Apple Arcade

As a quick follow-up to my last post, I’d like to point out that MacOS and iOS both have the new Apple Arcade subscription.

Apple Arcade doesn’t have any AAA titles. Blockbusters.

It’s not exciting. These subscriptions include a boatload of games, but nothing big and exciting. Nobody talks about these games. Imagine if Netflix had all the shows it did but none ever became popular and attracted people to the service for it.

For a computer system like the Mac, Apple Arcade doesn’t seem compelling. It looks and feels like you’re subscribing to be able to play a bunch of mini games.

This may be ‘OK’ for iOS devices… but not for the Mac. Not as a way to save the situation described in my previous post.

Mac vs. PC (gaming and VR)

Gaming on desktop computers is still important. My two sons love playing games on our desktop computers. They both started with MacOS. They both were using MacOS on iMacs.

But a year ago, one of them asked to install Windows. I bought a copy of Windows and we installed it. Because of games. He has never since loaded MacOS again. His next computer will be a Windows PC. His favorite game just recently announced dropping support for the Mac. Now I can’t play it (I love my MacBook Pro and my desktop setup with it, I have so far refused to dual boot Windows or get a second computer, a PC).

My other son also installed Windows on his iMac recently. But then wanted to switch to a laptop. We sold the iMac and bought an Alienware laptop. The MacBook Pro was completely and utterly wrong for this purpose. The 144hz display on the Alienware is amazing for games.

I don’t think these two will ever go back to MacOS the way things are.

The state of gaming on the Mac is dismal right now. Here are some facts. Some are old news, some are new:

  • Steam is a great game platform many people use. It supports the Mac.
  • Steam just today dropped VR support on MacOS.
  • With the latest MacOS, Catalina, many Steam games no longer work. Most of the games I bought for my Mac no longer work. Most likely this is the same reason new game software doesn’t support the Mac.
  • If Macs move to Apple chips, that’s not going to help at all. Nail in the coffin?
  • Overwatch by Blizzard, MTG Arena, and many other cool titles don’t work on MacOS.
  • The MacOS App Store doesn’t have what people want. Game developers just find it to be too much trouble, or the system access is too restricted, or the “deal” is just not good enough on the App Store. So the good stuff isn’t on MacOS.
  • Apple claims iMacs are great for VR. Steam just today dropped VR support on MacOS.
  • Macs don’t support things like greater than 60hz displays, even now.
  • There are at least 3 big MMORPG games that support Mac still, at least there’s that. World of Warcraft (Blizzard) has the money to convert their game to “Metal” (the API for using Mac/MacOS hardware graphics to get the most out of the machine) but who else has that kind of time and money? Apparently not many.

Apple may have been thinking they have so many iOS developers that can now make games for the Mac. But the gaming world does not revolve around iOS.

Apple doesn’t seem to be doing “whatever it takes” to make MacOS great for game developers to support. Perhaps this is “niche”, and they don’t care so much. Perhaps they think the iPad is the future of computers. I doubt that. But something’s wrong then.

It looks like, if I want to play “computer games” (not console, not iPhone), I will have to switch to using a Windows PC. My options are getting more limited every month, it seems.

Mount Neverest

In the late 1980s I wrote my first BBS game, a multi-player mountain climbing game. While rummaging through old files I found the player’s manual. Maybe someday I will redesign it into some kind of MMO. Posting the manual here so I don’t forget.

                                   /\^
  Player's Manual                ^/   \^
  Revision III           ^/\    /       \
  Sept. 8, 1990         /   \/\/   ^     \
                      ^/         ^        \ /\
                     /   ^                 \^\^\
                  ^^                 ^          \      By Odi Kosmatos
                ^/                               \^    [Sledge Hammer]
               /     M O U N T   N E V E R E S T   \
              /                                     \^
             /   ^     Version 7.50     ^             \
            ^   o       ^               o     ^        \
   /\      /   /\                      /|>        ^     \      /\^ 
/\/  \/\/\/   />                        /\               \/\/\/  \/\/\/\/\
 
 
Introduction:
-------------
 
Mount Neverest is a multi-player online game. This means that you play
this game against other people. You actually interact with them even though
they do not play at the same time. Rather, you take turns, playing from
day to day, trying to become the most powerful player. The object of the game is
to try to get to the top of Mount Neverest.

Once at the top, you will be in a very powerful position, with many spells
available to you. You will be like a "God" and will enjoy having special
control over the other players. But to get to the top, you will have to fight,
sabotage, confuse and crush other player(s). But do not think that being at
the top is being all-powerful. There is treachery within treachery in this
game and you might find yourself destroyed if you are not careful. Being 
careful, you will enjoy being powerful.

