Mac (Metal?) Gaming

So, being the owner of a shiny new M1 Pro Mac, I’ve basically not used my PC(s) pretty much at all due to the Mac screen just being incredible, the total silence 99% of the time, etc. It’s the first Mac I feel might just hit that “Desktop replacement” niche.

Given the happiness with the situation, I’m going to see if I can wean myself off of PC gaming, with a view to ditching intel/amd hardware entirely.

Which means… gaming on Mac. And primarily games optimised for Apple Silicon + Metal as a priority, but anything that runs well in macOS also.

Given Windows is not an option, my game sources are likely limited to the following:

  • Mac app store / select iOS games on the Mac
  • Apple Arcade
  • GOG
  • Steam’s Mac selection

possibly, since Wine 6.01 onward supports it (I believe?)

  • Wine on Apple Silicon emulating x64 Windows.

So given those are the likely restrictions, if you find something that works well I those conditions, post it up!

My first things I’ve been playing a bit on the Mac so far are:

  • Divinity Original Sin 2 - works very well either on the native display or plugged in. Can get zero fan noise if you select “low power mode” with essentially zero noticeable performance loss
  • TetrisBeat - believe its an iOS game, but runs well and good for quick breaks


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So Ive been wondering if Proton works with almost of the games as well as in Linux or is it a different kind of hit and miss?

Proton is a linux thing, doesn’t have any bearing on Mac if I’m not mistaken.

I did try briefly to install WINE yesterday from home-brew and it wouldn’t run due to CPU problem. But I think development version might or there’s some other workaround to get it to run. I’m pretty sure WINE on M1-X is possible, but very new.

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So far, tested games:

Divinity Original Sin 2: Runs pretty flawlessly
Baldurs Gate 1 enhanced (from steam) - flawlessly
Ultima 7 from GOG: runs flawlessly
Diablo 3: runs flawlessly
Baldurs Gate 3 hoffix 18: crash on resume PC campaign with 4k display attached

BG3 works OK if I don’t try and continue my PC game. I did get some sync errors prior to trying that so maybe related. new game works fine. Runs well.

I see you are a man of culture as well…

Oh the memories of that game… warms my heart and takes me to a truly special place. I was hard AF to run since i was in Win95 at the time.

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Excuse the flash from my iPhone but… no fan noise doing this:

10 core CPU, 16 core GPU.

The machine is dead silent. No coil whine like my 6900XT :smiley:

This sort of thing is REALLY showing up the pc laptop market… sound is from built in speakers.


Still BG3 a few minutes in, volume turned off - Still no fan noise; if you can hear anything its the (idle, fully SSD, liquid cooled) desktop PC next to it…

Just noticed. That BG3 stuff was running on low power mode :smiley:

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Wing Commander 2 (GOG) - works just fine including bluetooth pairing to Xbox X controller - which is more than can be said of the bluetooth pairing of said controller to my PC.

Disclaimer: I don’t game a lot, I may be a filthy casual but I’m a filthy casual who does like to unwind and play games with friends

macOS can run:

  • Supported Windows games using CrossOver Mac (I suggest this over Wine/Proton despite it being practically made of the same metals underneath, as CrossOver has the necessary entitlements and logic to run 32-bit code in 64-bit environments, albeit via Rosetta in your case)

    A lot of 64-bit games still rely on 32-bit (Windows) libraries and my experience with “pure 64-bit Wine with no 32-bit anything” has been far from promising because even relatively recent games rely on such libraries.

    This video of a user playing TF2 on the M1 is what sold me on this premise.

  • Nintendo GameCube and Wii games using Dolphin though you will need to source copies of the games you want from the Internet Archive and depending on your jurisdiction, this may not be strictly speaking… permitted. Same thing applies for the original Xbox with Xemu.

  • There’s a database of games that may or may not use Rosetta but are either classified as M1 ready (or not), here you go!

  • If you’re into retro fighting games then, Fightcade works alright

  • iOS games from the App Store but I don’t know how well that translates from a user experience standpoint

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OpenEMU is basically a wrapper like Retroarch but nicer… I have PS1, NES and Saturn running on it at the moment, just need to install the relevant BIOSes

But yeah, there is PLENTY of gaming possible on Mac, just not so much “AAA” high end 3d stuff. Most of which is trash (gameplay wise) anyway if I’m honest.

Yeah… I can’t argue with you on that.

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So, Fantasian (Apple Arcade) is actually pretty good.

Just lost… several hours (in one go) in it, its cross platform iOS/iPadOS/macOS.

Kinda like Final Fantasy VII, etc.

Simple controls, but it plays well, looks nice and sounds great (the audio is seriously, seriously good). If you’re into JRPGs of old, definitely give it a shot.

State of OpenGL and Vulkan on macOS

It appears that OpenGL, which documentation is quick to note has been deprecated since OSX/macOS 10.14, is still present on M1 macs, as a layer atop Metal,

I cannot find much information about this, but it appears to be separate from the commercial Metal→OpenGL layer, MoltenGL.

The company making MoltenGL also made a commercial Metal→Vulkan layer, MoltenVK, which was later made open source, partly through Valve’s involvement,

Yeah, openGL is still present, but has not had any improvement and does not track new versions of the standard for about a decade at this point…

(15 year Mac user here, but others who read this thread may not be aware)