How to Play More Games on Your Mac: 5 Tips and Tricks

Nobody said that being a Mac gamer would be easy, but it does get a little easier with these tips.
Image credit: Tianyi Ma/Unsplash

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Deciding to get into gaming on a Mac is like going on a day hike with a few bricks in your backpack. Yeah, you can do it, but you’re going to have a more difficult time than everyone else. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

While more games come out for macOS than they used to, it’s still not as easy as popping into the App Store and downloading the new game everyone is talking about. That’s why if you’re looking to play more games on your Mac, you’re going to need to get creative about it.

1. Break Out Wine

I don’t mean “Hey, get drunk and play some video games!” Although I suppose that’s also an option, assuming you’re of legal drinking age and don’t plan to drive anywhere. Back to the point, I’m talking about the definitely not an emulator software known as Wine.

While Wine was originally developed to help Linux users run Windows software, it now does the same for macOS. It’s not going to run everything, but it’s effective enough that there are Mac versions of games that are essentially a wrapper around Wine running the Windows version of the game.

2. Use a Virtual Machine

If trying to get a game running using Wine isn’t working, you can always turn to running Windows in a virtual machine. Some options like Virtualbox are 100 percent free, but won’t offer the most performance, which means only very low-spec games will run without any issues.

That said, you can always opt for paid software like Parallels Desktop. Some games work pretty well using this method, and you’ll only need some extra hard drive space to get everything up and running.

3. Revisit the Classics

It’s no secret that macOS isn’t exactly a high priority for developers making hardware intensive PC games, or even indie games. That said, while you may not be able to play the most recent games, your options open up considerably if you decide to look back to games released in the past few decades.

While the Mac hasn’t been a major target for game developers for a long time, there are still plenty of classics you’ll be able to have a blast with. Looking for recommendations? Check out our roundup of classic Mac games that are still worth playing.

4. Use Steam In-Home Streaming

Okay, this one is sort of cheating, since the games aren’t really running on your Mac. That said, if you’ve got a powerful desktop PC in your office but want to play a few games on your MacBook Air on the couch, Steam’s in-home streaming works surprisingly well.

Even better, since streaming doesn’t rely on the power of the computer receiving the stream, only the computer actually playing the game, you don’t need a powerful Mac in order to use this method. The downside is that you’ll definitely notice the lag in some games more than others.

5. Install Windows via Bootcamp

If the previous tip was cheating, this one is really cheating. That said, if you’re serious about gaming on your Mac, your best bet is to ditch macOS, at least for when you want to game. You’ll need some extra hard drive space and an afternoon to prep your computer, but installing Windows on your Mac will make playing new games as they’re released a whole lot easier.

Thanks to Apple’s BootCamp software, installing Windows on a Mac is surprisingly easy, though you’ll need to pay for a Windows license if you don’t already have a spare one.

Looking for More Mac Games?

We’ve covered a fair amount here, but what if you’re still looking for more games without spending too much cash? Don’t worry, there are plenty of awesome free to play games out there. Just take a look at our list of the best free to play games for macOS.