How to play:
------------

    When you first enter the game, you start off being relatively weak.
You have a few magic points, and a few life points, and your height is 0,
which means you are at the bottom of this 121,000ft-high mountain. Life
points are mainly how much physical strength you have left, and they are
a measure of how much you can climb. 1 life point means you can climb
up to 1 foot up. But climbing has its risks. Life points are also useful
for other things. You can do various "moves" with life points. Things such
as climbing, throwing ropes and rocks, searching for things, attacking
others physically and some other special things. The different moves you
can do (depending on your height) are listed to you in the game when
you type "HELP" (or "?").

    Magic points are  where the strategy comes in. The more magic points
you  have, the more powerful you are. With magic, you can use spells. When
you start the game, you know only one or two spells, one of them is called
CREATORIS. This lets you get more life, so you can climb. But as you get
higher and higher, when you type "HELP", you will find out that you know
more and more powerful spells, like fighting spells, power spells, and all
sorts of the most ingenious spells to confuse other players. So when you
start playing Mount Neverest, you will only be trying to climb up a bit
using the CLIMB move and the CREATORIS spell, until other possibilities
arise.

     At the writing of this player's manual, there were 34 different spells
you can cast when you are very high up. And about 16 different "moves".
The mysterious thing is that this player's manual does not tell you what
each spell can do! It is up to you to either 1) Try each spell and see what
it does, or 2) Pay the oracle and see if he gives you hints or 3) Try the
special "move" which explains each and every spell. (Again, this document
will not reveal which "move" that is.).

    In this game, there is a built-in E-Mail system. To send mail to another
player, you use the PIGEON spell, if you are high enough. And to read your
incoming mail, you use the READ MAIL "move". Spells take up magic, and
"moves" take up life.

    To make this game seem more realistic, or more like the others are
playing at the same time, your player has a "memory" which remembers any
special things that have happened to you since you last played. To see the
things that happened to you, use the READ MIND spell, if you have it.

    And remember, there is treachery within treachery within treachery!
 
Pitfalls:
---------

    Now, dont think things are going to be that easy, even if you are the
best player of them all! On the planet where Mount Neverest is, there is
a super-God called the Sky-Lord. He doesnt like to make things easy so each
player will have to pass 4 initiations by the time they get to the top!

    You will probably have to pass your 1st initiation by the time you
reach 50,000 feet high. (Good players, from the start, will reach that
height in about 4-8 days. Teamwork can help a lot, also). Be prepared
for your initiations and make sure you pay close attention and think
wisely! Examine the minute details during your initiation.

ELEMENTALS:
-----------

    To help you in your quest to the top, spells have been provided so
that you can summon various Elementals. These mystical creatures have
special powers, and when they are with you they can do various things
which will help you a lot. There are about 6 elementals. It is up to you
to find out what each one does and which one you need. It doesnt take
a relatively large amount of magic to summon one. But if someday you find
it is gone... Treachery should be the first thing to come to mind. Read
the journal, it helps a lot to find your ennemies.

AMULETS:
--------

    Many of you may not notice, but there are 4 amulets which can
be found in the game. (4 distinct  amulets of which  no two players  
can have one at  the same time) which will make  their holders very
powerful. A player may be given an Amulet from  the Sky-Lord all of 
a sudden when you enter the game. Or, you can resort to treachery.
Each one of the 4 amulets gives you a specific power which can either
be very helpful to you, or destructive to others. Good luck.

DRAGONS:
--------

    Beware of dragons! But if you do meet one, be prepared for a nice 
graphical picture of the dragon and of you. The pictures will change as
things get heated up in your confrontation. It is an enjoyable thing to
see, once. Dont expect to meet it in your first week of play, unless you
play really well.

MYSTIC DIAL:
------------

    Following the true spirit of this game, I will  only give the
slightest  of  hints, and let you  find out the rest. DON'T let the 
mystic dial reach 100%!

The daily journal and Score files:
----------------------------------

    This game automatically produces a daily journal for you to see what
the major events of the day, and yesterday were. The system operator
of your BBS should make it available for players to read.
 
    The scores file shows the ranks and power-levels of all the players,
and where you stand in the game. (If you play, that is.)

It's up to you:
---------------

    These instructions do not reveal  the spells  you will know when
you climb higher, its up to you to figure out what they do. That is the
true  spirit  of this  game. There are many  hidden things and  ways of 
being "all powerful" (in the eyes of your opponents) -- go and find them  

    So go ahead and play this wonderful game, you will definitely
have lots of fun when people start discovering the possibilities of this
game.

Have fun,
Odi Kosmatos

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Please note that the sysop can chat with you when you are playing, so if
you have trouble with the game and the sysop notices, don't be surprised if
all of a sudden he/she drops into chat mode with you. (sysop presses F1)

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Copyright 1989 Odi Kosmatos