How to Play Games on a Mac in 2019

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller from Sony with a MacBookPeter Kotoff / Shutterstock.com

Do you think having a Mac means you can not play games? Think again. The Mac game ecosystem is robust. From brand new versions to retro classics and even exclusively Windows titles; there is a lot of fun to have on a Mac.

Why should you (probably) not use the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store is full of games. These include big budget releases of $ 60 like Civilization VI, short independent experiences like Without Oxen, and the kind of casual games you find on the iPhone as Donut County. To browse the catalog, open the Mac App Store app, and then click the "Read" tab in the sidebar.

Unfortunately, the Mac App Store is not always the best place to buy your games. It's often more expensive than other showcases and it suffers from an insufficient number of new versions and a lack of criticism on many articles because of a relatively weak sponsorship.

Civilization VI on the Mac App Store

Multiplayer games, in particular, have always had problems on the Mac App Store. id Software has chosen to completely cut the multiplayer mode of its shooting game RAGE 2011 when it was released, and the game has since disappeared from the platform. Gearbox Software's Borderlands has been released on the Mac App Store with replayed multiplayer support to support Apple's own Game Center APIs. The game has also disappeared from the service.

Contrast this with Steam, which has many more Windows, Linux and Mac drives with full cross-game support. Apple has abandoned the Game Center stand-alone application in 2016, but the service remains an optional feature that developers can implement. It is unclear whether Apple still requires multiplayer games to use its own APIs, but most multiplayer games completely ignore the App Store.

With the expected arrival of Apple's porting of iOS applications on the macOS platform sometime in 2019, we could see many more iOS experiences coming to the Mac App Store. It will make it easier for developers to transfer their games to Mac, but you will probably be better off playing these games on an iPhone or iPad.

The next subscription game service from Apple Apple Arcade will also be Mac compatible. The service, launched in the fall of 2019 on the App Store, promises an ad-free experience and cross-play between Mac, iOS and Apple TV. At launch, Apple Arcade will be a new attempt to "Netflix for games" service, the main thing is to focus exclusively on Apple devices.

Get Steam games, GOG and other stores

If you want the latest big budget releases, especially multiplayer games, you'll have to turn to a third-party showcase such as Steam. Valve's distribution service has been the king of digital game downloads for more than 10 years and has more users than any other gaming service.

With the arrival of Linux-based SteamOS in 2013, new developers turned to the cross-platform game to target the Mac right out of their software. This means that the service has more Mac games than ever, including early access versions. Early Access games allow you to buy the game in advance and play draft versions, helping small studios and helping to guide game development.

Steam is a showcase where buying a game on a platform allows you to play it on any platform. If you have Windows games in your library that have received Mac (or Linux) support, you can download and play them at no additional charge. At the time of writing this article, Steam has about 9700 Mac games.

Browse macOS games on Steam

the Epic Games Store is a controversial but growing competitor of Steam. With a more generous revenue distribution (88% of the revenue going to developers (against 70% on Steam and Mac App Store), the service has managed to attract prestigious exclusives since its launch in early 2019. There is already a Mac version of Epic Games Store, even if the platform support is slim, apart from obvious successes like Fortnite, but you can play Fortnite on a Mac.

If you wish to play Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft, Diablo III or StarCraft II, you must use the Battle.net launcher. Blizzard was one of the first major publishers to take the Mac seriously as a platform for their games, although the hit of 2014, Overwatch, unfortunately never received a Mac port.

Good Old Games, also known as GOG, is an alternative showcase focused on classic games. The service also sees new versions, but the real benefit of using GOG is the ability to play old games on modern platforms. Many old games have been fixed to work on the latest versions of macOS and many others. In general, most older DOS are Mac compatible (thanks to the Multiplatform DOSBox), while most "golden age" Windows titles published in the late 90s and early 2000s are not.

You can also play Windows games on your Mac

You can use three methods to play a Windows game on a Mac: WINE, Boot Camp and Virtualization.

If you want to play Windows games with as few problems as possible, Boot Camp is the best choice. Virtual machines can work well for older games but lack the performance needed to play modern titles. WINE, which runs Windows games on macOS, is very risky – even when it works, you may experience bugs and strange behavior – but it may be worth taking a picture depending on what you are trying to play.

Play Windows games using WINE

Compatibility layer SOME WINE (which means "Wine is not an emulator") is designed to make sure that Windows games and applications run on Linux and Mac computers. You can use WineHQ to check the status of specific games. Learn more about using WINE to run Windows programs on a Mac.

Sometimes wine alone is not enough, so projects like Outraged to exist. Wineskin helps create "wrappers" that tell WINE how to best manage specific applications. You can download prepared wrappers or create your own to share with the community. Other similar projects focused solely on games are Carrying kit and PlayOnMac. All of these projects are free to use and community-based. There is a premium project called crossing, which has a free trial that you can use to evaluate it.

Age of Empires II Playable Status on WineHQ

Wine is a mixed bag. Some games work well; others fail to get started at all. Sometimes it takes a lot of extra work for something to work, especially if you have to create an envelope yourself. WINE can be used to play old and new games, with similar mixed results. This is a good starting point, but be prepared to deal with bizarre behaviors, blockages and blank screens.

