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20 games you need to play on your Mac

Computer gaming and Mac computers haven’t always been on the best of terms. Many believe the optimal PC gaming experience comes via a Windows-based machine and won’t waste their time shelling out the dough for a Mac. The argument usually begins — and sometimes ends — at a Mac’s stock specifications for proper computer gaming.

Whether the specifications of a Mac pale in comparison to a gaming PCs, the market for gaming on an Apple computer still exists among many of its users. Recently, more A-list games have become available for play via Mac, pleasing hoards of Apple-loyal gamers. So while the debate rages on over which computer can run a higher resolution copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Mac users now have the ability to topple a Zerg army, escape from the fringes of Hell, or beat the heck out of the Joker.

With an ever growing lot of available Mac-compatible games it’s difficult to find the right ones worthy of your hard-earned cash. To help, we’ve narrowed down a list of our favorite Mac games — in no particular order — for all you Apple loyalists. What follows are our picks for the 20 best video games available for any and all Mac users.

Borderlands 2 (Amazon, Steam)

Borderlands 2

Fans of Gearbox’s original role-playing shooter Borderlands no doubt understand the enormous scale of these games. Marketed as having a “gazillion” different types of guns, Borderlands 2 takes the absurdity of its predecessor and builds exponentially on it. It still has the 4-player co-op and tongue in cheek humor players loved from the first, but this time developer Gearbox made the game even bigger.

Players start out as one of four playable characters with vastly different skill sets and play styles. Do you like automatic weapons? Choose Axton. Prefer to play from a distance and surprise your enemies? Pick Zer0. The storyline remains the same but you choose how to wade through the sandbox. With endless hours of over-the-top gameplay and many add-ons, Borderlands 2 deserves a spot in your game library.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Amazon)

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Starcraft became a global phenomenon upon its release in 1998 and the sequel Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty carried on tradition in 2010. It’s even played so much in South Korea many have self-proclaimed it the national sport of the country. That’s high praise for Blizzard’s real-time strategy epic, though they deserve every bit of it.

In the game you are able to take control of three separate factions: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. Though Wings of Liberty’s main storyline has you assume command of the Terran, you’re able to play as any of the three factions when playing multi-player.

You’ll want to play Starcraft II if you thrive when micromanaging and juggling many different responsibilities. Keeping a keen eye on your resources, your available units, and your enemies whereabouts are all key to having a fighting chance in any match. If you just blink at the wrong time, thousands of Zerglings will bring your budding home base crashing to the ground.

Portal 2 (Amazon, Steam)

Portal 2

Portal 2 returns players to Aperture Science in this addictive first-person puzzle game. You play as protagonist Chell as she attempts to break out of the giant Aperture research facility and claim her freedom. Tasked with working through various rooms outfitted with unique puzzles, you’re armed with nothing more than the iconic portal gun. You’ll use various objects, environments, and often times yourself to advance through the facility. Portal 2 expanded on it’s predecessor’s successful formula and added a deep storyline to boot.

Actors Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons voice recurring characters and their work in the game is spot-on. Though the plot deals with a serious conflict the game is rife with well timed comedy at every turn. Portal 2 is one of the most unique experiences in gaming and also one of the most comedic.

Limbo (Amazon, Steam)

Limbo

So few indie games are as visually fascinating and horrifyingly gloomy as the puzzle-platformer Limbo. You play as a young boy who awakens in a forest along the boundaries of Hell, or Limbo. The game centers around navigating the boy through various puzzles and threats while you search for the boy’s missing sister. Like traditional 2-D platform games the boy runs left and right, jumps, climbs small ledges and ladders, and pushes and pulls various items. Though the controls are simple, it takes time to completely master each of the game’s difficult areas.

Besides its grim storyline, Limbo also features eerie artwork and a harrowing soundtrack. The game’s dark, greyscale background hides many of the games hazards making it difficult to excel at Limbo on your first play through. Limbo put indie games on the map after its 2010 release and is still an incredible game to play four years later.

Batman: Arkham City (Amazon, Steam)

Batman: Arkham City

Batman’s revival over the last decade hasn’t only happened on the big screen but in video games as well. Developer Rocksteady burst on to the scene with its 2009 action brawler Batman: Arkham Asylum which saw critical acclaim across the board. They followed up the Arkham Asylum success with Batman: Arkham City and expanded on everything which made the first game successful. The map for Arkham City is roughly five times larger than the first game and sees Batman using his patented bevy of gadgets around every corner. Back are the addicting Riddler Challenges and the cinematic boss battles with Batman villain mainstays like The Joker, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze.

The game’s biggest claim to fame is its impressive combat system. String together combo after combo as you assume Batman’s full fighting prowess. Taking down upwards of 15 to 20 enemies at once is swift and easy once you master Batman’s entire arsenal of attacks. Batman: Arkham City also features a rich storyline which stars Mark Hamill as the iconic Joker who always stays just one step ahead of the Caped Crusader. You don’t need to be a fan of Batman to enjoy Arkham City and its rousing, beat ’em up-style gameplay.

Next page: Five more of the best Mac games…

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