At the Missouri School of Journalism, there is one important right of passage you must make. You must — YOU MUST — purchase a MacBook Pro. They require you to have one because Adobe works better there and it has video editing software. You know, journalism-y reasons.
You can buy the bundle from the school store with the embroidered bag and printer that will only function for the first half of the year and then start making noises in the middle of the night. You can buy it from the Apple store. You can get it from the probably-existent Mac black market. Your method matters not.
You will get your MacBook, and you will cover it in stickers, and you will purchase the trial version of Photoshop because the school makes you. You will get a cool cover or a sleeve. You will take pictures on PhotoBooth because this is grandfather of selfies, and you just don’t know it yet. You will be one with your MacBook, and it will be one with you.
And this is all fun and games until you realize THERE ARE NO GAMES.
Here I was on a wonderfully dull Tuesday night. I was ready to work. I was ready to watch The Bachelorette and push off said work. I was ready to fall asleep during The Bachelorette and have to do my work at 2 a.m. The usual. The Fangirl editors told me that I was to review We Happy Few, a sadistic-looking new survival-horror game that’s out for early access on Steam. I was excited. I’ve never reviewed a game immediately upon release before. I felt important and cool. Journalism is sweet!
However, when I loaded up my Steam page, I saw that the game is only available for PCs. I became the GIF of Joseph Gordon Levitt smashing a plate repeatedly. For the uninitiated:
This is something that I have learned is not true, at least to gamers and engineers and people who do things that aren’t discussing the formatting of longform narrative stories. But I still couldn’t understand why. I had been down this road before, and time and time again I have forgotten the heartbreak it’s caused me. Just a month or two ago, I purchased RollerCoaster Tycoon, and I couldn’t play it all because of my stupid Mac. I was outraged, and I was reminded of a time I did something stupid and that made me even more outraged.
MacBook users are people too, OK?
It was now my duty to understand why this was happening. I had to go to unspeakable places, AKA technology forums, to uncover the truth. Here, in layman’s terms, is what I have learned.
Macs are not powerful enough
According to Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, Macs are weak AF. They can’t handle the graphics or the high-end processing. GPU, or graphic processing units, are mucho dinero, and there are apparently not enough in the world to make a Mac sufficient.
(Baloney. Absolute garbage. How dare you talk about my baby that way. Let’s also take into account that ~*virtual reality*~ games probably require a lot more than the average computer game as well. Who does this guy think he is?)
Macs are built for people like me
I like Twitter, using Word and making pretty things. I want my unplugged computer to last until my next birthday, and I want it to run without a problem or viruses.
It usually does this, and that’s a great thing because ctrl-alt-del isn’t a viable option. My Mac made it five whole years before I had any problems, and I think that’s beautiful. This is not the kind of function you need for computer games, and the Mac presumably sacrifices power for longevity. Whatever. We all have our priorities.
Development is a thing
According to smart people on the Internet, Windows’ DirectX is a common framework for games, and why fix something that’s not broken? It works better with graphics programs, and most codebases are already written for it. OpenGL, the Mac framework, is not as powerful.
In addition, computer users are widely more team PC, so developers prioritize the larger market. Because of the extra work in converting codes, using different frameworks and more, Mac game development can be more expensive and time-consuming. This directly relates the fact the Macs in general can be more expensive and are thus less likely to be used for gaming anyways. PCs can be built for cheaper than some Macs cost and can contain all the hardware necessary for hardcore, high-performance gaming.
This all seems like pretty common sense when you think about it, I guess. At the same time, it’s hard to imagine how the computer that’s gotten me through six years of everything you can imagine couldn’t handle just a couple hours of some theme park building without sputtering itself into an eventual death spiral. If I can make Final Cut Pro function, why can’t I build roller coasters?
It pains to me to admit that I did eventually try downloading Windows to my Mac just for the purpose of gaming. A student of mine has done it on multiple school computers, and it seemed simple enough. I was, of course, incredibly wrong about this and immediately aborted that mission when my Mac started to sound like it was preparing for lift off in five. I shall never try to poison my MacBook like that again. I have lost its trust, and now I must gain it back by singing to it in the voice of Steve Jobs every night.
In the meantime, until I am given equal gaming opportunities, I will sulk in my room in the dark and play shitty MahJongg games from the app store. Nobody look at me.