The Secret History of Mac Gaming


Originally published at:


and in the NOT SO SECRET world of Mac gaming today…Apple has thrown up their hands and said fuck off gamers, don’t buy our hardware.


Maze Wars over Appletalk preceded all the PC arena combat games, and was a tremendous destroyer of productivity at the office – the only place you’d have a network in 1987.


I remember Bolo being the first network game that really worked for me.


Mac Gaming isn’t a very stable platform.


A long time ago. I can remember browsing the Mac Games aisle at that big-box computer retailer whose name I can’t even remember. I remember how it got smaller and smaller until the last copy of Mavis Typing Tutor was lost among tax-prep and anti-virus packages.

I switched to Windows a while ago, but it was a long fight.

EDIT: Compu-something. Compu-Max? Compu-Mart?


These days, I actually find the Mac to be a perfectly acceptable gaming platform for the games I’m interested in 1) Indie games from Steam, which are usually made with Unity or a similar cross-platform toolkit and thus have Mac ports. 2) Open source UNIX games, which generally are either trivial to install from source or have Mac binaries already.


I am in process of making that switch…begrudgingly. Blizzard has always done a great job of supporting the Mac platform, with the notable exception of Overwatch (but since it was also available on console it was less of an issue).

With the release of Battle for Azeroth, non-metal Mac hardware will no longer be supported. Thing is…yes my iMac is 8 years old…but if Apple simply made it an upgrade-able system like Windows based counterparts, all I would need to do is upgrade my gpu and I would be fine. I have a core i5, 24gb of ram, 2TB hdd, its just that craptastic 512mb GPU that I cannot upgrade that stands in my way. All because Apple couldn’t seem to see fit to even OFFER an upgrade-able version!!!

Now one can argue that 8 years ago it seemed like the road to go down given size constraints for components and the ultimate design choices of the iMac line…no big deal. But today, as I look at all these micro gaming systems…as we see Playstation and XBox making small form factor gaming rigs as powerful as desktops, when I see what MSI has created with the Trident 3, Alienware, Corsair, Origin, etc…Apple has NO EXCUSE except that they don’t give a fuck.

They put development into the iMac Pro, a ridiculously over the top non configurable, non upgrade-able desktop that is useless once it’s hardware is outdated…but they couldn’t have produced an upgrade-able ready iMac with modular components for swapping out SSDs, GPU cards, ram, etc?

Count me at this point as merely an Apple customer for my phone needs and nothing more. They lost a desktop/computer customer. And perhaps they are fine with that. Maybe they just want to be making iPhones, iPads, and Macbook Airs and nothing more. I would appreciate they just come out and say it. Stop saying you are a desktop computer company and manufacturer. Because it’s bullshit and disingenuous.

Yes…I am very bitter and angry with Apple right now.


I thought they did? I clearly remember hearing a story about how Dell would be building Mac clones, back in the 'oughts. Is this one of those things where a parallel universe is leaking into ours?


Well, Dell did unintentionally, at least. The Dell XPS 8700 is known as an “off-the-shelf Hackintosh” because unlike most prebuilt systems you can install OSX without replacing any components – it’s actually my main desktop these days.



That’s where I used to buy on-clearance boxed games and other software for like, $1.07 or some equally odd figure. They had a decent Mac section, for awhile. That’s when I was looking into building a Mac clone, back when Apple still permitted it. When Jobs came back he pulled the rug out from under that program.

The days when I has access to a Mac I played small games like Spelunx and some version of Reversi.


cc @Boundegar but this is NOT an iMac. This is…

And they could have made the case an inch thicker and had a full size graphics card to be swapped out and easily accessible hard drives.


That Dark Castle?


I got my start gaming on a Mac SE/30 and an Atari 2600. It was probably the Super Nintendo that had the biggest impact, but I still have fond memories of playing Stuntcopter, Taskmaker, Glider and Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego on that tiny black and white screen.


And that’s an old iMac. Now they are even thinner and don’t have CD/DVD drives. You can upgrade the memory of the larger ones, but nothing else really.


The new ones are basically laptops with no keyboard or hinge. The logic board is just tiny and everything is soldered on and glued shut. But hey, the edges are super thin, because that’s what I’m looking for in my desktop computer.


Pish Posh, sounds like somebody doesn’t work at the front desk of an art gallery.


probably best played on a black and white mac, with a mouse.


The Mac Pro “cheese grater” was upgradable but at a price point that made no sense for the casual/gaming market. The lovely new Mac Pro Darth2D2 is semi-upgradable, but I can’t imagine spending my own money on it to play games. (Someone else’s money, sure!)


This sent me down a wonderful path of thought that ended with iMacs being repurposed as guillotine blades.