The Apple Store is officially open for business and Mac gaming has finally found a venue in which it is represented both fairly and well. For the first time in Mac shopping history, a retail store offers a terrific selection for Mac gamers along with a good selection of peripherals and helpful employee advice from fellow Mac gamers.
Walk into the Apple Store looking for a choice game and you won't be let down. The first thing that catches the buyer's eye are two enormous black shelves which run most of the length of the store filled to the brim with software. For parents looking for software titles for their children, the shelves along the walls are laden with non-violent/educational programs, everything within easy reach. Customers can simply pluck out the titles of their choice (no need to wait for the title to be retrieved from a back room), walk to the register and take home what they came for. Everything's as convenient as it should be.
"I was kind of impressed that there are this many Mac games together," said a customer who identified himself as David, who eagerly snagged a copy of Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear from the shelves.The selection is incredible. Approximately one-eighth of the software titles for sale on the store's main shelves are best-selling Mac games (for Teen and Mature audiences), Apple having stocked up on the industry's best-selling titles. If you want it, it's there. Rune, Oni, Civilization (2 and Call to Power), Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2, Majesty, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena and Rogue Spear make up the tip of the iceberg in the games section. Every major title is present with several other copies in reserve, the game you want being there at a retail price with no worries as to its availability.
Edutainment software is no slouch, either. Apple has created a kids/gaming zone within the Apple Store where people can sit down and try certain products on for size. This area is composed of several Dalmation and Flower Power iMacs placed on a polished wooden desk, customers sitting not on chairs but on strange oversized black balls while playing game demos (games like Cro-Mag Rally, Bugdom and Nanosaur). The walls surrounding this area are filled to the brim with non-violent/educational programs such as Reader Rabbit, Math 1-2-3 as well as titles aimed towards younger gamer and educational buyers. The end result is impressive; the wall selection catching parents' eyes as they quickly snagged the titles they were looking for and walking to the registers.
The iMacs themselves in the kids/gaming area are interesting. Apple is using these machines to show off cool peripherals like Gravis' Eliminator joystick and various gamepad controllers. Each iMac and its joystick is pre-configured for its demo game, making sampling the peripheral a joy. Although it might be a bit of a trick to get a nearby employee to set up and configure the peripheral of your choice, the ones already hooked to the iMacs are set up and ready to roll.