As a gaming platform, iOS has really made great strides in the past few years. Highlights include the casual game that continues to rule the roost, Angry Birds, the game-changing Infinity Blade that makes great use of the improved processing power of recent devices, and the very capable clones put out by Gameloft with alarming regularity. This week alone saw a slew of great iOS game releases. But what about the Mac? Has the Mac reaped any benefits from the App Store gaming renaissance, or, if it hasn’t yet, will it ever? And does it even matter to Mac users?
The launch of both Steam for OS X and the Mac App Store have definitely made more Mac gaming titles more accessible to more users. Top-tier games like Civilization V and Portal 2 are some recent highlights available through these digital delivery systems. Classic offerings that hold up well like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and BioShock are also great for new players who may have missed them the first time around. But triple-A titles seem to be the exception, not the rule. Both Steam and the Mac App Store offer far more casual and less ambitious titles than they do games from big publishers, many of which are still slow to port even their major PC successes to OS X.
Leaving aside the big players, there’s still a lot to love about recent Mac game releases. Gameloft is quickly churning through its catalogue of iOS titles, bringing its budget reinterpretations of the biggest franchises in gaming to the Mac App Store for prices that often match or beat those on the iOS App Stores. For example, Eternal Legacy, the game that clearly owes a debt to Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series, made its debut on the Mac App Store on Thursday and quickly rose to a lofty position on the charts. But the fact remains that the Mac is getting the leftovers of its mobile siblings; none of these titles were actually designed to be played on a computer first.
Original indie talent is one area where the Mac App Store is definitely helping out Mac gaming. Titles like the cartoony hack-and-slash DeathSpank that otherwise might only have reached a small, select audience of enthusiasts now have a much greater reach, which should help ensure we see more similar software down the line.
Still, overall, I can’t help but feel that Mac gaming still isn’t everything it should be. But maybe I’m asking too much. What do you think? Is gaming an important part of your overall Mac experience? What’s missing from Mac gaming, what’s going right, and what needs to see some improvement?