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Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Mac Gaming: Past, Present & Future
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

MacScene and Bitmob has posted a collection of feature articles examining the history of gaming on the Mac. Writer Richard Moss began with Apple's early days and continued through the rocky history of Mac gaming to discuss the platforms current gaming status and its potential future.

Thankfully, there are still a number of companies working on Mac-native ports of PC and console games. Others have come and gone, but the big four Mac game companies nowadays are Aspyr, Feral Interactive, MacSoft Games, and Virtual Programming.

Aspyr scrambled to get a Universal Build (that's an executable containing both the Intel and PowerPC binaries) of The Sims 2 ready after Apple first announced the Intel switch. They had usurped MacSoft as the leading Mac publisher, and weren't going to see their most popular title lose its market longevity. Other Universal Build updates followed for much of the Aspyr product line. At the same time, the company set about ensuring that its upcoming games would work equally well for Macs of the two different architectures. They dropped PowerPC support in 2007.
Aspyr's porting efforts from the past few years include NeverWinter Nights 2, Call of Duty 4, Guitar Hero World Tour, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and the entire Civilization 4 lineup. While ports of Civilization 4 and its first expansion, Warlords, came less than a year after their respective Windows releases, the second expansion, Beyond the Sword, did not arrive until July 2009, a full two years after the PC version, due to difficulty in adding support for the PC version's many fan- and developer-made mods. Civilization 4: Colonization followed in December.

Feral Interactive's highest profile release came in October last year, with a Mac port of the award-winning Bioshock, which was released on Windows and Xbox 360 back in August 2007. But they've been busy working on other ports, too. In August 2008, Feral announced their Legends Series, which would be made up of older PC games that never made it to the Mac. Essentially forming the publisher's budget line, this label has so far brought Mac versions of Sid Meier's Pirates! and Rome: Total War, with more titles expected to come. In recent years, Feral have also released ports of LEGO Indiana Jones, Fable, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Black & White 2, and The Movies, amongst others. The delay between Mac and Windows releases is usually either around six months or a few years, although the ports are typically of a high quality.

The once mighty MacSoft Games have been disturbingly quiet for the past year. They published the Mac-only snowboarding title Drop Point: Alaska in 2007, and ported Age of Empires 3 and its expansions, with the most recent, Asian Dynasties, released in July 2008. But besides updating their earlier OS X games to run natively on Intel Macs, that's about all they've released in the past few years. Back in 2007 MacSoft announced a port of Unreal Tournament 3, but that has yet to surface.

Virtual Programming have been the most prolific of the Mac game publishers since the Intel switch, with more than 30 titles published in the past three years. Highlights include X3: Terran Conflict, Hearts of Iron 3, Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, Europa Universalis 3, and Majesty 2. Their lineup also includes a number of adventure games, and some arcade and casual titles.
Read the full articles at the links provided below.

Part 1: The Rocky History Of Mac Gaming
Part 2: The Current State Of Mac Gaming
Part 3: Endlessly Waiting For Tomorrow

Other Mac Games News for Tuesday, March 2, 2010

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Insectoid Reviewed6:00 AM
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View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, March 2, 2010 on one page

Mac Games News for Monday, March 1, 2010

BlizzCast Thirteen Now Available6:00 AM
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WoW Twitter Q&A Transcript6:00 AM
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