fire up YouTube and watch people playing games, they make a living doing it, I am envious of that. I won’t get to that level, but it’s convinced me that there’s more to gaming than pushing a few buttons.
There are international competitions with prizes worth thousands of dollars.
Science has proven that playing games can enhance brain function, reflexes, hand-eye co-ordination, problem solving.
Communities are built by people playing MMORPGs like World Of Warcraft, people met and friendships formed through key presses and headsets, gaming is social. The other day I launched Steam with the intent of playing Bioshock Infinite, instead I ended up shooting zombie hordes in Left 4 Dead 2 with a friend until 3am, it was awesome.
But above all of that, games are fun. And that’s the key, the release of Steam allowed me to put some fun inside my computer. For that, I thank the folks at Valve.
I’m no pro gamer, I never will be. I know my Mac won’t be as powerful as your custom built 3k rig with 6 monitors, liquid cooling and flashing lights on the case. But I don’t give a damn.
I own a Mac, I play games, and I have fun doing it.
Thanks for reading.