The State of Mac Gaming

    I’m no gamer.

    I’m a geek. I spend most of my days writing PHP, or blogging / reading blogs, or wasting time on <insert favorite socnet site here>.

    I spend the odd night once or maybe twice a month playing with a friend’s game console, or maybe with a little time waster game on my Mac, but that’s the extent of my game mania.

    All of this is just as well, it seems, as the state of gaming on the Mac just never seems to improve. This was brought to my attention today, as I received a lovely birthday gift from my kids: a $150 gift card from.. Well, we’ll just call them SurlyPCSnobGameStore. I was stoked. Especially when I found out that there was a new local branch of SurlyPCSnobGameStore right here in our little suburb of Sydney. Sweet. Off me and the wife and kids went to spend my happy little piece of plastic.

    I admit, I was a little worried right off the bat. Way, way back in my pre-professional-geek history — let’s call these my “joe job” years — I worked for a retail software chain back in the US that bears a lot of similarities to SurlyPCSnobGameStore (their stores are branded in outlandish purple, hint hint). In those days, if you came into our store asking for Mac games we didn’t even try not to laugh at you. In fact, we used to get the guy from the Arby’s across the concourse to come over and help us laugh at you. It was a niche market that we didn’t care about and didn’t want to know about. We couldn’t imagine anyone gaming on a Mac.

    It’s good to know that in these times of upheaval and rampant change that somethings still hold true: Gamers think Mac users are weenies.

    Because I’m a big wussy, and because I knew what I would be in for the instant I spoke to the little GameMonkeyBoy behind the counter I couldn’t bring myself to even ask questions about Mac software. I didn’t want to give the little bastard the satisfaction, or, worse, wind up ranting incoherently about his lack of knowledge / care factor with regards to Mac software. Because they love me, however, my family were willing to take the bullet for me. “So. Do you have <awesome game for Brad> on the Mac?”, my youngest, a fellow Mac user, kindly asked of GameMonkeyBoy. The inevitable response came, “No. It hasn’t been released”. I really did try to hold my tongue, but my sense of disbelief and anger prevailed. “Of course it has, we know someone who owns it, it’s been out for nearly a year!”, I bravely intoned, poking my head out from behind the shelves I’d been cowering behind carefully studying. I instantly flushed with shame. Not only had I outed myself as a Mac weenie, I’d given into the temptation to enter combat with an unarmed man. Most dishonorable.

    The trip ended fairly quickly after that. I considered a couple of non-platform options (mice, etc), but really wanted to get the hell out of there and return to the safety of the SurlyPCSnobGameStore website where I could surreptitiously find something Mac-Compatible and then go to the retail outlet armed with the knowledge of what exactly I can expect.

    Unfortunately for me, this exercise has proven equally futile. They sell damn near every bit of game gear and game software imaginable, as long as it’s not Mac compatible. It’s like a bizarro world where Mac’s were never invented, and you need a Windows machine, a gaming console, a frontal lobotomy, or preferably all three in order to play video games.

    Seriously. WTF.

    We’re not talking about talking about some mom-and-pop operation here, either. This is “Australia and New Zealands largest video game retailer. With over 250 stores located throughout Australia and over 30 in New Zealand”. To quote their “About” page. They’re owned by a large American company by the same name. These guys, Jobs help us, are the pros. Shocking.

    I’m still looking at their site, hoping desperately to find something, mainly for the sake of my lovely children who have already shelled out for the non-transferable gift card which I don’t want them to think is useless. I’m sure I can reach some compromise with these people. I really could use a new mouse. It pains me to think, though, that in the nearly fifteen years since I left the purple software retailer of death that things have failed to move forward at all. I admit, I’m not terribly well-informed on the topic. As I said, I don’t game. I’m hoping you, dear readers, can help bring some sense to the situation. Convince me this is an isolated incident, console me with similar stories so that I know I’m not alone, or, just send me a windows machine, an xbox and a long piece of wire coat hanger to shove up my nose.. Surely therein lies the road to gaming happiness.