January 07, 2011, 11:17 AM — Thursday's launch of the Mac App Store not only opens a new avenue for getting software onto your computer. It also marks a big step forward for Mac gaming.
With the Mac App Store now open for business, gamers can download ports of iOS games, games previously only appearing on the Steam online gaming service, and ports to the Mac platform that had received little fanfare up until now. And that's one of the Mac App Store's greatest advantages—in one place, you can find and download almost 200 games.
The Mac App Store is still in its early stages, but we've gathered a guide to what you'll see in this initial selection of games.
Traditional Mac developers
In recent years, the best resource for current games was through ports by gaming developers TransGaming, Aspyr, and Feral Interactive. Though no longer the only show in town, these long-time friends of the Mac gaming community still have made their presence known by releasing ports of some high-end games from the Windows PC and console worlds to the Mac App Store.
TransGaming's releases include Garage, Inc, a prohibition-era time management game; The Path, a dark adventure game retelling the story of Red Riding Hood; and Puzzle Quest, a unique hybrid of puzzle mechanics and role-playing game elements. Ranging from $10 to $15, TransGaming's offerings represent the higher range of pricing on the current store—with one exception.
That would be Feral Interactive's Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Arguably the most recognizable title on the Mac App Store, this high-end game also has a high-end price tag of $50. Still, fans of the Harry Potter and Lego franchises will appreciate that this game offers arguably the most content and highest-quality graphics of any title on the Mac App Store.
By far, the most prominent game category in the Mac App Store is comprised of iOS games making the jump to the Mac. These games, which up until now have relied heavily on the touchscreen interface of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, must now be made to work with a keyboard and mouse. Some, such as platformer The Incident, will likely have easy transitions to the Mac OS. Though The Incident loses its accelerometer-based controls in its Mac App Store form, the ability to move should be easily substituted by directional buttons or "WASD" controls.