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Thirteen Years of Mac Gaming
August 15, 2007 | David Peck

This is not much of a confession. My game centricity has been known to attendees of Miniapples (Minnesota Apple Computer User Group) Annual meeting for years when LAN (local area network) Parties ruled the meeting and hoots from gamers in the current round of Marathon interfered with the stodgy goings-on of an annual meeting.

I had owned an Apple IIe since 1983 and used that baby for 10 years. The IIe is still gathering dust in my basement in hopes that one day it will become a valuable antique. From previous experience with an Atari console, I knew I had gaming tendencies. Besides my check management program and word processing duties, for diversions, I found the Apple IIe was mostly good for text adventures like Zork, with honorable mention going to a neat little game called Lode Runner. The stage was set for hard core gaming.

Over The Top
But my adventure in Mac gaming did not start until 1994 at the ten year anniversary of the original Mac, when I was visiting a local Mac Dealer to have my first Mac's processor (a Mac Performa 68030) upgraded to a brand new PowerMac 7100. Suddenly the vision hit me as I feebly pointed with gibberish drooling from my mouth. The music vibrated my soul “da da da...da-duh-da"......then the army choir shouted: "MAR-Ah-THON!!” The Starship Marathon on the store's display Mac, a First Person Shooter (FPS) reeled me in and grabbed hard, like an Alien's extensible chompers. A fleet figure came sprinting up the long corridor as I cowered in the corner. But when it zapped me with electric shocks I arose to the occasion with just a pistol- blam! blam! Despite my wife rolling her eyes, gaming had just gotten better.

Frag'n Fools
The 1990's were choice years of discovery on the Mac as new exciting gaming concepts and opportunities appeared for the first time. We "ooohed" at the solo story in Bungie's Marathon (1994). We frolicked with Marathon's multiplayer networking- player versus player/coop and we reveled in Real Time Strategy (RTS) playing classic games like Blizzard's Warcraft (1994) and Bungie's Myth (1997). The original Marathon remained on our play list for seven years because it was that good.

I'm compelled to mention a similar sounding but very different game, Myst (1993) which was the first monumental graphic adventure created and developed on the Mac by Cyan. There was no stopping it as it sold six million copies to become the 5th highest selling Mac/PC title of all time.

FPS and RTS were clearly the genres of choice for my group. Other shooters that grabbed our attention in the 90s was an outstanding solo and network-able game called Unreal (1998), the first dedicated arena shooter, Unreal Tournament (1999) and Id's gem Quake III Arena (1999). I specifically remember the rivalry between the Quake camp and the Unreal Tournament camp debating which was the better game. I preferred the Unreal franchise and have been happily entertained since 1997 when Unreal, the Unreal Tournament prequel was released.


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