Lame Duck Crossover: Is it worth it?

    The President of Codeweavers, the makers of Crossover for the Mac, gave President George W. Bush a challenge to complete one of ten goals during the rest of his Lame Duck presidency. One of the goals set was for gas to hit $2.80 a gallon. Guess what happened. The price hit $2.79 in St. Paul, Minnesota. So, Jon Parshall lived up his end of the bargain and gave away Crossover for the Mac on October 28, 2008. He gave away one serial for Crossover, per person. I was one of those who opted for the free copy to try it out.

    I installed it and gave it a go. It’s not a bad program. The basic idea of Crossover is to have the ability to run windows applications without the need for an entire Virtual Machine environment. So, being a gamer, I thought I’d try one of the thing that I miss the most from the Mac: Steam.

    Crossover did install Steam from Valve, when I asked to do so, but there are a few things that aren’t working like they should.

    I installed Steam, and played it for a while and it worked, and I did get up to part 4 in Half-Life (the part where you end up fighting the army) before I had to shut it down.

    Gamers, as I’m sure most of you might know, get an itch to play the games that they want. I had this itch to continue blowing the crap out of the military soldiers and continuing my quest within Black Mesa. Trying to scratch this itch I went to load steam up again today, and to my horror and sheer disappointment, all of the installs I had done, are now gone. I haven’t changed anything nor have I deleted anything from my hard drive, so I don’t know why the hell it would do that.

    This irked me beyond most other things. Not for the fact that the time I spent went to nothing, but that when I attempted to redo what got deleted and Crossover will no longer install any software. I can no longer manage any ‘bottles’ (basically containers that hold the basic Windows software that the program will need). Quitting the program and restarting doesn’t help, neither does rebooting the entire computer.

    As much as I would like to be able to recommend Crossover, I cannot. As well as deleting my hard work, gaming with the application is unbearably slow, when it does work, not in terms of just load times, but in terms of the game freezing every 30 seconds or so, for 5 to 10 seconds. This is just unacceptable, and if any other Mac App would do this, nobody would tolerate it.

    If you need to load office it might work, but my focus was on gaming and getting some of the Windows based games to work so I can further amortize the investment made in these games since before my switch to the Apple platform.

    The software did come with a free year of support, but I do not think I will be renewing it when the time comes next year. I’d recommend sticking with Parallels, VMWare Fusion, or Virtual Box to run the games. I can fully understand if the game was something like Crysis or anything from within the last 18 months, but this is the original Half-Life, and it will not work. Again, either run A Virtual Machine program, or run Windows (if you have to) in boot camp.

    I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.