Sometimes Steph has something to do outside of the house, maybe somewhere else in the Valley, and so she leaves me alone at home for awhile and I sit in a quiet room and cry softly to myself.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, what with the agony and the weeping, and the “Oh, nice lady, come back to your humble abode!” But as she has already mentioned, she went bowling on Tuesday night and left me at home with nothing to do. So I sat around and thought about my options. I went through several until I recalled an article I had read in (the print version of) The Metro about a local gaming place called Indico Gaming. Apparently they’ve got all the latest games and the atmosphere is really great for gamers, so I decided that I would actually leave the house without Steph by my side. Something I very very rarely do, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit.
I drove down there and stopped at a nearby Computer book store before heading in. I knew I was going to like the place before I even walked in when I saw “Open Daily Noon – 4am” etched on the glass. “These guys get it,” I thought to myself as I came through the door. You can get an idea of the atmosphere a little bit by peeking at the online gallery on their site. It’s a cool place. Definitely targeted at guys like me who love to play computer games. They’ve got a green-and-black theme going, somewhat similar to the XBox. They have a couple dozen Dell systems (I know… I actually touched a Dell computer) and a couple XBoxes and PS2 systems. And they sell pizza and soda and stuff, and I think they’ve got a room where you can watch movies.
I slapped down my $5 and opened an account, and they gave me two hours of gaming. The guy at the desk was incredibly friendly. I think his name was Brad. He talked with me for awhile and we chatted about a few different things. He actually caught me off guard when he asked, “So what sort of games do you play?” I stammered and faltered for a second, trying to think of the best way to phrase, “I love playing games, but I’m not really a hard-core gamer because I’m a Mac geek.” But I basically said, “Umm… Warcraft III, sometimes Quake or Allied Assault.” When I said I was a Mac user, he said that they do get some folks with Macs at home to come in just to play the games that aren’t available on the Mac. I thought that was interesting. He sat down at a computer next to mine and talked me through Battlefield 1942, a game I had never played before Tuesday night. It was really awesome. Very fun game play. Neal was also online. We had actually planned that if I had Net access at this computer, which I did, that we would pick a server and meet there and play online on the same teams. So Brad and I teamed up with Neal, and I watched Neal earn 1st place in the match while constantly getting killed, myself. We played for about an hour, and I headed home. We’ll do Desert Combat next time.
I have some admissions to make here. Apple does not even approach doing well competitively in the gaming market. I’ve always believed that the lack of phenomenal support for every game was a point that we majorly lacked, and probably one of those things that makes us lose the most sales. You can buy a Mac and play games. Certainly. But if you are an avid gamer you will not buy a Mac unless you also plan to own a PC. We just don’t compare in that area. Sure, you can get a Mac that will run any (available) game just as fast as a PC can. It might cost you a little extra, but even if you know it’s worth the price, there’s one sticking point. The Mac doesn’t have half the number of games the PC does.
So why would a gamer buy one when he’s just going to shove it under his desk (thus not appreciating the Mac’s inherent external beauty), never look at it, and only use it for gaming? He doesn’t do digital movies or photos. He emails and surfs the Net, but that’s mostly the same on all platforms now. And to be frank, he’s not refined enough to notice or care about the little touches of class Apple puts all over its products. He’s satisfied with basic, unfriendly functionality at a marginally cheaper price. He’ll take cookie-cutter over cutting-edge if it means that cookie-cutter will let him play Battlefield 1942. So the fact that the game developer decides to not develop their game for the Mac loses one Mac sale right there. Why do you think Microsoft has its own game-creation studio?
That Dell was the smoothest gaming experience I’ve ever had. And you know if I’m saying that, it’s true. Granted, it was a newer computer than my G4 iMac at home, so maybe I’m making an unfair comparison, but it was still a very good showing. And it obviously has me thinking about how Apple can make up lost ground in that market. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go.
I’ll definitely be going back to Indico. It’s an interesting sense of community one has when one is there. They’re just starting up. They opened their online forums only three months ago, and there are only sixty members on the forum so far, so I think they’re just starting to pick up steam. That Metro article couldn’t have hurt business at all. And I’m thinking I’ll have to go on Sundays once in awhile, where it’s “Ladies night” and Steph can play all night for free. 🙂
Yes, honey, I’m serious.