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First Impressions: Steam for Mac

It's been a little over a week, and a melting pot full of titles released, since Steam officially set foot into the Mac world. I am a Mac user myself and I jumped right in the day it was available.

If you are looking for a quick read, here's the short of it: I adore Steam for Mac. It's great to have the large catalog of games available, with more to come. The games look great, spare the occasional bug, but Valve is constantly pushing out updates to ensure a flawless Mac experience with Steam.

Continue after the jump for my overall perspective of the experience.

A Brief(ish) History:

It's been almost four years since I've been on Steam. It's nothing against the platform, life just played out that way. My PC crashed and I couldn't afford a new one at the time. Eventually I got a basic laptop with no meat on the bones and went through a few of those. My Xbox 360 was enough for me so I didn't feel like I was missing anything - or maybe I just wasn't aware of it.

Over a year ago I finally acquired a desktop, but it was an iMac. I was happy to pick up a desktop; something with a lot more power than the dinky laptops that were getting me by. I forgot how much I missed a good, solid machine. I got back into the applications I used to use (albeit much more updated) and dove headfirst back into the deep end of computers, technology and the web where I used to swim regularly. With all of the geeky addictions that were reignited within me, I felt something was missing. What else did I used to do on my computer? Oh right - gaming!

The first thing I did was look up Steam, but found myself disappointed because it lacked Mac support and worse, their FAQ page explained they had no intentions of creating for that platform. Shot through the heart. Though I knew it was the only alternative, I never got around to picking up Boot Camp. Wishing I had more options I at least had Blizzard on my side of the field with Mac. I replayed Diablo 2 and put in some casual hours on World of Warcraft. Yeah, that's right. Casual. I stood firm and didn't get sucked in - that $15 a month was a thorn in my side so I stopped paying and playing. My Xbox 360 still reigned king supreme -- well, at the least heir to my first Xbox 360 at this point in time, as my original suffered the old red ring o' death.

Eventually the news broke about Steam developing for the Mac platform and I couldn't have been more excited.

The Experience:

Skip ahead to Wednesday May 12th, the official release of Steam for Mac. The wait was over, and the excitement ensued. I spent the work day itching to get home so I could download it and get to gaming - which I definitely followed through as I immediately installed it when I got home. The Steam UI for Mac is the same as PC; it's simple and well put together. The UI is very user friendly, making it easy to get around, browse games, your library and achievements. I enjoy the social aspect, unobtrusive friends list and a community with endless groups to join and discuss various game subjects with.

I start perusing the catalog of games available for Mac. My first stop was Portal because it was free (until May 24th) and, well, its Portal - a must have (1.5 million people downloaded the free Portal). There were a few flaws at first, but Steam was quick to patch any issues. The biggest glitch was that you couldn't see through the portals - kind of an important piece for gameplay. Thanks to Valve's speedy patching the glitch is fixed and the gameplay is solid.

Torchlight was my second download, and a nice promo price for the Steam for Mac launch at $9.99 - 50% off. A lot of us have been dying for Diablo 3, so this was a nice alternative in the meantime that I had yet to play. Torchlight is gorgeous on my iMac, I haven't had any glitches or issues and it seems like it ported to Mac just fine because there hasn't been any patching.

The two games I played most when I had Steam on my old PC were Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. No surprise, I made my way to the game pages for Counter-Strike and Team Fortress but there's no Mac support yet. I found it odd that two of Steam and Valve's biggest titles weren't up for the launch. Also, Mac support on Left 4 Dead is still unavailable. They have noted these titles will be playable on Mac, but when is the more appropriate question. Either way, I'll be first in line for all three and I hope they are available sooner rather than later.

There isn't much else I've jumped into just yet, but there is a plethora of options available with more added every week and my personal library will undoubtedly grow - especially with the release of cross-platform multiplayer titles.

Conclusion:

Steam for Mac rocks, especially in my situation. Being out of the PC gaming loop for some time and getting re-introduced with nostalgic titles and new experiences through Steam is an awesome feeling. Thanks to Steam's support of the Mac platform, I've rediscovered some of the pieces that developed my love for video games and I'm excited to jump into more titles as well as revisit the games I've played in the past. If you're a Mac user who's shared a similar experience, or maybe just a Mac user that wants to get into PC gaming, then don't hesitate and get Steam now.

There are a lot of us here at Game Rant who have a presence on Steam. Find us, and what we're playing, by checking out our freshly formed group in the community and show us what you got!

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