For all the Apple evangelism, Macs have never been known for their gaming prowess. Yesterday, though, OS X users got their first taste of Steam – a prized foothold in gaming. Why’s that important? Well, it’s complicated, but…
It’s a community
Gamers love to shoot people, but they also have a caring, sharing side. That’s where Steam comes in. It’s a community for gamers to share tips, find online gaming buddies and chat.
It’s a shop
If all that community stuff sounded a bit cuddly, there’s a business part, too. Steam also operates as a game download store (a sort of iTunes for gamers, if you like). It’s not as evil as all that, though – there are automatic updates, demos, discounts and freebies galore.
Steam is part of Valve, the developer behind some of the best games ever made. Like what? Left 4 Dead, Half-Life and Counter-Strike to name a few. Remember those freebies we mentioned? Portal is free (for Mac or PC) until May 24. And fret not – there are catalogues from all the other big game publishers, too.
The Mac version is proper
Valve has reworked Steam from the ground up to optimise it for Macs. Some of it still feels a bit PC-like, but Rome wasn’t pwned in a day. Gamers are reporting smoothly running games on their Macs. There’s the odd glitch, too, but that’s to be expected on any early build.
So long as you’re running OS X Leopard (10.5.8) or Snow Leopard (10.6.3), you can download Steam for Mac now from the store. You’ll need 1GB of free space on your HDD, and the Valve guys recommend a two-button mouse. Also, did we mention it’s free?