I need to confess a few things. First, I’m a gamer, and the Mac isn’t much for games compared to Microsoft’s Xbox. That’s OK. Xbox doesn’t run Photoshop.
Second, I have plenty of games on my Mac, but I noticed something interesting this weekend. I have maybe 10 times the number of games on my iPhone as on my Mac.
Mac Games vs. Xbox Games vs. iPhone Games
This isn’t really a contest. Some Mac games are decent and somewhat comparable to games that run on Windows PCs. But if you want solid game performance, a dedicated game system is the only way to go.
Some Mac games are decent but there is a discrepancy in price.
One of my favorite Mac and iPhone game maker is Pangea—the makers of Nanosaur, Enigmo, Bugdom, and Cro-Mag Rally—which has both Mac and iPhone games.
The experience on both is sophomoric compared to Xbox, but pleasant enough, except for the price, which, when compared to iPhone games, seems expensive. After all, some iPhone games are 99-cents, others as much as $9.99, and the good ones are a delight to play.
At least, I thought the best Mac games were expensive until I tried some that cost about the same, but left me feeling like I needed a shower. For example, Liquid Defense from Nuclear Nova.
LD is a crude version of Enigmo’s wonderful water trail gadgets. There’s some 3D, lots of 2D, and graphics straight out of a middle school art class (using the Chipmunk physics engine). LD is also cross platform, so there’s a Windows version.
Compare the screen graphics. First, Liquid Defense.
Those graphics are public school quality compared to the polish and detail available in Enigmo.
In other words, the comparison to graphics alone isn’t much of a comparison. How do the games differ in functionality, controls, and performance?
I really like Pangea’s games specifically because of the performance—Xbox they’re not, but they’re fun on the Mac. Controls are straightforward and fluid, even on my lowly and aging MacBook Pro.
Here’s what’s really different about comparing games.
Liquid Defense is $14.95 (after a recent and welcome price drop). And Enigmo 2 for Mac is $19.95. The disparity is further compounded by the excellent Enigmo 2 for iPhone and iPod touch and iPad. It’s a mere $2.99, yet the game experience is better—not just better than Liquid Defense which costs fives times as much, but better than the Mac version.
I don’t know what future direction games will go on the Mac—Mac sales continue to grow and games continue to improve (but not compete with Xbox)—but games on the iPhone are wonderful bargains in comparison to either, which only highlights the disparity between good Mac games—Enigmo 2—and wannabe games like Liquid Defense.