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  1. #1
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    The Secret History of Mac Gaming

    A new book from Bitmap books exploring the history of gaming on the Apple Mac is about to be released.

    It's synopsis reads:

    The Macintosh changed video games. It challenged the medium to be more than child’s play and quick reflexes. It made human-computer interaction friendly, inviting, and intuitive. Mac gaming led to much that is now taken for granted by PC gamers and spawned some of the biggest franchises in video game history — including Myst, Halo, and SimCity. It allowed anyone to create games and playful software with ease, and gave indie developers a home for their products.

    It welcomed strange ideas and encouraged experimentation. It fostered passionate and creative communities who inspired and challenged developers to do better and to follow the Mac mantra: ‘think different’.
    I'm interested in reading it just to see the author and contributing writers take on this. Reading this synopsis is like reading about an alternative reality. Did I live though a completely different 80s and 90s to the history this author is referencing?

    I am especially bemused by his claim that the Mac was responsible for changing video games. I would argue that it's correct in terms of bringing the WIMP interface into the mainstream and therefore introducing the mouse and all that goes with it. But other than as a form of control and interaction, changing video games?

    And spawning some of the biggest franchise in history, sighting Myst, Halo, and SimCity. Since when did Halo start life on the Mac? If they mean FPS, nope. And Myst? Whist it was a bit cutting edge at the time due to its rendered scenes, it was only a very polished adventure puzzle game. Not actually revolutionary as they existed on every system. I will however give them SimCity. That was only possible because of the Macs WIMP system, but then with a Mouse, the PC DOS version worked OK, and was in colour!

    I have never considered the Apple Mac in any way a big influence in the majority of the video games industry. Especially with comparison to the systems that actually led the evolution of gaming. Compare the Amiga era and what was achieved at the same time as the Mac. There is no comparison. But like I said I'm amused to read this (in my view) skewed take on video game history, just to read what Mac fans experienced and thought from the other side. I'm thinking it's an American perspective, because they didn't enjoy the massive gaming revolution the UK did in the same way at the time.

    For me the Apple Mac is actually the system responsible for evolving the OS, and for the original creation of some of the best creative productivity software for the creative industry. Without it we wouldn't have Photoshop, Illustator, DTP software, advanced printing systems etc. To me that is what the Mac means.

    What do you think?

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #2
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    I think Bungie started off as Mac game developers, so there's a link although it's a bit of an overstatement to say it spawned halo (would it really have been such a big hitter if it came out as a Mac exclusive, I think probably not). I personally never really thought about Macs as a gaming platform although I did play a bit of Sim City 4 on my work macbook.

    I suppose a book wouldn't sell many copies if it had a premise of 'mac gaming was kinda ehhhhhhhh, am I rite?'

    - - - Updated - - -

    In a vivid example of something tangentially related; in my 2nd year at uni I for some reason got really into playing the SNES version of Sim City through snes9x on the crappy old computer i got from when the office mum worked at got shut down.

  3. #3
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    That is a bit strange if you think about it. With the PC version in DOS and Win95 so ran on pretty much anything. Although I suppose emulate it was free!

    I tried the SNES version once. Couldn't get used to the controls as I'd played so much on the Amiga and PC.

    My favourite version of SimCity is still the 2000 AGA version on the A4000. Ironically that was a direct port of the Mac original. Could never get into SimCity4. It felt too much like The Sims and ruined it for me.

    And yeah I agree regarding the book title. Wouldn't quite sell as well had it's title been about the lack of gaming on the Mac. I might still buy a copy as it's always interesting to read others perspectives. We all view everything in life from our own experiences after all. That's why we have favourite brands of car, phone, computer, comsole, even breakfast cereal and coffee. It's not even always logical why we stick with one over another. Maybe just because we are creatures of habit. But I get the feeling with the Mac that it was brand loyalty and not wanting to admit the Mac wasn't really a gaming platform or that well supported. I bit like those of us that stuck with the Amiga after it started to decline, trying to convince ourselves it would rise again.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    Yes, and I seem to recall that I had to play it with the cursor keys as the mouse input (obviously, because it was a console game) didn't work.

    As for the 'why', it's a fair and reasonable question. I think it was a combination between how easy it was to acquire from the internet through the uni PCs and to fit on a floppy disk, and how easy it was to run on other PCs, and possibly also the SIMpliCITY of getting it running and playing it, it just wasn't too complicated at all.

    I also suspect i was supposed to be doing study or exams or something and was just looking for something, anything, to do instead of that.

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    I know that situation only too well. Going out of your way to do things not to just get on with getting the actual thing done. Then at Uni especially having to pull all nighters in the final week before something had to be handed in.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    ....

    I have never considered the Apple Mac in any way a big influence in the majority of the video games industry...

    What do you think?
    The fact that this thread instantly went from Mac gaming to 'LOLS emulating a snes on my PC' and then 'procrastination w00t' only goes to prove your point, I feel.

  7. #7
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    I think you just summed up this whole fourm's existence!

    But I like it that way. I hate sites where people jump on you for going off topic.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    It is nice to pass time with chit chat, yeah. Some people take life too seriously. Of course, not everything can be fun and games either but a good dose of chilling out is important.

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    I finally ordered this book when it came into stock. It's very quirky in terms of how it's designed. It's a very tall thin book front on, and quite thick with a lot of pages. It's layout is unique in trying to use the old B/W Mac OS interface in the first few pages to create a timeline of Mac game evolution.

    I was a little disappointed as there are not that many pictures compared to other recent gaming books I've purchased. But it did have a lot of content that I've not had time to start exploring fully yet.

    Would I recommend it? Not sure yet. Will have to get back to you on that once I've read some more. I really bought is as an interesting curiosity to explore early Mac gaming because I didn't really take much notice of the limited Mac gaming scene back at the time. If most interest is the popularity of adventure games on the system, as I might be tempted too try a few that look interesting.

    It's also already nice to know about a system, it's history, culture, developers and what was on offer.

    So really for the moment I would say only consider buying it if you were either a Mac gamer and want to read more from it's developed and maybe reminisce, or if you are fascinated with finding out about systems you never owned.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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