• Tech
  • Apple

Apple Just Gave Gamers a Huge Reason to Hope

2 minute read

Big news, Mac gamers: Metal, the codename for Apple’s pitch to one-up OpenGL in iOS, is coming to OS X, according to Apple software engineering VP Craig Federighi at this year’s WWDC. To be fair, it’s a long-expected move, but one that’s as potentially big news for gaming on a Mac as it was when Federighi unveiled the tool a year ago.

Back then, Federighi claimed Metal would dissolve most of the “thick” traditional layer between games and computing hardware, and replace it with one that offers “near bare-to-the-metal access” to Apple’s processors. Federighi called the performance difference Metal offers “stunning.”

A year later, it’s hard to gauge the impact of Metal’s existence. A glance at Apple’s iOS game store reveals pretty old-scool, non-Metal chart-toppers, from Minecraft and Plague Inc. to Terraria and Angry Birds. But in theory, and accepting Apple’s performance claims at face value, adding Metal to OS X sweetens the pot for intrepid developers looking to get more bang for their buck out of Apple’s Mac hardware.

The million dollar question, of course, is how likely Macs are to slough off decades of market share creep. Apple’s been selling Macs at record-breaking levels in recent years, it’s true, and Cupertino now consistently ranks among the top five computer vendors by brand name. But when you break those figures into meaningful operating system market share, Microsoft Windows’ high double digit percentages practically entomb OS X’s low single digits.

Will Metal for OS X woo more developmental investors? Perhaps (and speaking as a Macbook user, I can only hope so). The company’s managed to enlist powerhouse game developer Epic to pitch Metal at the API’s unveiling back in 2014, and Epic was back onstage today to trumpet the Mac announcement with a moderately impressive demo.

So Apple’s got the ballyhoo part down pat. All that’s missing? The games themselves.

The 10 Best Classic PC Games You Can Play Right Now

The Oregon Trail (1990) Nostalgia for this elementary school library favorite has never faded — probably because they’ve relaunched the game so many times. Originally released in 1971, the Internet Archive’s edition is from 1990, but don’t worry, you can still die of dysentery in it. MECC
Lemmings 2 - The Tribes (1993) A cute puzzler, the object of this game is to lead the little rodents to safety, using lemmings’ specialized digging, blasting, and building skills to navigate the landscape of each level. DMA Design Limited/Psygnosis Limited
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - The Action Game (1989) This 1989 title was a Holy Grail for gamers, because it gave them control of Indiana Jones, one of the 80's coolest characters.Tiertex Ltd./LucasArts, U.S. Gold Ltd.
Wolfenstein 3D (1992) The precursor to Doom, Quake, and many of the gore-fests roaring across consoles today, this 1992 first-person shooter has you, as allied spy B.J. Blazkowicz, racing to escape the Nazi's clutches.id Software, Inc./Apogee Software, Ltd.
4D Prince of Persia (1994) Children of the 1990s will fondly recall this run-and-jump platformer as a top-notch adventure game, with great graphics and gameplay — and it has infinite lives. Score! Brøderbund/Terebilov KA
Leisure Suit Larry 1 - Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987) Tame by today’s standards, this 8-bit, adult-oriented title was the Grand Theft Auto of its time, following the exploits of Larry Laffer as he strolls the city of Lost Wages, looking for love. Sierra On-Line, Inc.
Dungeons & Dragons - Eye of The Beholder (1991) Roll the dice in this 1991 Dungeons & Dragons role playing game — there’s nothing like the nostalgia of being a chaotic good paladin roaming the dark passages beneath the city of Waterdeep.Westwood Associates/Strategic Simulations, Inc.
The Hobbit (1983) Open door. Go East. Enjoy game. If you want to go really old school, you can turn the graphics off in this text-based game, guiding Bilbo through Middle Earth using only your imagination as your eyes. Milbus Software
BurgerTime (1982) Guide Peter Pepper in this hamburger-assembling action game, as he tries to build the biggest mouthfuls while being chased by enemy eggs and pickles and hot dogs.Data East Corporation/Mattel Electronics
Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego (1985) This educational title rocked elementary school kids’ worlds back in the 1980s, putting their geography and history smarts to the test. (How would you do with it, today?) Perhaps the best part of this browser version is its throwback sound effects.Bro/derbund Software, Inc.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com