In a somewhat off-topic blog today, I'd like to quickly lament the state of Macintosh gaming. I've been a Mac user for well over a decade now, and I prefer to support Mac companies for supporting the OS I'm using to blog right now. When I hear a game I'm interested in owning is going to be released for the Mac, I generally don't mind going out of my way to get the Mac version. A few extra bucks, a few extra months... I really don't have time to play the games I own now as it is.

Right now there are three games available for the Mac that I'd like to purchase. The first two are The Sims and Civilization III. The Sims I'm not sold on quite yet -- seems like one of those games that you either like or don't with no middle ground. Mac or PC, this game is still awfully expensive. With Civ3, I know I'm going to get my dough's worth, and it's a good, low-sys req game that should play fine on my iBook. No problem that it doesn't support multiplayer online on the Mac. If I want to play others online I'll get a build of FreeCiv.

The third is No One Lives Forever, and this is the one I'd like to complain about. It's been out for the PC so long it's already got it's own "Game of the Year Edition".

Now I like to buy games and other expensive toys, and do have a bit of a budget for how much I can sink into stuff like buying the REALbasic IDE or the VB.NET portion of Visual Studio.NET. To pre-order NOLF for the Mac is $50. To go to the local gaming store and pick up NOLF off the shelf is $20 with quite a bit less wait time. That's madness. Save $30 and put that towards NCAA 2003 for the Playstation 2!

Another rant along the same lines... One place even Linux gaming kicks the Mac's arse is in hardware costs. Doom 3 looks exciting enough if the mood comes out anywhere close to what's advertised that between that and the bar-raising-through-the-roof graphics I'm going to buy it even though I suck at first person shooters other than Team Fortress on Quake 1 (and even that's debatable). My iBook's not going to run Doom 3. Neither is my Celeron Win2k tower. Nor is, surprise, my old StarMax Mac clone desktop. I'm going to have to buy a new system.

To upgrade to a new Mac tower, heck even an eMac, will cost well over a thousand dollars. To purchase enough components to upgrade my PC will cost me $350 (though I'll probably need a better video card to "really" play). To make a PC from scratch and load it with Linux would cost me about $500, and I'm betting Doom 3 runs just great on that box.

Mac gaming will never be worth a rip until the games it does get at least have concurrent releases, and if the prices fall in step with the PC side. Rather, Mac gaming will continue to be more full of "character" than anything else -- Ambrosia software and some other Mac-specific games will probably be about all that interests me.

And now, back to playing a little Stuntman that I rented for $6.90 for my Playstation 2...