Six Free and Must Have Games for Your Mac

Games that will make your iLife a little bit more entertaining

As much as you might like to work and do your best while at the office, it just comes a time in everyone’s life when one should have some rest and relaxation. And what could be more relaxing for a hardcore computer user like you (a hardcore Mac user to be more exact) than to play a little game? And what’s more: a free little game.

It’s been confirmed that lots of people still think that, when it comes to Apple, the free software list that one can choose from is quite limited and this just proves how little people know about the Mac software community. But despite what some may think or say, one thing is for sure: if one were to compare the percentage of free apps to the overall number of available applications for the Mac platform then the result would be quite satisfying.

There are lots of free alternatives to the commercial Mac apps and this also applies when talking about the games a Mac user can download and play on his machine for free. The ones that I listed here are the ones that I consider the most enjoyable on the Mac and which will get you to think twice when you want to say that free and/or open source games are not on the same quality level as their commercial alternatives.

The first game that will make your computing life a little more enjoyable on the Mac is OpenLieroX, an "extremely addictive realtime worms shoot-em-up backed by an active gamers community. Dozens of levels and mods are available to provide endless gaming pleasure" as it says on its homepage. This title will allow you to experience deathmatch and team-deathmatch games from an entirely new perspective, that of a worm. As you might expect, the worm team that manages to still be alive at the end of  the game is, in most cases, considered the winner of the whole match.

The second title on the list is Nexuiz, an open source, fast paced 3d deathmatch game project created by a team of developers called Alientrap. According to the developer’s website, "the purpose of the game is to bring deathmatch back to the basics, with perfect weapon balancing and fast paced action, keeping itself away from the current trend of realistic shooters."

The other thing that made it one of the six featured titles in this article (besides its addictive and fast  paced action) is the fact that Nexuiz is a game that will NOT require a high-end system. Video cards such as a Geforce2 will be able to run Nexuiz at a reasonable quality level, while computers with higher-end video cards will be able to take full advantage of some of its more advanced features such as real-time lighting  and bump mapping.

After playing Nexuiz on the LAN with my friends and online with players from across the Internet I have only one thing to say: if you are a die-hard fan of all games that have the FPS (First Person Shooter) stamp on them, you will surely love Nexuiz.

One last tip before jumping to the next entry on our list: if you choose to play online, make sure you join a server that has the "hook" tag in its name. After doing that, press the "E" key and enjoy your newly acquired ninja rope with which you can move around on the map at high speed and ready to spread all your rockets in the face of your opponents.

Tremulous is the third game from the list of must-have free titles for every Mac user. This is an open source game that will allow you to play a very weird blend of team-based FPS and RTS elements. While being capable of shooting your enemies and wrecking havoc on the game map on your own, you can also build working structures that will attack your enemies on sight, act as spawn points for your other team mates, heal you, and do a lot of other things that will make them quite necessary if you want to defeat the other team easier.

As the developer’s website describes it, "player advancement is different depending on which team you are on. As a human, players are rewarded with credits for each alien kill. These credits may be used to purchase new weapons and upgrades from the "Armoury". The alien team advances quite differently. Upon killing a human foe, the alien will be able to evolve into a new class, therefore more kills gained the more powerful the available classes will be."

The fourth free game, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, will change everything you knew about FPSs. While allowing you to go on a killing spree, the game will announce you, at the end of the play, that your team lost, which also makes you a loser. This is because no one can win on his own in this team-based FPS game. Each player has to play for the greater good of the team and, by using his class’ special abilities, to make sure that his colleagues have the best positions and the best chances to overcome the other team.

This is a game that will allow you to have lots of fun while stealing the uniform of the other team and playing as an agent, always capable of destroying all the plans the enemy has created to squash your own in one quick move.

The fifth title on the list, although simple and small, is a highly addictive little game that will bring you lots of hours, days and maybe months of ninja-based fun. N is a free action platformer and a totally unique 2D puzzle game at the same time. As its creator says on his website, you will "play as a ninja trapped in a world of well-meaning, inadvertently homicidal robots. The game includes tons of levels (500), organized neatly into 100 unlockable episodes, and features 50 levels made by fans of N!"

The sweetest feature, one that you will most probably fall in love with, as I did the first time I played the game, is its surreal physics simulation. When playing N you will finally understand how it would be to actually be able to jump as high as you want and to fly over the rooftops like in the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" movie. In one word, FUN, and the craziest and most childlike thirst of jumping as high and as far as possible while still trying to hang on to the wall to prevent falling and being squashed on the floor like a Halloween pumpkin.

And finally, the last entry today is BZFlag (Battle Zone capture the Flag), a cross platform open source multiplayer 3D tank battle game. This is probably the most popular open source tank game every created and it will allow you to drive a tank around a 3D landscape, trying to blow up your opponents.

While doing your best in destroying every enemy tank you see, you also pick up flags that will automatically give you special powers like extra powerful lasers to vaporize your opponents into thin air and even the ability to drive your tank through any wall. If this is not enough for you, then the fact that your tank can also jump around the map will most probably make you click the link above and download it to your Mac to give it a try.

These are the free games I think will allow you to further enhance your gaming experience on your Mac, without having to waste a single penny. If you know of other free and worth mentioning titles available for the Mac that have a spot on your own free Mac game list, then share them with everyone else in the comments.


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