Play Windows Games in Native Mode with the help of Boot Camp

You can also enjoy Windows games natively on a Mac. To do this, you can install Windows on your Mac's hard drive using Boot Camp. This effectively turns your Mac into a Windows PC and you will need to restart Windows every time you want to play a game. The main advantage of using Boot Camp is the improved performance because no software third parties interpose between you and your game. Learn to install Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp.

Play Windows games using a virtual machine

Finally, there is an additional option to use a virtual machine. This is a mismatch between the two previous methods. It works best for older Windows games, which do not require high-end hardware. By running a virtual machine on your Mac, you are effectively running Windows from macOS. This means that you will need to share the available resources (processing power, RAM, etc.) between the two operating systems.

The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to use the free virtualization tool. VirtualBox. There are premium virtual machines that typically offer more support and better features such as The parallels and VMWare. By taking this route, you will avoid the compatibility problems encountered while using WINE, but you will lose raw power through native Windows runtime.

Play retro games with Sourceports

If you want to play older games, try the source ports. A source port is a rebuild of an open game engine. Many engines have become open source over the years, including idTech 1 (Doom), idTech 4 and the compilation engine (Duke Nukem 3D). The result is an arsenal of open source engines improved over time. These can be used to read classic titles on modern hardware, regardless of the operating system used.

eDuke32 Launcher to play Duke Nukem 3D

There is however a warning. Although many engines are released under an open source license, most game resources are not. This means that you must provide your own original resources from legally purchased versions of the game. These can come from the original game mounts or re-releases found on services such as GOG. Before you can play, most source ports require that you copy a few files to the correct directory.

Some of the best Mac compatible source ports include:

Duke Nukem 3D on modern macOS via eDuke32

Source ports are not only a great way to relive some of the best games ever created, but they also bring improvements. Many source ports include new rendering engines, widescreen support, and back-end enhancements that bring new projects to life. Check out some of the best games that rely on currently available source ports.

Play old games with an emulation on a Mac

Emulators are another great way to play games on your Mac, even if they exist legal gray area. Even if the emulators themselves are not illegal, you must buy games (ROMs) that you do not own. Many jurisdictions allow you to create and read software backups (ROMs) as long as you have the original support.

Several OpenEmu video game console emulation systems for macOSopenemu.org

One of the best emulators available for Mac in terms of usability is OpenEmu. This emulator supports a wide variety of systems, including NES, SNES, Game Boy, N64 and DS from Nintendo; Sega Master System, Genesis, CD, Saturn, Game Gear and PSP; the Atari 2600 to Lynx, PC Engine and NeoGeo Pocket. There are also more obscure entries like Vectrex, WonderSwan and Virtual Boy.

DOSBox is an emulator that lets you play pretty much any game written for MS-DOS on your Mac. DOSBox requires a working knowledge of DOS, which is the ability to bind folders, edit directories, and launch executables. If you do not like command line prompts too much, Mac app Boxer automates just about every aspect of DOSBox and will even import artwork and display your games on a virtual shelf.

Install a DOS game on modern macOS with Boxer

If you're looking for more emulators and ROMs, check out The old school emulation center on Internet Archive. They have tens of thousands of ROMs available for all kinds of systems, some of which can even be read in your browser.

RELATED: Is retro video game ROM download still legal?

Control the action

If you want to play games on your Mac, you might want a controller or a mouse and a gaming keyboard. Fortunately, no matter what controller you have, it will probably work well. Most generic USB devices work perfectly on the Mac, allowing you to link button presses to the actions of your favorite source games and ports. Free application Pleasant Allows you to map the keys and the mouse input to a controller, if you need it.

Some popular controllers that you can use with your Mac are:

Sony DualShock 4 Controllerplaystation.com

Most USB mice and keyboards also work on a Mac, even if they have a Windows key layout. Device manufacturers will indicate Mac support on the box or their websites, so always check before you buy. You can fully customize the behavior of any Mac keyboard, including remapping the entire layout, using the free app. Carabiner elements.

More Mac games are available than ever

The game scene on Mac is relatively healthy in 2019. Although the platform is not yet widely targeted by most AAA large budget versions, the number of independent developers building their games with cross-platform versions to the mind has grown considerably.

Windows remains the dominant gaming platform outside of the consoles, but the number of new games on Mac is more important than ever. With the release of Apple Arcade in autumn 2019, you will even find exclusive titles that can be run on a Mac but not on a Windows PC.

Even if you can not use the latest and greatest games on your Mac, you can still turn to old gold games with emulation and source ports.

And, unlike Windows, you do not need to update the graphics drivers for your Mac. They are directly integrated with macOS, just update your Mac.

What about the streaming game?

The future is exciting announcement too. With games streaming services Like Google's Stadia and Microsoft's xCloud on the horizon, you'll soon be able to play the latest PC games on any Mac with excellent performance, provided you have a good internet connection.

If you are interested in this technology, you can try Shadow to get a remote Windows gaming PC and broadcast games from today.

RELATED: Streaming Review of the Shadow Game: Powerful Niche Service, But Skip the Hardware

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